Eco-friendly electricity and living – 10 tips from an expert

Housing accounts for a good third of the average carbon footprint in Finland. What choices can we all make at home to make housing more environmentally friendly? One of the quickest and easiest ways is to change your electricity contract to one that is based on renewable energy sources, such as wind power.

Motiva’s expert Päivi Suur-Uski answers ten questions about ecological living, sustainable development and environmentally friendly electricity and electrical equipment. Read the expert’s tips and make a difference already today!

1. How can I make my home more environmentally friendly, quickly and easily?

“Housing accounts for a good third of the average carbon footprint in Finland. Emissions into the environment caused by housing are easy to reduce by lowering your indoor temperature,” says Motiva’s expert Päivi Suur-Uski.

“A drop by one degree Celsius reduces a home’s energy consumption by five percent.”

2. Does it make a difference in terms of sustainable development if I select environmentally friendly electricity such as wind power?

“Selecting electricity generated by renewable means is important for the environment.

The extent of this depends on how you heat your house. If you have electric heating, you use a lot of electricity, and choosing renewable electricity becomes more important.

Getting an environmentally friendly electricity product is also a decision of principle, because it helps to support increased production of renewable energy and a shift towards fully renewable energy production.”

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3. Which type of green electricity is the best choice for an environmentally friendly home?

“Wind and solar power create the lowest emissions of the electricity production alternatives. Their production can also be increased in Finland, unlike hydropower, for example.”

4. How much does the Internet consume electricity and how can I reduce consumption?

“The Internet consumes a surprisingly high amount of electricity. You cannot see it on your own electricity bill, but consumption increases in data centers around the world. When you use an online phone application or stream videos, you place a load on servers.

This load will increase in the future, as more and more devices, even home appliances, are connected to the Internet.

You can reduce load on the network by closing your phone applications using the Internet on your phone when you don’t need them. If possible, switch off the modem at night.

Remember that tablets are hooked to the Internet all the time, even when the screen is turned off. On laptops, however, closing the lid usually switches off the Internet connection.”

5. Do devices consume electricity in the standby mode? Should I unplug them?

“Regulations concerning standby mode have changed in recent years, and new devices are so energy-efficient that they consume hardly any electricity in the standby mode.
But any older devices should be switched off altogether after use, for example by unplugging them.”

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6. Should I select an energy-efficient household appliance for an environmentally friendly home?

“Energy-efficiency is obviously an important aspect, but it’s more important to select something that suits its purpose. For example, a fridge or freezer should primarily be chosen on the basis how much food you keep in the house instead of buying one that is energy-efficient but too large.

A large device generally consumes more than a small one, whether it’s a refrigerating appliance, TV or washing machine.”

7. I want to reduce my carbon footprint – can I use a tumble dryer with a good conscience?

“Traditional, condensing tumble dryers consume a lot of electricity. That’s why you should hang your laundry out to dry, whenever possible.

There are also heat pump dryers on the market, with an energy consumption that is only about a third of that of traditional ones.

When it’s time to get a new tumble dryer, consider buying a somewhat more expensive heat pump dryer – it will repay itself in the form of lower electricity bills.”

8. The washing machine’s eco wash cycle is taking ages! How can it be ecological?

“Eco wash cycles are ecological, because the water is not so warm, requiring less energy to warm it.

The cycle is longer, because the machine focuses on mechanical washing, that is, soaking and rotating the clothes in the drum. The same applies to the eco wash option in dishwashers.”

9. Which is the more responsible choice: buying an energy-efficient device or using an older one that is still working fine?

“You shouldn’t consider buying a more energy-efficient household appliance until what you have has reached the end of its useful life or no longer meets your needs. You will consume natural resources to a much less extent when you try to avoid buying any new goods.”

10. How do I cook at home in an environmentally friendly way?

“Using the oven uses more electricity than any other method of cooking. When you heat the oven, you should prepare larger amounts of food, and something that takes long to cook – not just quickly warming up a frozen pizza. This way the heat will be used better.

If you can choose, use a hotplate or microwave oven instead. They consume less energy.

Actually, eating out is an ecological choice, because the more food is prepared, the smaller the energy consumption per portion.

Also remember to prevent food from being wasted! Preparing food that will never be eaten is a waste of energy.”

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