Sustainability is defined as the idea that goods and services should be produced in ways that do not use resources that cannot be replaced and that do not damage the environment. Apart from the environmental benefits, acting sustainably can also save you money.
Energy efficiency means using less energy to get the same results. For example, an energy efficient light bulb requires less electrical energy to produce the same amount of light as a conventional light bulb. Similarly, an efficient boiler requires less fuel to heat a home to a given temperature than an inefficient boiler.
Every task we perform that uses energy, from making a cup of tea to switching on the TV further depletes the natural resource used to create that energy. Being energy efficient will help conserve our energy resources, save us money and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
The Energy Savings Trust provides a range of quick tips that can help an average property make savings. Suggested tips include:
- Turning down your thermostat by 1°C can save around £90 a year;
- Insulating your hot water tank can save around 10 per cent a year; and
- Turning appliances off at the wall socket when not in use and avoiding standby saves around £30 a year.
Consumers in Northern Ireland (NI) may be able to benefit from the following energy efficiency schemes:
Renewable energy is generated from our natural resources such as the sun, wind and water. The main sources of renewable energy for the home are:
Solar panels capture the sun's energy and convert it into electricity for your home. Solar panels don't need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day.
Air Source Heat Pumps
An air source heat pump is usually placed outdoors at the side or back of a property. It takes heat from the air and boosts it to a higher temperature using a heat pump. This heat can then be used to heat radiators and hot water in your home.
Biomass or Bio-Fuel Boilers
Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.
Hydro and Wind Turbines
Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to mechanically power generators for electricity.
- Bryson Charitable Group: www.brysongroup.org
- Energy Saving Trust: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/northernireland
- National Energy Action: www.nea.org.uk
- Northern Ireland Energy Agency: www.nienergyagency.org
- Warm Homes Scheme: www.warm-homes.com