Energy Saving Tips
Responding to questions raised in the Parish Plan, 210 out of 256 people wanted Kingston Parish Council to make a formal commitment to a sustainable (renewable energy/energy saving) environment. The Parish Council has done this and, as part of the implementation of the Parish Plan, the Parish Plan Energy Team has been collecting information to enable residents to save money on their energy bills, while also helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the village. We have also gathered information on how to reduce water bills.
Various energy savings tips first published in the Kingston Parish Newsletter are included on this web page, plus contact numbers and useful email addresses for anyone who wishes to get individual advice, or to purchase items that can help them reduce their bills.
What happens to your recycled waste? Do 'they' really sort it all out and reuse it? A member of the Energy Team has been to check. See below - with photos. Did you know that for every ton of cardboard recycled 17 trees are saved?
The Energy Saving Trust For all sorts of advice on saving energy and water. Also up to date information on grants available.
Products That May Be Useful
Thermilate Tel: 0845 313868
Paints Direct Tel: 01484 453818
A useful product for people who cannot have cavity wall insulation. Thermilate is a new additive to add to either external or internal paint. It mixes with any coating and scientifically proven to reduce energy costs by up to 25%. The additive also stops condensation on cold walls and the consequent build up of mould. Additive suitable for use in 5 litres of paint costs £19.95 or you can get 3 for 2 at £39.90 (from paints direct). The only problem with the additive is that it makes the walls feel rather gritty.
Another part of the range from thermilate.com is special plaster to reduce heat loss through walls.
Both sites above are well worth a look.
Radiator Panels: If you put radiator panels in between the wall and the radiator this reduces heat loss through the walls. There are a number of places these can be purchased, My Greener Family has an energy efficient version which they say can reduce heating bills by up to 20%! They sell heat keeper radiator panels in packs of 10 or 20. 10 cost £34.99, 20 cost 59.99.
Radiator Booster: A device that you can place on top of a radiator which has a small fan that captures the heat that comes out of the back of the radiator and circulates it into the room. Adjustable in size, built in thermostat and a quiet fan. This allows you to get the heat into the room more efficiently, available from Nigel's Eco Store.
Specific Advice to Reduce Energy Use in the Home
- Turn your thermostat down. Reducing the room temperature by 1C could cut your heating bills by 10% and save you around £60/year. If you have a programmer set your heating and hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time.
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
- Always turn lights off when you leave a room. It is estimated that 1 in 3 lights on in a home in the evening are in empty rooms.
- Change your incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient ones whenever you can. The range is extensive now and there are many special offers in shops.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby. You may spend about 10% 0f your electricity bill on standby power. Cutting power completely to plug points could save you £40/year. Check out 'Bye Bye Standby'.
Your personal technology
- A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost over £50/year.
- The more processing your computer does the hotter it gets and the more cooling is required and therefore the more energy it uses.
- Only turn on the printer when you need it. Even on standby printers can still use 10W
- Do not leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
Put your used ink jet cartridges in the box in the Reading Room. They can send these for recycling and benefit R/R funds
In the kitchen
Try to manage without a tumble dryer. You could save more than £30 a year by using a washing line whenever possible.
- Only boil the water you need in your kettle.
- Defrost your food in the fridge overnight instead of heating it up in a pan or oven.
- Opening the oven door loses a lot of heat. If you keep the glass clean you can check on you meal without needing to open the door.
- Put a lid on your pans when you are cooking - it retains the heat better.
- Use the right size pan for the hob, and turn the heat down when the water has boiled.
- Only use the amount of water you need in the saucepan - just enough to cover the vegetables.
- Keep the freezer full even if it means filling it with loaves of bread.
- Defrost the freezer regularly - that way it runs more efficiently.
- escale the kettle - it will boil more quickly.
- And remember when it's time to replace your old appliances look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo (UK) to find the most energy efficient products on the market.
- We are used to labels on our washing machines, fridges and freezers, which tell us how energy efficient they are, but there is now a wide range of energy saving gadgets which are easy to find on the internet.
Nigel's Eco Store Tel: 0800 2888970 - has a vast number of energy saving electrical appliances for sale, for example:
- The Ecokettle
- Morphy Richards 2 slice Ecotoaster that uses 34% less energy
- There are other energy efficient gadgets that are coming on the market such as the turbo steam iron and a new sort of vacuum cleaner. Also worth considering are the stylish yet simple manual alternatives to electric appliances like the Presso Coffee Maker.
Waterwise gives advice on reducing water bills. This website also has a number of products that help to reduce water usage.
There are an increasing number of websites that advertise all sorts of ecologically friendly products. Some that we have found useful are listed below;
Eaga market a product called 'shower smart' which reduces the amount of water coming through the shower. It is estimated to save around £60/year in water and energy costs. They will supply this free to every home in Britain.
