Airtricity Energy Doctor
22 March 2011
Hi – my name is Kevin Middleton and I’m the Airtricity Energy Doctor.
For the next six weeks, you can join me every Thursday from 11am on u105fm MORNINGS with Frank Mitchell where we’ll be tackling the subject of energy efficiency, giving you helpful tips and advice on reducing your home energy use.
We’ll also be helping five Northern Ireland families to win the u105fm/Airtricity Better Saver Listener Challenge and win a free home re-insulation package for loft and cavity wall insulation to the value of £1,000!
So let’s get started...
What is energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency is doing what we need or want to do at home or at work but using less energy to do it.
Are you having difficulty getting your head around the concept of energy efficiency? Well then maybe think of energy efficiency in the same way as you would about driving your car and the fuel you use to do so. Most of the time we just get in the car and drive to where we want to go without thinking about fuel consumption – but with a little effort we could use a lot less petrol and save valuable resources, limit polluting emissions and save money in the process!.
For example, we can save on our fuel consumption in our cars by:
- by making sure our tyres are inflated to the top end of the range suggested by the tyre suppliers (riding a push bike with a poorly inflated tyre shows you just how much extra energy is required);
- by driving at a moderate, constant and safe speed (when motorway driving any speed over 70mph will consume more petrol than necessary, and on urban roads try not to exceed 30mph); and
- by using overdrive or cruise control when you can and accelerating smoothly.
- Also, by keeping your air filter clean, changing oil routinely, losing any unnecessary weight from the vehicle (golf clubs, sports gear, infant buggies if not needed), planning your journey ahead of time, switching your engine off if it’s likely to be idling for more than 30m seconds... all of these change behaviours and more can reduce your fuel consumption.
So just as much as we can reduce our consumption of Petrol and Diesel in our cars, so too should we try and cut our consumption of Electricity, Gas, Oil, Coal, Turf and other Solid Fuels – all are energy forms and they all cost money and precious resources.
Over the next six weeks we’ll be talking about staying warm, having all the hot water you need, preparing meals and enjoying the creature comforts you have in your home but using LESS energy in doing so. We’ll give you helpful tips that will save you money and improve the value you get for your spend on energy - and all through Energy Efficiency!
You’ll be doing your bit to save the planet too!
Before we do that, the first thing to do is look at what we pay for our energy. Think of our driving example again – as we drive around we now tend to make a point of looking for the best priced service station, so why not do the same and ring around to get the best deal on your Home Heating Oil, Coal or Turf. Electricity and gas companies now compete on price – so make sure you’re getting the best deal and don’t be afraid to switch to the lowest cost energy product or provider that suits your energy need.
As well as switching to a lower cost energy product or provider that suits your needs, why not consider switching your fuel type to a fuel that is more efficient and therefore less costly.
In the meantime, by making some simple changes in behaviour through how we consume our energy at home through some simple energy efficiency steps, we can begin using less energy and making some real cost savings in the process.
Remember it’s your money after all, and you’ve worked hard to earn it!! You owe it to yourself to spend it wisely. A few minutes of research and effort could save you hundreds of pounds!
So...in the next few weeks on u105fm we’ll be looking at:
- “The heat is on” Getting the best bang for your buck with your home heating and water heating (the big energy suckers) while making your house feel warmer too.
- “If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me” Taking personal responsibility for your home energy use. Monitor and manage your power use with a home energy monitor. Change your behaviour – lots of small actions add up to one big result.
- “En-light-En yourself” Focussing on energy efficient lighting, new appliance energy ratings and labelling, and standby devices, plus the costs and benefits of different lighting technologies and super efficient home appliances.
- “Talking ‘bout my Generation” Taking a closer look at renewable heating like Bio-mass and air sourced heat pumps, solar water heating, solar PV generation, micro- wind and hydro generation.
- “What a Wonderful World” What can we do to contribute to a more sustainable world besides energy efficiency? We’ll explore water collection and conservation, heat exchangers, gardening and composting, as well as sift through the myriad of green products and services for the home.
- “Putting it Together” We’ll put our six week energy efficiency workout together and into practice and we’ll reveal the results of our u105fm/Airtricity Better Saver Listener Challenge.
more great stuff...
We also want to help younger energy users understand energy, how it's produced, how it gets to us and how to use it wisely. That's why we've launched ‘About your energy’, a new online interactive educational resource on our customer website which provides information, resources and opportunities for pupils and teachers.
Energy consumers can also get free independent advice and information on energy efficiency, low carbon transport and renewable energy technologies by visiting the website of the Energy Saving Trust.
Meet the Airtricity Energy Doctor
Kevin Middleton is Airtricity’s Energy Doctor (his official title is Energy Efficiency Manager). A New Zealander by birth Kevin has a background in Electrical Engineering with experience in energy supply and energy efficiency in the residential, public, and commercial/industrial sectors. He admits to being a ‘bit of a greenie at heart’ but he’s also very practical in his approach to encouraging home energy use reduction.
“I believe in taking a pragmatic approach towards making those decisions that will help us, as individuals and as a community, to live more sustainably and to reduce energy use. I believe real and powerful actions can be taken once we have given realconsideration to the practical, social, financial and economic benefits that energy reduction can bring.”