Modern day living involves technology in almost everything we do, but paradoxically, it also involves us all being much more eco-aware and trying our best to go green at every opportunity. Whilst these do seem like opposite ends of the spectrum, there are definitely things we can do to help our tech use to be more environmentally friendly…
GET A SMART THERMOSTAT
This is one techies will love – a thermostat that can control your heating from your phone!
It’s not just for those who love a nifty gadget though, it could save anyone some serious money as a result of better controlled use of heating. In fact, the Energy Saving Trust found that turning your thermostat down by one degree could actually save you £80-85 and 340-350kg of carbon dioxide per year – definitely worth it if you ask us!
Having a more handy way in which you can control your heating will also make it easier to schedule specific times you want your heating to come on/go off, and even control it room by room with ‘zone control’ technology.
Whilst we’re on the subject of heating, there’s a few common myths we can dispel too:
- Turning the thermostat up will heat up the house faster. FALSE. Your boiler works at the same constant speed irrespective of whether you set your thermostat at 20C or 30C, it will just be fired up for longer until the room has reached the temperature you have set.
- It’s better to leave the hot water heater on all the time rather than turning it off. FALSE. Once heated, the insulating jacket will keep the water in the tank hot for hours and hours, so you should only really need it on for 1-2 hours on an evening before baths and showers. It’s also important to remember that modern washing machines, dishwashers, electric showers etc. all take cold water that they heat up themselves.
- The house has no cavity walls so I can’t get wall insulation. FALSE. There are several ways of insulating walls that don’t have a cavity either via the inside or outside of the house. There are also grants available to help fund the installation of wall insulation if you own your own home.
USE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES
All kinds of gadgets need batteries, but there is a simple and effective way of being greener when it comes to replacing them – use rechargeable!
By using rechargeable batteries, you’ll be helping the environment by not contributing to filling landfills with battery acid, and also saving yourself some money in the long-run.
If you do need to get rid of disposable batteries, don’t just throw them away, recycle them. Supermarkets and shops often have specialist recycling bins in store for used batteries.
SWITCH THINGS OFF IF YOU’RE NOT USING THEM
We know it sounds seriously simple, but it is true that it saves you money and the environment!
It is a very common myth that it takes more electricity to turn lights off and on again than it does just to leave them on. In fact, it doesn’t use any more electricity to turn on a lightbulb – it is simply a case of if it’s on, it’s using electricity, and if it’s off, it’s not.
It is true that leaving things on standby does use electricity too, however, a lot of new appliances have a ‘Standby Saver’ feature.
MAKE THE MOST OF HELPFUL TECHNOLOGY – USE YOUR DISHWASHER!
You’ve probably heard time and time again that dishwashers use a lot of energy and you should wash up by hand to save electricity, but this isn’t strictly true. It can actually use less energy by doing a full load on a medium temperature in a dishwasher than washing the same amount by hand.
SWITCH TO CONNECTED LIGHTBULBS
It’s one step to switch from halogen to energy-saving or LED lightbulbs, but it’s a whole new level to move to ‘connected lightbulbs’ such as Philips Hue – the ultimate in eco-friendly gadgets.
These connected lightbulbs actually use around 80% less power than normallightbulbs, and can be fully controlled from your smartphone. By fully controlled, we mean everything from changing the brightness to switching them on and off to changing the colour.
RECYCLE YOUR OLD MOBILE PHONE
If you’re anything like us you probably have a few old mobile phones lying around in the kitchen draw or been privy to throwing them in the bin in the past, but we should all really be recycling them.
There are plenty of companies that will willingly take your old and unwanted mobile phones for recycling or environmentally-safe disposal. Throwing them away leads to landfills filling up with mobile phones that leak harmful chemicals into the Earth’s soil and water supplies, affecting plants and wildlife.
Recycling your mobile will also help to re-use components and materials such as metals that would alternatively have to be mined, using more energy in the mining process.