Heating, cooking, transportation… Are “small actions” really effective in lowering energy bills?

The négaWatt expert group, which specializes in energy, has listed fifty measures to be implemented to reduce the consumption of electricity, gas and oil in France.

A few days before the presentation of the executive’s energy recovery plan, the think tank négaWatt listed fifty measures aimed at effectively reducing energy consumption in France. For each of these provisions, the association quantifies its exact effect.

These new measures adopted aim to deal with the threat of shortages, which hung over the French this winter due to supply difficulties linked to the war in Ukraine. They also represent sustainable solutions to combat climate change.

To create this list, négaWatt experts studied the main sources of consumption in the residential, tertiary and transport sectors. They then determined the fifty most effective measures regarding energy saving, immediately available and cost-free. On the other hand, they could not focus on the industry, due to the lack of available data.

Lower the heating temperature to 19°C

And the most effective action to adopt, in residential, remains to lower the heating temperature. “In individual or collective housing, respecting the heating setpoint of 19 °C saves 23.5 terawatt hours (TWh) every year”, introduces the director of négaWatt Stéphane Chatelin in Parisian. This represents 13% of heating consumption. However, many studies put the average indoor temperature at 22°C.

In order for this movement to be widely available in households, négaWatt proposes that a specific State awareness campaign be broadcast on the subject. It also advocates for the promotion of thermostats and programmers to manufacturers, distributors and heating installers.

NégaWatt also recommends that households adopt “more sensible cooking practices”, by reducing their consumption of frozen foods, turning off the oven before the end of cooking and covering pots and pans specifically. The use of such actions can reduce the consumption related to cooking in the residential sector by 10%, shows the report.

Unplug standby devices

In homes, unplugging electrical appliances, such as the internet box, the television and the computer, is also cited as one of the most effective rescue actions. Devices left on standby in homes are responsible for an 11% increase in the amount of annual electricity bills of the French, according to Ademe. Turning it off completely could cut household electricity consumption by 14%, according to a think tank report. Concretely, the use of power strips with switches and programmers will facilitate the adoption of this reflex in many households, recalls négaWatt.

Installing flow limiters on faucets and showers can also reduce household water consumption by a quarter, and the energy needed to heat it by 8,200 GWh per year.

The tertiary sector, which is responsible for 16% of energy consumption in France, against 30% for the residential sector, also represents an important lever for savings. Lowering heating to 19°C in offices, like housing, is the measure that generates the biggest savings. Its application will reduce the total energy consumption of the sector by 28%. NégaWatt also remembers the effect of systematically shutting down the heating when the offices are not occupied.

Limit speed to 110km/h on the highway

Transportation alone accounts for 19% of the territory’s energy consumption. Limiting the maximum speed of the motorway to 110 km/h and that of the expressways to 100 km/h will enable significant savings to be made. The reduction in total fuel consumption that these measures can cause for the trips concerned is estimated at 20%. The development of carpooling with the establishment of fixed lines in communities can increase 30% fuel savings.

Applying the fifty measures proposed by négaWatt will reduce the total consumption of gas, electricity and oil in France by 13% in the short term. In detail, négaWatt estimates a reduction in electricity consumption by 17% and gas by 20% in the territory. What will be rejected, if these measures are applied, the specter of lack of energy in winter.

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