The individual has little influence on how his/her energy is produced, for example by coal or gas fired power stations, or alternatively by wind or solar power. However, the individual does have control on how he or she uses that available energy. Through the implementation of simple measures we can all effectively bring about a reduction in energy consumption. Using less energy also means savings on fuel bills.
Heating (space and water) accounts for approximately 25% of UK energy use. On average 55% of fuel bills are spent on space heating, but in an uninsulated house about half of this heat escapes through the walls! Water heating can account for up to 20% of the average fuel bill but we are often wasteful of this resource. Energy use in these two areas can be cut whilst still providing the heating that you require. Energy-saving light bulbs are now widely available in supermarkets and electrical stores. The initial cost of energy saving light bulbs are relatively high compared to standard light bulbs, but the lower running costs and longer lifetimes mean that the initial cost can be recouped within a couple of years. The energy use and efficiency of household appliances, such as fridges, freezers, cookers, washing machines and televisions depends on the age, model and manufacturer. In the UK 20% of electricity is used by domestic appliances. Retailers in Europe are required to label all new fridges and freezers with an eco-label.
The cumulative energy reductions by individuals would reduce the need for energy consumption, conserve stocks of raw materials such as coal, oil and gas, and bring about a reduction in pollutant gas emissions.