Tricks to reduce your emissions at home

Ok, I already know that I am responsible for emitting greenhouse gases at home, now what?

It is time to start taking steps that added together and accumulated over time have a relevant impact. Let´s start:

  1. Put the dishwasher on when it is full.

Yes, you can wait a little longer and you can fit the dishes more intelligently. Imagine that you manage to put it on 3 times a week instead of 4. According to IDAE data, the dishwasher accounts for 3.3% of residential electricity consumption. With this gesture you could reduce your electricity consumption by 1%, and therefore CO2 emissions.

  1. Use a microwave instead of an oven to heat or cook your food.

The microwave concentrates the heat input on the elements that are inside it, not on its walls. It is because it works with electromagnetic radiation, not by heating the air inside it, like a usual convection oven. Therefore, this appliance is much more efficient than the oven, which in the average home accounts for 4.5% of electricity consumption.

  1. Use cold laundry.

In most cases the cleaning of our garments does not require a hot water program (there are others in which due to the type of dirt or hygiene if it is necessary that the water is hot). If you are in that situation where you do not need to raise the water temperature, use a cold washing program, since heating the water accounts for about 80% of electricity consumption. In addition, the washing machine accounts for 6.6% of the electricity consumption in an average home, so in this way you can reduce electricity consumption by 5%.

Beyond the washing temperatures, household appliances usually have operating cycles specially designed to achieve good results while achieving energy savings. Take a look at the ECO mode in washing machines, dishwashers and others that you have at home.

  1. Cook efficiently

You can take advantage of the thermal inertia so that, once the container is hot, the meals are finished cooking. If you know that your stew is almost ready, you can turn off the heat or plate, and let the accumulated heat continue to be added to the food.

You can combine this with using lids on pots, casseroles and pans. Do the experiment: cook with a lid something that you usually cook without a lid; you will see that the level to which you put the fire is lower. Whether you use gas or electricity for cooking, you will be reducing your emissions, and the kitchen accounts for more than 7% of the total energy consumption of an average home.

  1. Do not leave appliances plugged in or on stand-by.

Do you know that according to the IDAE the stanby accounts for 6.6% of the electricity consumption of a home? At home we have many devices that are in that mode; the reality is that if you are not using them, they do not need to be plugged in. It’s the TV, the computer…or something as small as the mobile charger.  Even if it doesn’t seem like it, they still consume energy!

  1. A simple gesture when showering.

Domestic hot water (or DHW, as experts say) accounts for about 20% of the energy consumption of an average household. We are not going to ask you to take a cold shower (uff, pain!), although we will not criticize you for it either.

Turn off the hot water when soaping up in the shower. You will save energy used to heat it, whatever its origin, and you will also be able to reduce your water consumption by 30%, the same 30% that you will reduce your emissions associated with DHW (yes, now you are an expertx).

  1. Your refrigerator can work in a whole range of temperatures.

Refrigerators and freezers account for 20% of the electricity consumption of an average household. It seems that there is nothing we can do to reduce their consumption, but this is not the case. On the one hand, you should always avoid keeping them open (obviously), and do not introduce things into them that you will need to heat up a while later, or that are still hot because you have just cooked them.

And on the other, you can optimize the temperature at which they operate. A refrigerator can usually operate between 2ºC and 8ºC, and it does not need to be in the lower part of this range to preserve food well. A freezer can be between -16ºC and -24ºC, although it will keep food perfectly at -18ºC.


(+1) We didn’t forget, the lights! In the photo in this post you can see the old trick to not forget to turn off the light when we leave a room. Lighting accounts for 12% of the electricity consumption of an average home.