Appropriate insulation is a basic prerequisite for the protection of a building from cold or heat.
In order to reduce thermal losses one can:
Close any gaps around the rim of doors or windows using insulating materials, self adhesive foam ribbons available in shops or silicon rubber
Avoid too excessively air spaces heated
Close the window shutters and curtains on cold winter nights in order to conserve heat within.
Insulate thermally the roof of the building
Replace the single-glass-pane windows with new thermally insulated double glazed windows
Insulate the walls
Use solar energy to heat your building. On sunny winter days allow the sunrays to enter through the southern windows.
If you have a split unit system do not set your thermostat over the 22oC mark. For each additional degree you spend up to 7% more energy.
Do not cover the heating panels in any way because this reduces severely their efficiency.
If you have central heating ensure that the burner is correctly set and the boiler is cleaned every summer by a competent person, who should also issue a maintenance certificate, in accordance with the law, giving measurements of the efficiency of the installation, of the fuel stack temperature of the fuel gases and of the carbon dioxide and soot content.
Space Cooling - Air conditioning
Before you venture to buy an air conditioner you would do well to investigate alternative ways of cooling. Air conditioners consume large quantities of electricity especially at the hours of the system maximum demand and their operation will be costly. Over and above they pollute and heat up the environment.
Use shades on all your windows. Select the appropriate shading system depending on the orientation of the window.
Plant trees preferably, trees that shed their leaves, in order to shade your building but also in order to create, wherever this is possible a more favorable "micro-climate".
Select light colours for outside walls, roofs and tents
Reduce the internal heat sources. Install lamps and other appliances of low consumption. Do not use high-energy-consuming appliances (e.g. electric cooker, iron) which also contribute to the warming of the space especially during the periods of high temperatures
During hot days ventilate your building only at night
Openings over doors, over staircases, ventilating chimneystacks, in conjunction with certain openings at low points in the building can create a very effective vertical ventilation, without the need to open all your windows
If the external conditions and the openings of your building do not allow the requisite ventilation install fans for both the introduction as well the expulsion of the air from the building
Install roof mounted fans in the rooms. A roof fan cools while consuming negligible energy ( as much as an ordinary Lamp). You will feel cool even when temperatures are relatively high and you can do away with the need of installing an air conditioner. Alternatively, use a free standing fan.
If you decide to buy an air conditioner:
Request to be informed of its power input given that this will significantly raise your electricity bill especially during the summer months
Ensure that it is suitable for your space consult a specialized engineer and not merely salesman before you select. If you intend to install air conditioning for the whole flat or an entire building ask for a study.
Set the air conditioning using a good wall mounted thermometer and do not seek temperatures lower than 26°C in the summer
Ensure that the windows are shut during operation of the air conditioning system so as not to lose valuable energy
Apply diligently the instructions of the manufacturer for the installation and maintenance of the air conditioning – frequent cleaning of the filters is indicated for health reasons
Allow natural light to enter, if possible, from all sides of your spaces. In this manner you achieve greater adequacy and better distribution
For better control of natural light prefer blinds rather than curtains on the windows.
Prefer light colours on the walls of your house, for they make a the internal environment brighter
Ensure that lights in the rooms do not remain switched on when they are no longer needed
Prefer a low general lighting and additional lights at the points needed
Use low energy consuming lamps. An ordinary incandescent lamp consumes as much as five times more energy than a fluorescent lamp giving the same amount of light.
The low energy consuming lamps may cost more than the ordinary lamps, but their lifespan is eight times longer and they consume five times less electricity
Clean regularly the lighting fittings and the lamps
Water Heating Siphons
Switch on your water heater only when and for as long as necessary to cover your needs and do not leave it switched on when not needed
Prefer a shower rather than a bath. You spend three times less electricity and water
Do not let the tabs dripping and do not allow hot water to run needlessly
Prefer a solar water heater instead of an electric for water heating (the solar water is in a position to cover 70% of your annual needs in hot water with a corresponding reduction in your electricity consumption) Electric Appliances
Ensure that your cooking utensils (saucepans, pans etc) fit properly on the cooker rings. You waste 20-30% more heat and electricity when the base of the utensil is 1-2 centimeters smaller than the cooker you save 30-60% electricity and 80% on time.
When you boil water, cover the saucepan with its lid. It will boil faster and with less energy
Avoid the needless preheating and the frequent opening-closing of ovens. Each time you open the oven door 20% of the internal heat escapes. Clean regularly the cooker rings and the oven
For heating up of small quantities of food, prefer, if you have it, the micro-wave oven for it saves both electrical energy and time
Refrigerator - Freezer
Refrigerators consume a lot of energy because they work over the whole 24 hours. The energy mark which is on all modern electrical appliances gives us information about their efficiency. Select an appliance with low energy consumption.
Place your refrigerator away from the cooker, the radiators and places under direct sunlight otherwise its consumption may go up by as much as 30%
If your refrigerator does not have automatic defrosting ensure that you defrost it regularly. A layer of ice 5mm thick increases the electricity consumption by 30%
Regulate the thermostat of your refrigerator so that the temperature of the conservation area is 7oC and that of the freezer is -18oC. This way you may save up to 15% electricity
Do not open the refrigerator door often and do not keep it open for a long time. Make sure that the rubber seal of the door is clean and closes very well
Do not cover the ventilation openings of your refrigerator, dust well the radiator at the rear of the refrigerator and allow a clearance of at least 5cm from the wall
When you are absent from your home for a long time e.g. on vacation, remove the refrigerator from the supply socket, empty its contents and leave its door open
Do not place warm food in the refrigerator. You would better allow them to cool dawn first (this is recommended for health reasons)
Select a washing mashing with low consumption of water and electricity. There are many differences from one appliance to another
For large saving of energy you may select a modern washing machine of the "hot fill" type which can be connected to a solar water heater
It is proven that clothes are washed equally clean at 60oC as at 90oC and with the new programmes and detergents even at 40oC. Prefer therefore, the operation at the lower temperature
Ensure that the machine is loaded homogeneously and prefer to load it to its full capacity (usually 5-6 kilos of clothing)
Apply the instructions of the manufacturer in order to save electricity water, detergent and also for the good operation of the appliance
Connect your washing machine with your solar water heater for hot water supply
When you are absent from home shut the supply of water to the washing machine
Select a dish washer with low consumption of water and electricity. There are many differences from one appliance to another
Ensure that the washer is loaded homogeneously and prefer to load it fully
Apply the instructions of the manufacturer in order to save on electricity, on water on detergent and for the good operation of the appliance
When you are absent from home shut the supply of water to the dish washer
Before you purchase any appliance request to be informed about its electricity consumption, given that there are many differences between appliances (even when on "stand-by" mode)
Small appliances as a general rule consume less electricity than larger ones therefore, whenever possible, prefer small appliances
Switch off the television set, the coffee-maker, the iron etc when you do not need them
Use the switch of the appliance to switch off the television set, the video Hi-Fi set etc and not the remote control because otherwise these appliances remain on stand-by mode and continue to consume electricity