On Eigg, all our homes are limited to using up to 5kW of electricity at any one time. Knowing how much electricity things use and helped with our OWL meters, we find it quite easy to stay within this limit. If everyone did this, it would mean that together we’d all use a LOT LESS electricity, which would mean power companies wouldn’t need to generate as much thus closing the ‘energy gap’ and (the really cool bit), saving you money! Spreading the load is good too – means the poor old national grid isn’t trying to deal with huge swings from high to low demand.
You don’t need to buy an OWL or other kind of energy meter, but it does help keep track of how much electricity and CASH you’re burning up. First of all you need to work out how much electricity things in your house use. We have stickers to stick to the biggest leccy lovers – let us know if you’d like some and we’ll post them out to you.
Start with the big things – the ones that make heat…. heaters, kettles, hairdryers, toasters. The longer these leccy guzzlers stay on the more power they’re using. So, boiling a 2kW kettle for one minute takes up a tiny fraction of the electricity that a 2kW electric heater left on for three hours would use. An eco light bulb takes up a tenth of the energy of a 100w bulb and saves you 90% of what you spend to keep it on for an hour!
Once you know how much everything uses, try and keep the total under 5kW at any one time – if your washing machine (usually around 1.5 – 2kW) is on, perhaps that power shower (at 6kW or more) can wait for a while.
If you need any more information on how we do it on Eigg, please contact us.