Ecocamel Supply aerated shower heads that are meant to use 70% less water normal shower heads. Once again this saves both water costs and energy costs. Their estimate of costs savings (£250/year for a family of 4) seems rather optimistic, but there will certainly be savings.
Jet Spa aerated shower head. Worth investigating.
Ecocamel also supply Moonlight. This is a night light for children. Only 0.05p/day to run.
Dry Planet is a unique and cost effective solution to saving water. It is a device with special crystals that absorb water and once placed in the toilet cistern these crystals swell and displace one litre of water/flush. Save-a-flush lasts for years and is biodegradable.
My Greener Family sell a water green siphon pump to take water out of the bath and siphon it outside. Attaches easily to a hose. Use to fill a water butt, clean a car, water the garden.
Nigel's Eco Store Tel: 0800 2888970 Has numerous gadgets listed, including ones that reduce energy consumption and are more environmentally friendly for use in both the washing machine and the tumble drier. There is also a whole section on energy efficient light bulbs, showing what they look like, which wattage of incandescent bulb they replace and whether they are dimmable or not. See later on for more information on lighting.
Specific Advice To Save Water - particularly for everyone on water meters!
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. A running tap uses 6 litres of water/minute.
- Put in a displacement device if you have an old style toilet cistern (see save-a flush; contact SW Water to see if they supply free devices).
- Do not ignore a dripping tap.
- Fill those dishwashers. Hand washing dishes typically uses about 63 litres/session. If you then rinse under a running tap the total water used averages 150 litres. A modern dishwasher can use as little as 15 litres of water/cycle. But make sure the dishwasher is full.
- Fill those washing machines. A full load uses less water than 2 half loads (plus if you wash at 30 C you could cut your energy cost by up to a third).
- A shower typically uses a third of the amount of water used for a bath. This could be reduced even further with the devices listed above. However a power shower may actually use more than a bath.
- Wash fruit and veg in a bowl rather than under a running tap.
We all know that Kingston is a village where people are dependent on their car. There are a number of ways in which it is possible to increase the number of miles you can get out each litre of fuel:
- Driving with soft tyres can add up to 2% on your fuel bills. Keep your tyres inflated to the correct level.
- Air conditioning uses up to 25% more fuel. Wherever possible turn this off and use the air vents instead, or open a window - but not if you are travelling over 60mph as this increases drag
- Have your car serviced regularly. Make sure your air filters are clean as, according to the RAC, dirty air filters reduce your fuel economy.
- Drive smoothly and consistently using higher gears. Sharp braking and accelerating can add as much as 30% on fuel costs.
- Driving at 85mph uses approximately 25% more fuel than at 70mph - so stick to the speed limit!
Remove roof racks and carriers when not needed as they increase the drag of the car and so increase fuel consumption.
Update On Lighting (November 2009)
Last month incandescent ('old-style' to you and me) light bulbs rated above 80 watts were banned from sale across the EU. Next year bulbs over 65 watts will be included in the ban. They will be replaced by energy efficient, (compact flourescent) light bulbs.
This move is part of the drive for energy efficiency, reducing the carbon footprint of every home. It has been estimated that lights account for around one fifth of the electricity used in an average home so, even if you are not convinced by the environmental argument, ditching incandescent light bulbs still makes financial sense.
Compact fluorescent technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since the first energy efficient bulbs were released on the market. In these early days there were many complaints about warm up times, general light output and their size. They looked ugly and ungainly in the average lamp. However the new generation of lights go a long way to counter these problems. There are now a few dimmable versions and others that have the same warmth of light that the old light bulbs had.
Look at Energy Saving Trust or another good site rg.uk/lighting or another good site Nigel's Eco Store to see the range of possibilities, or simply go to Homebase or B&Q both of whom have a wide selection.
There has been a certain amount of publicity recently about potential health risks associated with some energy efficient light bulbs. Research by The Health Protection Agency has shown that 17% of “unencapsulated” bulbs (those which look like a coil or spring) emitted above the recognised safety limit for ultra violet light. But the same research also showed that none of the encapsulated types (the ones that look more like the old style light bulbs) emitted any UV radiation. Further research has been commissioned, but people have been advised, as a precautionary measure, not to sit near to open (unencapsulated) light bulbs for prolonged periods of close work (nearer than 30cm) until further results have been obtained. The Health Protection Agency adds the proviso that the risk is small and compared it to a few minutes of sunbathing at midday.
Energy saving light bulbs cannot be thrown away. They have to be recycled when they come to the end of their life because of the mercury they contain. Check out Reco light where you can find the nearest collection point for recycling free of charge.
Nearest recycling sites to Kingston are; Ivybridge Recycling Centre, Ivybridge;Torr Quarry Recyling Centre, Kingsbridge
You may not be aware, but in January 2010 The Battery Compliance Scheme will become effective. This means that all batteries have to be recycled (including hearing aid batteries). If batteries end up in landfill harmful heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury can leach out into the soil, whereas, if they are recycled, valuable raw materials can be recovered from them.
