Winter is still in full swing, and energy consumption is on the rise. This year, it’s predicted that electricity costs in the UK will increase by 16%, compared to 2016. This could result in high prices, considering that as a nation, we use approximately 40% of our annual energy consumption over winter. The experts at TOTO Energy share their tips on how you can quickly and easily preserve power on your technological devices, enabling you to save money over the colder months.
Aside from the standard advice to “turn the lights off when you’re not using them”, or “take showers instead of baths” to cut down on utility bills, did you know that your household tech devices could be causing your energy consumption rates to soar?
Use Your TV’s Ambient Light Sensor
Your TV accounts for approximately 8% of your total energy bill, and there are significant savings to be had.
Many new TVs will have ambient light sensors, helping you to conserve energy. When you initially buy a TV, it’s likely to be on factory settings, with the screen extremely bright. To conserve energy, turn the brightness down, and opt for the ambient light sensor to conserve energy.
The ambient light sensor can detect the amount of light in your room, and will adjust the brightness of the screen accordingly. By using less light, less energy will be consumed, shaving costs of your energy bill.
Stream Movies Efficiently
Many of us are now shunning cable TV in favour of streaming services like Netflix and Now TV. This is a good thing, as streaming is more energy-efficient, but you need to be careful about the devices you use.
Movies can be streamed in several ways: on your laptop, TV, smartphone, tablet or games console. If you want to save some extra pennies, then avoid using your games console to stream shows.
PlayStations and Xboxes are particularly bad for energy consumption, using 10-20% more energy to stream the same movie as it would on other devices. In fact, games consoles have become less energy efficient over time, with the average console costing £43 a year to run, compared to £11 for their 90s counterparts.
For the most energy-efficient way to stream movies, look no further than Apple TV. When streaming HD via Wi-Fi, it uses just 1.9 watts, and when on standby it uses less than 0.5 watts.
Hibernate Your Laptop
The majority of households now use laptops instead of desktops, which are more energy efficient. Newer laptops are generally better at conserving energy, with LCD or LED monitors a common feature. If you have an old laptop, switching to a newer model could save you money in the long term, as your energy usage is reduced.
One way to conserve energy on your laptop is to amend your power-saving settings, which can be found under Computer Preferences. Either turn on sleep mode or hibernate mode, specifying how many minutes of inactivity before it switches off – for example, five minutes.
Both options will save power, but are slightly different. Sleep mode puts all open documents into memory whilst the laptop goes into a low-power state that’s similar to being on standby. In contrast, hibernate mode saves all open documents to a hard disk, before turning your laptop off, meaning no power is used.
Disable GPS on Your Phone
The mobile phone industry consumes 1% of global power consumption. Whilst it may not cost much to charge your phone over the year – studies show it could cost as little as £1 – the problem is, that overcharging could damage your battery.
There are a number of ways to preserve your smartphone’s battery, so that you’re not unnecessarily hunting for the charger.
Start by turning off the vibration on your phone, as it uses more power than a ringtone. To conserve energy, sticking your phone on silent is the way to go.
Other quick steps you can take to preserve the battery on your phone is to dim the screen, or adjust your auto-brightness to optimum level for reading. You should also close any apps you aren’t using, and disable your GPS.
The reason for this, is that when GPS is left running in the background, some of your apps may continue to send and receive signals, draining your battery life. Just be aware that the efficiency of some apps (i.e. the ones that rely on knowing your current location) may be reduced.
Monitor Your Energy Usage
Sometimes, the easiest way to reduce your energy costs, is by physically seeing how much energy you’re consuming.
For £30, you can pick up an energy monitor to track in real-time just how much energy your laptop, desktop or TV is using.
If you can physically see the rising costs of your energy consumption, you may be spurred on to make some changes to help reduce your bills.
Home Technology of the Future
Technology is changing all the time, so perhaps it’s no wonder energy bills are increasing. However, it’s this technology that’s also helping homes to become more energy efficient. For instance, Google Home and Amazon Alexa are creating a wave of “smart homes”, which amongst other things, enable you to easier control your heating and lighting, turning them off when they’re not needed, saving you money.
Ultimately, technology is evolving, but you needn’t make that have a negative impact on your energy bills. By following these simple steps, you can preserve the energy in your household tech devices, helping you save money.