Energy takes a toll on your pocketbook and your nerves, too

In the wintertime we tend to need more energy than in the summer. What can you do if you’d actually like to know how much energy you need? Follow these instructions.

In January, many people are busy packing up their fancy Christmas lights for the season. While doing that job, does it also put you in a bad mood when you consider the kilowatt-hours they have consumed? Let’s assume that during the Christmas season in all of Switzerland there are 3 million households and businesses which illuminate strings of lights six days a week, and this for 30 days. That sure can add up.

Our hunger for energy

Everyone around the world is talking about the 2000 watt society and conserving energy. Indeed, our hunger for millions of kilowatt hours and our desire for increasingly more kilometres in cars and planes seems insatiable. However, how much comfort and convenience do we really need in our everyday lives?

There’s hardly nobody these days who leaves home with having a mobile device such as an iPhone, iPad or even a laptop PC with them. We rarely keep in mind the fact that all these devices need considerable energy for their manufacture and then later to recharge them.

Or consider another example: when we spoil ourselves with a bath, after a while we often add a bit more hot water. Who would ever think of measuring this relaxation in the hard terms of energy consumption and kilowatt hours?

Energy has a direct relationship to prosperity. In earlier days people had to spend 80 per cent of their income for food and housing, so there wasn’t anything left for last-minute airline trips.

How best to measure energy?

If you would like to make a contribution towards a conscious effort to conserve energy, you should find out where the power hogs in your home are. Specialty shops sell practical devices for measuring electricity consumption, and you can generally even borrow one from your local electric utility at no charge.

Experience shows that clothes dryers, old heating boilers, cooktops, kitchen ovens and lighting play a major role. New energy-efficient appliances, the latest LED lamps and being very conscious of how you consume energy can truly work wonders.

But what is the situation with heating and ventilation? In a newly constructed home with an efficient heat pump it is possible to significantly improve the energy and CO2 balance.

Here’s another tip: If your concern extends beyond simply soothing your conscience, you should determine your own personal energy balance. In a very modern home with four inhabitants, total energy consumption can be reduced to between 5000 and 6000 kilowatt hours per year. Or are you among those who instead reach a level of 40,000 kilowatt hours?

Try to get an idea of the situation by examining your electric bills along with consumption information for your heating system and heating bills. To compile these numbers correctly, you might decide to enlist the aid of an energy consultant in your canton or local community.



There’s plenty of energy from the sun.