Doing your bit for the environment isn't all about protecting the planet. It could actually save you a lot of money, too - and in these difficult times, that could be very important.
Here are a few tips for saving money that you may not have thought of when it comes to going green.
Most people simply don't know what their gadgets, gizmos and household appliances actually cost to run. What uses more energy - a TV? A vacuum cleaner? A laptop?
There's no easy answer, because there are many things that can affect energy consumption. But there is a way of finding out roughly what your own electrical items cost you to run.
An electricity monitor is a device which connects to the electricity meter in your home and transmits a signal to a display unit. The display tells you approximately how much your energy consumption is costing you at the time. This means you can see almost instantly how much switching on lights, a TV, a microwave or indeed any other electrical item affects your running costs.
What's more, many of these monitors keep a history of your energy usage, telling you how much you've used in the last day, week or month. Some of the more advanced models even allow you to view your data in detail on your computer.
From there, you can make informed decisions about how you use your appliances - for example, you might decide to use your small TV when it's just you, or switch to more energy-efficient lighting.
It's possible that the energy efficiency of your home and the things in it could be improved with a few minor changes. Even if each individual change is only small, it could all add up to make a big difference over the course of a month or a year. Forexample:
Check your lighting.
Energy-saving light-bulbs have become very popular in recent years, but a lot of lighting is still sold with less efficient bulbs. It may be worth changing these light fittings for ones that can carry energy-saving bulbs.
If any of your rooms have halogen spotlights, you may struggle to change them for traditional energy-saving bulbs, because spotlights are often built into the ceiling plaster. However, you could change them for LED spotlights, which are gettingcheaper and are very energy-efficient.
Check gadget battery life. A smartphone or MP3 player that needs charging every day obviously costs more to run than one that only needs charging every few days. Some newer MP3 players offer in excess of 100 hours of playback time on one charge - meaning someone listening to 3 hours of music a day would only have to charge up once a month!