Moving On Up?

Having recently moved home I was prompted to reflect on the kinds of decisions involved in ‘moving’ and their implications for energy usage. Where we live plays an important role in the formation of our energy consumption. It impacts on how far we have to travel to get work, to see family and friends and on what mode travel we decide to take. It is important in terms of the communities we become part of and what we come to see as normal ways of living. And in terms of the infrastructure of our homes, it is fundamental to our energy use as households.

Our recent move involved moving from a two bedroom flat, on the first floor of a large Victorian house, to a four bedroom terraced Victorian house. Given that we had moved from a two bedroom flat to a four bedroom house we assumed our bills would become more expensive as it would take more energy to heat a bigger home, more electricity to light it and so on. This however has not been the case – our bills are significantly cheaper. I’ve given a good deal of thought to why this might be and the biggest factor I think is that we were renting previously and therefore had far less control over a lot of the big decisions that affect energy usage. Below I show in pictures just some of these big decisions…

Heating and Insulation

Our old flat … BIG frong room, BIG windows, BIG (open but not working) fireplace … tiny radiator …

large front room small radiator in large room not so smart electricity meter

This meant it took a lot of energy to heat this room – while this room was still very cold the rest of the flat which was more compact and had better radiators and insulation was very hot!

Energy efficient appliances

Old appliances

old washing machine old boiler

Versus new appliances

new washing machine new washing machine

 

The house we bought has a much more efficient boiler – we also had efficiency high on our list when we bought the appliances we needed.

Energy suppliers

wind turbine online energy supplier bill

When we were renting our energy supplier was determined by our landlady… now we can choose an energy supplier that takes a more environmentally sustainable approach to their business.

Thinking about this has led me to the reflection that where we live is important for our energy use but how we live in those homes is important too – though we might often feel powerless to effect change, we can make differences to how we use energy in our homes that have real impacts on our consumption.

Catherine Butler

… though we might often feel powerless to effect change, we can make differences to how we use energy in our homes that have real impacts on our consumption.”