Reducing energy consumption...

Services and energy consumption - Domestic energy consumption is heavily influenced by the way we live. This is not RCAS territory! - so we touch only on the home and its equipment.

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Reducing energy consumption

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Heating

Most commonly gas boiler and radiators. Now established that modern combination boilers, with zoning, time clocks and thermostatic radiator valves make energy savings that usually justify replacing older systems.


Lighting

Use low energy light bulbs or other low consumption sources such as fluorescent tubes. Tungsten 'strip' and spot lights, together with multiple Low Voltage and Halogen lights are energy intensive.


Power

Consider replacing older appliances such as washing machines, fridges with A+ or A rated ones. It is instructive to survey the power consumption all appliances, including those on stand-by.


Water consumption

Supplying clean mains water and disposing of waste water to the public drainage system are energy intensive processes, so reducing water consumption is important. Action - fit all WC's with dual flushing. Most cisterns can be simply retro-fitted to provide choice of flush, typically 2.5 or 3 litres for light flush and 4 or 6 litres for full flush. Use of these flushing systems can reduce consumption by 20%. Metering provides financial benefit for those who reduce consumption.


Outside

Sustainable drainage

Do not increase the hard, impermeable paved surfaces which add to the discharge of water to public sewers and increase risk of flash flooding. Any new hard surfaces to be porous. (See RCAS Trees book)


Rainwater

Collect rainwater in water butt and reuse.


Gardens

Retain and manage existing trees and plant new trees Trees absorb CO2 and pollutants, and assist in cooling streets - important in view of predicted rise in summer temperatures. Compost all possible kitchen and garden waste.


Food production

Consider growing more vegetables, fruit and herbs.
 ( See article in this Newsletter on 'Edible Gardens' by Angela Raffle.)
 Even small gardens can grow some 'local produce'. Fruit trees take up relatively little space and flourish in city gardens and many garden walls suit espalier trees.

Little used paved space can be easily converted to vegetable growing by building raised beds on top, perhaps using reclaimed timber to create the raised sides. Gardening books are full of advice on raised bed cultivation.