How to save energy at home in Switzerland
Unfortunately, it’s no secret that the cost of energy is rising and governments, including in Switzerland, have started to announce energy-saving measures to help avoid blackouts. Many of us are putting off turning our heating on, even as the cold weather moves in. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to reduce your energy usage - whether that’s to lower your utility bills, be a little more green or help reduce the country's power consumption.
Here are 10 great tips to help you get started!
1. Turn your devices off completely, not just leave them on standby
We all know we should do it, but here’s a friendly reminder that turning your devices off properly, rather than just putting them on standby, really counts when it comes to energy-saving. By some estimates, leaving your device on standby could mean that it still uses up to 40 percent of the energy it would have used if fully turned on - shocking!
On a similar note, you should also turn lights off when you no longer need them. Naturally, during the dark nights, it gives many of us a feeling of comfort and safety to have lots of lights on at home, but lighting accounts for around 10 percent of the entire country’s energy consumption, and turning off your lights when you don’t really need them can save you a lot of money.
2. Turn your heating down at night
Not only is this tip good for your wallet and the environment, but it could actually help you sleep. Turning down the heating to 15 degrees at night could save you 100 francs every year, and go some way to reducing energy consumption. Your bedroom can still be cosy as long as you wear some warm pyjamas and make sure to add extra blankets on your bed if it’s a particularly chilly night.
Winter nights in Switzerland are notoriously cold, so this tip won't work for everyone, but if you feel like you can, turning down the heat can be a real power and money saver. The good news is that sleeping in a cooler bedroom can actually improve your sleep. Sleep experts say that the ideal bedroom temperature is between 15,5 and 18,5 degrees Celsius.
3. Consider investing in some gadgets
Though money is running tight for many of us this season, investing in some gadgets could save you money in the long run. Despite the rising energy costs, electricity is still relatively expensive when compared to gas, meaning some electric gadgets could reduce your expenditure on gas heating.
Popular gadgets this year include energy-efficient space heaters, air leak detectors and heating pads. You could also go old-school and buy an electric blanket - which could significantly cut your heating costs, especially if you turn the heating down in the evening and sit on your couch under your cosy warm blanket instead!
4. Block those drafts!
It goes without saying that cold air coming into your home is going to make your heating system less efficient. One of the best ways to cut energy consumption is to block any of those remaining chilly drafts using a draft blocker.
There are plenty of great designs and shapes available to buy online and in home furnishing stores, but if you’re feeling particularly creative (or thrifty!), you could make one yourself!
Here’s a tutorial on how you could make one at home!
Video: Life's a project / YouTube
5. Investigate your home’s insulation
This tip is more difficult for those of us living in rentals, but if you’re fortunate enough to have bought your own house in Switzerland, now is a good time to assess your home’s insulation situation. Insulating your home can be pricey, but once you’ve done it, the savings will last for a while.
If you’re considering getting some insulation for your home, it’s a great idea to check building regulations in your local Swiss canton, as well as reading up on the basics of insulation for your type of home. After this, you can pick out a qualified professional with good reviews, who can help you decide what is the best option for your home, budget and desired efficiency.
6. Take shorter showers and don’t use your bath
Taking shorter showers, or showering together according to the Swiss government, could save you a lot of power and money in terms of bills for heating and water. Some estimates calculate that by reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower by just three or four minutes, you could save thousands of litres of water each year - not to mention the savings made on your utility bills.
The winter weather and darker nights also make it tempting to jump into a hot bath to de-stress, but doing so could cost you more as well. For a better way to unwind after a cold, stressful day at work, fill a smaller container such as a bucket or plastic box with warm water and soak your feet. You could even add some flowers or essential oils if you really want to indulge.
7. Know when to open and close your curtains
Master the light and the weather! Open your curtains during the daytime to let the heat and light in and close them during the evening to keep the cold and darkness out! By opening and closing your curtains at the right time of the day you can control the amount of heat and light that comes into your home.
The same goes for the weather. If it’s a particularly warm autumn day and the sun is shining on your house, it might be better to open your window and let in some of that glorious sunshine! Just make sure to close your windows tightly when the sun goes down.
8. Don’t overfill the kettle
Now’s the time to become a pro at estimating how much water you will need in the kettle! Overfilling the kettle with water not only makes the kettle less efficient but also takes a lot longer to boil the water which will eventually be wasted. Make sure you only boil what you need.
9. Wash your clothes on low heat - and don't use the tumble dryer!
When it comes to saving energy while washing your clothes, there are plenty of things you can do. Firstly, make sure that when you run your washing machine, you run it on a full load - that way you’re not going to need to run it multiple times. Next, you should consider running your machine at a lower temperature or using the eco setting, so that you won’t have to pay so much to heat the water.
Lastly, there is the tumble dryer. We love them, we use them, but we don’t always need them. If the weather is fine and you have space outside your home, consider hanging your clothes to dry in the fresh air, or even on a rack inside your house if it’s well-ventilated. Of course, when the weather is bad, this isn’t an option, but it’s a great trick to try if the conditions are right!
10. Microwave more, use your oven less
The logic here is simple: the microwave takes less time to cook things, so it’ll use less energy than your oven. Yes, you often don’t get that nice crispy texture that things cooked in the oven will have, but you could always pop your food in the oven for just a few minutes after it comes out of the microwave to “crisp it up”, depending on how long it takes to cook.
Tell us your energy-saving secrets!
Now that you have some great ways to save energy this season, be sure to tell your friends, colleagues and family the ones you find the most helpful - they will surely be grateful!
Let us know in the comments section below if you have more energy-saving tips that we should know!
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