Living

Good for the environment and your wallet: seven energy-saving tips

Susanne Loacker

Even if you don’t yet have a rooftop solar system that will recharge one of your electric cars during the day while you’re on the road with the other: there are lots of small measures you can take to save energy in everyday life. It’s worth it when you add them all up. According to Statista, an average household spent around 1,000 francs on energy in 2020. Here are seven tips you can use to reduce energy consumption and save up to 50 percent of costs.

The picture shows a little boy fascinated by an oven.
© Getty Images/Westend61

In this article

1. Clever washing and drying

Depending on the network provider, the night-time electricity tariff begins between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. You can save money until 6:00 a.m. because electricity is cheaper during this period. But there are also ways to save energy when washing and drying during the day: avoid half-full loads and don’t wash at temperatures that are any hotter than necessary. Everything doesn’t always have to be washed at 90 degrees – this fallacy dates back to a time when detergents were capable of much less than they are today. Pre-washing is also hardly ever necessary anymore. Laundry that dries on the line is logically more energy-efficient than tumble-dried laundry. But of course, it becomes softer in the tumble drier. By way of a compromise, you can let sheets and towels dry overnight on the line in the basement, then add the finishing touch in the tumble drier.

2. Soak dishes instead of pre-washing

You can run the dishwasher on the eco program if the dishes aren’t too dirty. Except pre-washing also requires hot water – and washing dishes by hand uses more water than the dishwasher’s eco program. The ideal compromise is not to pre-wash dishes under running water, but to soak them in the kitchen sink before putting them in the dishwasher. You should of course wait until the machine is full before turning it on.

A girl is emptying a dishwasher. Her mother can be seen in the background with a younger sibling sitting on her knee.

Using a dishwasher is something that needs to be learned – and optimized.

3. Buy multifunctional devices and turn off devices completely

Household devices consume electricity. The more devices you have, the more power they consume – even in standby mode. First of all, it makes sense to rely on multifunctional devices wherever possible. If a printer can also scan and copy, so much the better. Secondly, a power strip is great for most devices and allows you to switch them all off at once. This way you avoid power consumption in standby mode. Some devices can be safely turned off altogether when you go away for a few days – for example, the router, unless you have remote-controlled WLAN sockets.

4. Kettle, microwave, oven: how to save energy

Boil small amounts of water in a kettle instead of a pan. Use the microwave instead of the oven for reheating – it requires about one-seventh of the energy. Don’t preheat the oven and turn it off before the end of the baking time to make use of the residual heat. A lot of energy can be saved by changing little things you do out of habit in the kitchen every day.

5. LED instead of halogen or incandescent lamps

Especially at darker times of year, it’s worth opting for LED light – the technology consumes much less electricity than conventional light bulbs, and even than halogen bulbs. Don’t think it makes much difference? Lighting is the biggest electricity guzzler in Swiss households, according to energie-experten.ch, the specialist portal of EKZ, the energy company for the canton of Zurich.

The picture shows a close-up of an LED light in the form of a light bulb.

Lighting accounts for half the energy consumption of private Swiss households. So LED bulbs pay for themselves.

6. Check the refrigerator and freezer regularly

A freezer will consume more energy if the device is iced up, just as a refrigerator will require more power if there are cracks or brittle spots on the seal around the door. A layer of ice that’s just five millimeters thick increases power consumption by about a third. Both appliances, the refrigerator and freezer, must be able to give off heat and should therefore be as free-standing as possible – and never positioned next to devices that produce heat themselves, such as washing machines or tumble dryers. In addition, it goes without saying that you should pay attention to high energy efficiency when buying new equipment.

7. Shower, toilet, dripping faucets: how to save water in the bathroom

It’s quite obvious that a bath in a tub requires more water than a shower. But there is savings potential when it comes to showering too. For instance, you can get into the habit of turning off the water while you’re applying soap and shampoo. A lot of little savings measures add up over time. New toilets are equipped with a water-saving button. However, this often has the disadvantage that so little water comes out that you have to rinse several times. This is where good (and honest) advice from a professional pays off. It’s also worth repairing leaky faucets and running toilets . Professional descaling is often sufficient.

Conclusion: even small actions can have an impact

Often you might think: that’s not much use. This may be true in individual cases. But when you add everything up, it is precisely these small things and actions that can reduce private energy consumption and hence the associated costs. According to energie-experten.ch, savings of up to half your consumption costs are possible if all the tips are applied consistently.

Read next

On our website we use cookies and analysis tools to constantly improve user-friendliness. This allows us to offer you the best possible service and personalize the advertising for you, both on our website and with our advertising partners. By using the website, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find more detailed provisions in our Privacy Statement).