Turn Off the Standby
On average; households in Ireland spend about €42 per year powering appliances that
have been left in standby mode. Standby is when an appliance isn’t actively being used,
and although the appliance uses less power in standby mode than in active use, it still
draws power. The clock display on your microwave is an example of this.
Additionally, low-level energy consuming devices that are left on constantly (modems, routers, digital TV boxes, cordless phones, etc.) all add up to increase your energy bill. These aren’t things we would normally think to turn off, but they do make a difference. For example, your broadband modem or router can use at much as €9 per year alone!
Luckily, there are many Energy Saving Trust Recommended products, which will help lower the level of standby energy consumption in your home. One such item is called a standby saver, which allows you to turn off all your appliances on standby quickly and easily, all at once, without having to unplug anything.
New regulations stipulate that all electronics sold in the EU after 2010 can’t have standby
power consumption greater than 1W, meaning that in the future this won’t be such a big
concern for individual items. However, at the same time as the consumption of individual
devices is going down, families are filling their homes with more electronic devices! This
means that everyone should pay attention to the items in their homes that use standby
Size Does Matter: the Most Energy-Efficient Products are the Smaller Ones
The energy rating labels on new appliances are usually given based on size categories,
with the idea being to enable consumers the ability to compare between two or more
What this translates into is that two appliances of different sizes with the same energy
efficiency rating might have very different energy consumption. For example, am 180-litre
refrigerator with an A+rating might only cost around €44 per year to run, where a bigger
525 litre refrigerator with the same rating might cost €59 or more to run per year.
When you’re trying to save on energy costs, it’s best to search for products with the best
energy efficiency rating for the size category you will need.
What about Old Appliance Disposal?
Manufacturing electronics and appliances consumes a lot of energy and uses a lot of valuable
materials, even precious metals such as silver or gold. Some items contain harmful chemicals
such as lead or mercury. These substances could potentially get into the environment if not
disposed of properly, endangering everything from the water supply to the plants, animals,
and people in the area.
Any items bearing the wheelie bin with a cross logo shouldn’t be disposed of with the rest of
your general household rubbish. Many common household items fall into this category,
including large white goods and energy-saver light bulbs. When waste electrical items are
kept separate from other garbage, any dangerous substances will be removed and properly
disposed of or recycled, instead of having them sent to a landfill.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Disposal
Bear in mind that when you’re ready to buy a new electrical appliance, the retail store is
obligated by law to either:
- Take your old appliance free of charge in the store
- Inform you of a location where they can have the appliance recycled at no cost to them
Several retailers do have collection of old appliances from the home, but they aren’t required to
do this. You can also take your old items to the closest WEEE recycling centre, or request the
local authority collect any bulky items, although some may charge for performing this service.