All retailers who sell batteries have a statutory obligation to take them back from February 2010. Consumers will be able to take their waste batteries (free of charge) to shops selling batteries, even if they don’t buy anything. All battery retailers who sell over 32kg/year (equivalent to 1 x 4 pack of AA batteries a day) will have to collect waste batteries.
A village collection box is available in the Reading Room.
Pickles of Modbury already takes in waste batteries. Ivybridge Recycling Centre will also take them.
To find out more go to Erp-Batteries
Do Not Let Kingston Go To Waste
Good News - South Hams District Council has one of the best recycling and composting rates in the country (figures from 2008/9). This rate is up by almost 1% on the previous year at 57.9% or 19,650 tonnes which is equivalent to the weight of 46 Jumbo Jets.
For those cynics who have voiced concerns about the new recyclable waste collection lorries (identical to the ones that collect brown and black bins), I can assure you that this recyclable waste DOES still go to the Recycling Centre and not to landfill as some have mischievously suggested. If you are one of those people who do not believe that our plastic bottles, cans and paper get separated and reused, I can tell you that they do, what’s more, even the plastic sacks get recycled! I witnessed all of this on a recent visit to the Severnside Recycling depot in Cattedown. Severnside Recycling is the company that has the contract with SHDC to recycle the non-compostible recyclable household waste that’s collected every fortnight from outside our houses.
Anthony Kingman, the site manager, told me that there was a simple financial reason for the change from the caged vehicles to the regular refuse lorries. SHDC found that caged lorries were inefficient - not enough plastic sacks could be collected before the carts became full - refuse lorries can collect 6 times as many sacks than the caged vehicles (see photo). The operators do some separation of sacks while putting them in the lorry, but the critical separations happen once the vehicles arrive at the depot. Here, once the blue and the clear sacks have been separated they are manually ripped open and the recycling process begins.
This is what happens to the contents :-
Blue Sacks:- Paper & cardboard is compacted, baled and sent to one of Severnside’s sister companies in Kent to be made into new cardboard boxes and packaging. For every tonne of paper recycled 17 trees are saved.
Clear Sacks :- The 3 different materials, plastic bottles, steel cans and aluminium cans, are all thrown onto a conveyor belt. Steel cans are removed by large magnets. Then the aluminium cans and plastic bottles are sorted by hand. Separated materials are compacted and baled up (see photo).
The steel cans are usually sold to Corus Steel Packaging in Wales, to be processed into new steel.
The compacted aluminium cans are sold to the Novelis Used Beverage Can Recycling Plant in Cheshire, to be made into new aluminium cans. Aluminium foil is also taken by them.
Plastic bottles are sold on a load-by-load basis to organisations that are accredited by the Environment Agency, either in the UK or abroad. As there are many grades of plastic in the bales they must go to plants that are able to segregate the different materials. Some plastics do remain in this country, but many do go to China, filling the holds of container ships that have delivered consumer goods to the UK. They do not go into landfill. There are many uses for recycled plastic including loft insulation and (would you believe it) the fleece you may be wearing now! 25 two litre plastic bottles = one fleece jacket.
Just 1% of the material put into your recycling sacks cannot be recycled. So far, plastic used in yoghurt pots and containers for spreads are not recyclable, as are other types of plastic containers. It is understandable with the wide range of plastics used there will always be some materials that turn up at Severnside that have to be thrown into landfill, but I was quite shocked at some of the things that turn up (see photo).
Finally there is a huge financial incentive to recycle as much material as possible. Why put material in landfill when it costs the company £80/ton This is why even the blue and clear plastic sacks are recycled and turned into polythene.
Content of Brown Bins:- all compostible material goes to a gigantic composting facility near Bovey Tracey. This is a completely separate operation from Severnside Recycling.
Keep Recycling, it saves us all money and helps the planet!
South Hams District Council has one of the best recycling and composting rates in the country (figures from 2008/9). This rate is up by almost 1% on the previous year at 57.9% or 19,650 tonnes which is equivalent to the weight of 46 Jumbo Jets. :- Paper & cardboard is compacted, baled and sent to one of Severnside’s sister companies in Kent to be made into new cardboard boxes and packaging. For every tonne of paper recycled 17 trees are saved.:- The 3 different materials, plastic bottles, steel cans and aluminium cans, are all thrown onto a conveyor belt. Steel cans are removed by large magnets. Then the aluminium cans and plastic bottles are sorted by hand. Separated materials are compacted and baled up (see photo). :- all compostible material goes to a gigantic composting facility near Bovey Tracey. This is a completely separate operation from Severnside Recycling.
Kingston Parish Plan Energy Saving Team