What with pressure from governments and society in general to reduce our carbon footprints as much as we can it is unsurprising that so much weird and wonderful advice is put forward as the latest innovative method of saving energy.
Like with most things that require work and commitment, there are few simple ways of cutting down on the energy we use, though it is interesting to note that there are so many efficiency myths out there that seem to be geared towards the apathetic. By that we mean tips that suggest you can save money by simply leaving things on and not bothering to turn them off! If only it was that easy.
Read on as we bust five of the most common misconceptions about saving energy in the home and at work.
Myth #1: Lights Use More Energy When Switched on than Simply Left on
If we’re honest with ourselves there aren’t many of us that don’t leave lights on when we move from room to room, so if this myth was true then it really would be useful! Unfortunately though, despite applying to fluorescent tube lighting that used to be commonplace, this is not the case, and if you are leaving the room for any amount of time it is best to switch off all of the lighting.
Though this may sound like a difficult habit to get into, once you’ve been doing it for a few months it should start to become second nature, and it could make a big difference. For commercial or industrial premises consider investing in motion-sensitive lighting to remove the human element altogether.
Myth #2: Cold Buildings Need More Energy to Heat than is Used by Leaving a Boiler on Overnight
Again this is a myth that has not come from any sort of evidence-based reasoning. Irrespective of the room temperature, a boiler works just as hard warming up to temperature as it does maintaining it, so if you don’t need it on – turn it off!
Myth #3: Repeatedly Switching Computers and Light Bulbs on and off Limits their Lifespan and Wastes Energy
In the case of computers it used to be suggested by IT specialists that constantly turning them on and off incurred wear and tear that could lead to damage. Although older machines were more prone to breakage, modern computers are much more durable, so make sure you get into the habit of turning them off when they’re not in use.
Most computers have power saving modes such as ‘Sleep’ and ‘Hibernate’ that you can set up to start automatically to avoid you wasting energy due to forgetfulness.
The same is true of light bulbs as they are designed to be turned on and off as often as needed without affecting their lifespan.
Myth #4: Computer Screen Savers can Save Energy
Despite the name, when your monitor is displaying a screen saver you will not be saving anything at all, so you should just switch it off if you are leaving the room briefly.
Regardless of what a screen is displaying it uses the same amount of energy so don’t fall into the trap of this class energy efficiency myth.
Myth #5: Leaving Ceiling fans on will Help to Cool the Room
The reason for this is that ceiling fans don’t actually cool a room at all, only the people inside them, so leaving a ceiling fan on in a room that is unoccupied is a total waste of energy.
It is the circulated air moving across our skin that makes us feel cooler – the actual room temperature is unaffected – and it is only air conditioning that can still work in an empty space. However it is still not recommended that you leave air conditioning on all of the time as this will still be a waste of energy in the long-run.