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Electrical equipments

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According to the ADEME (A French Agency for sustainable development), the consumption of electricity in French households is distributed in the following manner:
32% freezer and refrigerator
14% lights
14% dishwasher
14% clothes dryer
12% audiovisual appliances
7% washing machine
7% other

Here are all the tips and tricks to reduce your electricity consumption and therefore your economic and ecological footprint.

Clever ways of consuming electricity

In France, 80% of electricity comes from nuclear energy, which is inexpensive when produced to cover basic energy needs. To top up this production, the French electricity board (EDF) resorts to hydraulic power. Last of all, EDF resorts to both hydraulic energy AND thermal power stations (which are the most pollutive and expensive) to make up for peaks in consumption, such as in the evenings or during bouts of extremely cold weather.

Thus, EDF created a peak hour rate, corresponding to electricity that is expensive to produce and generates a greater amount of pollution, and an off-peak hour rate, which corresponds to electricity that is inexpensive to produce and generates little co2. Therefore, whenever it is possible, set the timer on your electrical appliances (washing machines, electric water heaters, etc.) so that they run at night. This way, you will save money while polluting less.


Traditional lamps have an efficiency that is 4 to 6 times lower than that of low energy light bulbs, which means that an 18 Watt low energy light bulb provides as much brightness as a traditional 100 Watt lamp. Although they are certainly more expensive at the time of purchase (costing about $14 as opposed to less than $1.40 for a traditional light bulb), they last longer, namely 8000 to 10000 hours in service versus 1000 for traditional ones. And all this while saving 656 to 820 Kwh over their lifetime, that is $98 per light bulb - 7 times their purchase price.

NB: Whilst low energy light bulbs are attractive on the whole, traditional light bulbs are still good for transit areas, where the lights are only switched on for short periods. Indeed, low energy light bulbs "prefer" to remain switched on for relatively long periods.

NB2: DO NOT throw used low energy light bulbs into the bin; instead, bring them to a lighting shop during your next purchase where they will be taken to be recycled. Indeed, certain substances contained within the light bulb are highly toxic to the environment.

NB3: Such light bulbs produce a light that is somewhat pale. To remedy this, you could for example replace a traditional 80 Watt light bulb by a low energy one that lights up like a 120 Watt bulb, but in actual fact consumes only 24 Watts; in this way, the room remains pleasant to be in while allowing for savings to be made.

Savings: Money, Environment

Savings: Money, ENvironment benefits


a) First point, which is almost stating the obvious: opt for a fridge that is suited to your household needs. While a capacity of 350 to 500 liters is not a luxury for a family of 4 or more, a single person can do with 100 to 150l, a household of 2 or 3 with 150 to 250l, and a household of 3-4 with 250 to 350l. Indeed, the bigger your fridge, the more electricity it will consume, which is useless if 3/4 of it is empty.

b) If possible, avoid American style fridges, which are very energy-intensive, consuming an average of about 1600 Kwh as opposed to 600 for a traditional refrigerator. Of course, such fridges are nice - they can produce ice cubes on demand - but you can get the same thing using an ice cube tray in a traditional refrigerator, while saving 1000 Kwh/year, that is, $140/year or 50 Kg of co2.

c) Choose the least energy-intensive appliances (an A rating should be the minimum, A+ and A++ your benchmark) that, although more expensive at the time of purchase, will allow you to save more money in the long run than what the initial additional cost represents. Thus, a very economical refrigerator could result in energy consumption being lowered from 636 Kwh/year to 274, that is, 362 Kwh saved per year ($50.40; 18 Kg of co2).

d) Once you see signs of frost, defrost: a 5 mm layer of frost in your refrigerator gives rise to an overconsumption of electricity of 30% and above.

Doing your laundry

1st technique: Recycling of clothes.

In order to reduce your wash load, you could "recycle" your clothes, i.e. reuse clothes that have already been worn but that are still clean. Try it: if you have a ball of clothes lying at the bottom of your wardrobe, go through them (apart from underwear) one by one and ask yourself if it is really necessary to wash them all.

2nd technique : : Get economical

Choose washing machines that save on water; this implies less water used and less energy required to heat this water.

Next, wash your clothes on a cold cycle (washing at 30°C consumes 3 times less energy and therefore costs 3 times less in electricity than washing at 90°, all the while reducing the risk of damaging your clothes), and wash all your clothes together to avoid doing separate loads; if you need, you can use special dye-absorbing products such as Decolor Stop.

To pollute and spend less, use a little less than the recommended dose of washing detergent when doing your laundry, e.g. -25%, which is more than sufficient in general. Worst comes to the worst, if one or two items do not come out perfectly clean, you can always add them to the next wash load. It will always be more economical to rewash a few clothes now and then, than to constantly waste detergent.

If you can, hang your clothes up to dry. If you don't have either the time or space, use a clothes dryer, but in the same way, optimize its usage by:
-Getting a category A dryer at the very least and A++ at the very best
-Loading it to maximum capacity
-Turning it on during off-peak hours
-Not drying your clothes for too long: worst comes to the worst, if your clothes come out slightly moist, they will continue drying on the hanger.

Doing the dishes

Today's dishwashers consume 10 to 15 liters of water per cycle, which, if fully loaded, is much less than hand-washing dishes. Nevertheless, make sure that the right dose of dishwasher detergent is used, and that the water pipes and tubings are in a good state (water entry and exit)... Lastly, as for all other devices, choose the most economical appliances (A+, A++) that will save the most on water and energy.

Appliances on standby mode

Don't leave appliances on standby mode. Certain appliances, such as VCRs, consume up to 90% of their total electricity consumption during standby modes. If everyone in France turned off all appliances on standby mode, we could save on one nuclear power station; in other words, some 700 millions of dollars would be saved by the French, that is, $42 for a family of four. To achieve this, there is a simple solution: plug your electrical appliances into a power strip equipped with a switch; you only need to switch it off at night or when nobody is at home.

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