We hear about it on television, in newspapers, on the internet. It is absolutely necessary to save energy and gas, partly because these can be scarce and partly to contain the cost of the bill. However, the advice to save energy that is heard is often generic and sometimes difficult to apply, such as modifying and completely revolutionizing the way of heating, lighting or cooking. But what can we do, right now, to consume less energy without giving up on cooking, cleaning and living? Let's see the best tips proposed by scientists and research institutions. These are small tricks, easy to use in daily practice, which, if applied regularly and all together, can really help us and save energy and money.
How to cook pasta
Whatever happens, a good plate of spaghetti always saves the situation and lifts the mood. However, cooking pasta requires prolonged use of gas or electricity. There is a very simple, and well-tested, trick to save energy and money. This advice is also put into practice by the Nobel Prize in Physics Giorgio Parisi, but let's try to understand what it consists of. Proceed as usual, filling the pot up to about three-quarters full with water. Close the lid, so that the heat is not lost and let it boil. Add the salt and the pasta. Wait a few seconds for boiling to resume and at that point turn off the gas, or turn off the power, and close the pot with the lid. Wait the time indicated on the pasta package, taste and the pasta is ready. Some formats may only take a minute longer. This way you can save almost 50% of energy. In general, however, using the lid is a tip to always use, not only when boiling but also when cooking.
Washing machine and dishwasher
A tip to save and reduce energy consumption and bills is definitely to use a fully loaded washing machine and dishwasher. In addition, as recommended by Harvard University, an idea may be to choose cold washing, in order to save 90% of energy that would otherwise have been used to heat the water (Harvard University). Cold washing is like a hand wash, it works between 30 and 40° C and is effective against dirt and blood stains, indeed, it is the best in these cases and in addition it preserves colors and fabrics.
When you are not using the device, unplug the power plug
As Harvard University (Harvard University) suggests, help in saving energy also comes from the precaution of unplugging chargers, adapters and devices that are not in use. In fact, even if the device is turned off, if it is connected to the electricity it can waste up to 10% of the home energy. Likewise, when you go out of home, remember to always turn off the lights, television, computer and even the bathroom vent. Even more convenient is to use a power strip, so in a single gesture it is possible to disconnect multiple devices.
The temperature in the house
At the moment it is not a problem but soon we will have to deal with increasingly cold days and turning on the heating, which leads to an increase in energy consumption. However, it is possible to save energy by changing the temperature by a few degrees. But how many degrees are we talking about and what level of savings? A very recent German study (Maier et al, RWTH EBC, 2022) showed that reducing the temperature in the rooms from 21° C, considered the typical temperature, to 20° C, both day and night, leads to 10% energy savings. Getting to 19° C leads to a saving of 20%. If, in addition to maintaining the temperature around 19° C during the day, we decide to reach 17° C during the night then we can reach a saving of 27%. In addition, it is also important not to have obstacles above and in front of the radiators and it can help to insert a reflector panel between the wall and the radiator in order to reduce heat dispersion. It can also be an idea to install heavy curtains to be closed during the night in order to reduce drafts and the dispersion of heat to the outside.
Cleaning the furnace
Researchers from the University of Ohio (The Blog of Ohio University) recommend keeping the furnace overhauled and cleaning or changing the filters. In fact, this operation can lead to a saving of 15% of the furnace's energy consumption, with a potential reduction of up to 7.5% on the bill every month (The Blog of Ohio University).
Advice for the refrigerator
According to the Italian magazine Altroconsumo (Altroconsumo Casa ed Energia), it is good to avoid keeping the refrigerator open for a long time and, when arranging the shopping, always try to close the fridge door every time you go to get other foods to store. Keep the refrigerator tidy to ensure good air circulation and better performance, and defrost the freezer regularly.
Enea, the Italian public research body in the energy, environment and new technologies sector, also offers advice for energy saving. In particular, according to Enea, we can make a big difference by ensuring a few more precautions during the shower. In fact, a shorter shower, going from 7 to 5 minutes, and three degrees lower in terms of temperature can lead to a saving in the bill of a few hundred dollars per year.