Energy Savings in Private Households


From the moment a person moves from a city apartment to his or her own cottage, the issue of saving consumed resources becomes even more important for him or her, because the maintenance of an average country house is much more expensive than that of an apartment. Let’s find out what energy saving technologies are currently available to private homeowners.

Since most private homes do not have access to centralized water supply and get water from the bowels of the earth, the most relevant for them are saving heat and electricity.

Heat costs are probably the biggest expense for a homeowner who lives in their cottage year-round.

Saving heat

Since most cottage settlements do not have a centralized heating system, saving heat for their inhabitants usually means saving on fuel. There are two components to these savings: improving the efficiency of converting a unit of fuel volume into degrees Celsius indoors, and reducing heat loss from the house (through walls, roofs and windows).

Improved fuel efficiency is achieved through the use of modern automated boilers, as well as their proper maintenance: regular cleaning of the boiler ensures that fuel consumption does not increase over time. In addition, efficient heating devices (convectors and radiators with the lowest thermal inertia) should be used in the house.

In addition to the boiler it is possible to use a geothermal heat pump, which heats the coolant for the heating system of the house by utilizing the heat of the earth. However, for the operation of the heat pump requires a small but uninterrupted power supply. If the possibility to organize it exists, then theoretically the heat pump can save up to 18% of the heating budget. However, we still recommend that you consult a specialist for calculations.

Reduction of heat losses is achieved, first of all, by insulating the walls and roof of a private house, i.e. by using modern insulation materials, the thickness of which is calculated in accordance with the climatic zone, and observing the technological conditions of their laying. Calculated work, however, as well as installation, of course, should be carried out by specialists, but the homeowner should know that energy saving should be thought about at the construction stage.

Finally, it is very important that the heating devices do not give away excessive heat to the premises, i.e. that there is no situation when the house is hot and you have to keep open the shutters. In fact, this means heating the street at your own expense and nullifying all measures to insulate the house.

To solve this problem, automatic radiator thermoregulators have been created, which are able to maintain the set temperature in the room without your participation. The principle of their operation is quite simple: when the air temperature in the room rises, the thermostat cuts off the water supply to the radiator. When the temperature cools down, the opposite is true. The temperature of the thermoregulator reaction is set by means of a rotating knob with a temperature scale. Thermoregulators can react to temperature changes as small as 1°C.

However, there is another characteristic of these devices, which is not always written on the packaging – the reaction time, which depends on the properties of the thermosensitive substance filling the sensor of the device. It is this parameter that should be the deciding factor when selecting a device.

Liquid thermostats have an average reaction time three times longer – enough to cause some discomfort. Finally, a solid-state thermostat will “swing” from 40 minutes to an hour, and sometimes even longer.

However, it is not possible to do without ventilation at all. However, some of the heat inevitably escapes from the house through open windows or shutters. The only way to save it is to use recuperated airers. According to the manufacturers of this equipment, as a result of ventilation loses about half of the heat received by the premises from the heating system. I.e. if the recovery efficiency is up to 76%, approximately 38% of the initially generated heat energy will be saved. Naturally, such a heat saving scheme will only work if there are radiator thermoregulators.

Saving electricity

The first thing that comes to mind is the admonition of the older generation to turn off the lights behind you, i.e. to use exactly as much electricity as you really need. But today there is another way not to spend extra watts – to use economical appliances, including energy-saving lamps.

Almost everyone has heard of the need to replace the usual incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs (fluorescent, LED or halogen). And it must be said that it really makes sense. For example, a three-arm chandelier with fluorescent lamps, equivalent in brightness to incandescent lamps with a capacity of 60 W, for their lifetime (an average of 8 thousand hours) consumes almost 400 kWh less electricity than the same chandelier with incandescent lamps. The average annual savings from the LED lamp is about the same, but it pays for itself longer. However, and serves too.

In addition to the use of the “right” lighting fixtures, energy saving can be provided by a competent choice of household appliances. Since 1995, compliance with economical (in terms of electricity consumption) class “A” is reflected on the packaging or even the store price tag of washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and other large household appliances made in Europe and Russia. Obviously, specific values of energy consumption differ for different types of electrical appliances, but belonging to the “A” class (A+, A++) unambiguously informs us about consumption close to the minimum among those available on the market.

Producing electricity

Few homeowners think about the fact that they do not have to buy all their electricity from energy supply companies. Some of it can be obtained from alternative sources: for example, by recycling energy from the sun, wind or water.

Mini-electric power plants are just beginning to take over the private house building market. And since wind and hydro generators require special conditions for their operation (a river with a certain flow rate or a steady wind for more than half of the year), solar power plants are still the most popular. Although technically existing today solar cells provide quite low productivity, they are already quite capable of paying for themselves.

A home solar power station consists of several blocks: solar cells (panels), a block of batteries, which allows to store the energy accumulated during the daylight hours, as well as an inverter for converting direct current into alternating current. Given the low weight of the panels, they can be placed on the roofs or walls of buildings (on the south side).

The cost of an installation for converting solar energy into electricity is certainly high. And in certain conditions, for example, for a city apartment, it does not pay off. However, in a private home, an average photovoltaic plant, according to manufacturers, pays for itself in 7-8 years. In this case, the energy obtained from the sun, you can fully power, for example, the lighting of the house (when using energy-saving lamps) and part of household appliances: TV, refrigerator, laptop or water pump. By the way, it can also be used to power the heat pump discussed above.