Tools for householders to manage their domestic energy use
Dublin’s energy agency, Codema, is making it easier for the public to understand how their home uses energy and to identify possible savings. With Dublin City Public Libraries, the agency has developed a kit of six easy-to-use tools and measuring instruments that householders can borrow to identify common problems such as lack of insulation, poor ventilation and inefficient appliances.
The six tools address key areas of energy use in the home, such as space heating, hot water and electricity consumption. The tools in the kit can also help to identify common issues such as lack of insulation, poor ventilation and the appliances that might be driving up electricity bills. Each tool has the following function:
- Fridge/ Freezer Thermometer - to measure the fridge and freezer temperature accurately and adjust accordingly.
- Thermal Leak Detector - to detect energy leaks in thr home by showing the temperature differences with a coloured LED spot. This helps to spot thermal air leaks and identify areas for additional insulation and/or draught proofing.
- Temperature and Humidity Meter - to identify both the temperature and the humidity levels in the home.
- Plug-In Energy Monitor - to understand how much energy the appliances in the home use and help calculate their running cost.
- Radiator Key - to bleed radiators if a wet central heating system is in place, by releasing trapped air and making the radiators run more efficiently.
- Stopwatch - to measure the flow rate of water taps, showers and bath to ensure that no water or energy is wasted.
The kit is also contains by a step-by-step user manual to guide householders on how to use each tool correctly (there are also online demonstration videos). Finally, each kit contains a survey form, so the public can give feedback to Codema and help them evaluate the impact that the kits have on user behaviour, and a blue envelope for the householder to keep. This envelope contains a brochure with energy-saving tips, a temperature card, and a worksheet to track and compare results.
Householders can borrow the toolkit free of charge from any Dublin City Public Library for up to two weeks at a time. By reacting to the issues the kit identifies, a household can reduce its annual energy consumption by over 4000 kWh, emitting 1000 kg less carbon dioxide – and consequently can save up to EUR 450 each year, according to Codema.
This scheme has the potential to impact thousands of consumers. In the pilot phase involving 10 library branches in 2016, 17 kits were made available. They were used in 275 homes across Dublin, and attracted huge interest from the public, resulting in long waiting lists for the kits. With 67 kits now available, Codema estimates savings of over 1 500 000 kWh or more than 374 000 kg of CO₂ could be generated by the end of 2017.
The Home Energy Saving Kit won the Consumers Award of the EU Sustainable Energy Awards 2017.
The project is supported by Dublin City Public Libraries and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).