Fact or fiction: does turning off the lights alone save money on energy bills?

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Can you count the number of times you’ve told your children, or your own parents told you growing up, to turn off the lights around the house?

It has likely been drilled into many of us to turn off the lights when you leave a room, to save money on energy bills. For almost 9 in 10 of us, this is the very first practice implemented to decrease energy consumption*. Over the past 12 months, as the subject of energy conservation and the cost-of-living crisis has increased, this age-old saying has been frequently mentioned in guidance about energy-saving around the home.

However, the question is – is this enough? How can turning the lights off really help you to save a healthy amount on your energy bills?

Can you really measure the energy saved when you switch off lights?

Don’t be mistaken, turning off the lights in your home in unoccupied rooms will help conserve some energy and is good practice.

However, it is difficult to calculate exactly just how much money can be saved by doing this. Any potential savings will depend on your overall consumption levels, the size of your home, the types of light bulbs you use, how often they are left on and what your electricity rates are.

But, as many of us have now already switched to using LED bulbs, which are incredibly energy-efficient, the cost-savings incurred by turning them off are minimal, therefore will not result in a dramatically reduced monthly energy bill.

If you really want to make a difference in your home and reduce your energy usage, it is better to focus on practices on a larger scale where you can achieve more significant savings.

Tips to help save money on electric bills

While turning the lights off in empty rooms is still advisable, improving efficiency throughout your home and combining these together can make more noteworthy gas and electricity savings.

1. Take back control on the biggest energy load

According to Eurostat, a recent report found that in EU homes, space heating is responsible for the largest amount of household energy consumption at 64.4%, whilst lighting and other electrical devices only account for 13.6%.

Given this, even if you can improve the efficiency of your heating by only 10%, it will have a more significant impact than improving the efficiency of your lighting and should therefore be prioritised by those really looking to make a difference.

There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved. One of the more popular options right now is to invest in smart controls, such as Wiser, which can help you to manage your heating by automation. As well as open window detection, which will automatically switch off your heating should you open the window to get some fresh air flowing throughout the home,

Wiser also features smart technology that can learn just how long it takes to heat up your home, turning on your heating so it starts just enough before to get the living room warmed at 6:30pm as you asked it to be. And with multi-zone heating capabilities, you can heat only the rooms being used rather than the whole house.

With all automation in place, such an intelligent temperature control system can make you save up to 30% of your energy. What does it represent? In the United Kingdom, Wiser would represent approximatively £575 on your annual bill as a study has shown.
In a recent survey we conducted, only 20% of households across Europe, US and Australia are equipped with smart thermostats.

This gives you a fuss-free way to manage your heating schedule using just one system that can learn about your property and make key decisions to reduce energy use.

2. Check your schedules

Consuming energy at the right time is key to reducing your energy bills; put simply, when energy is in high demand across the country it’s going to be more expensive to use. With a system such as Wiser, which can automatically shift the consumption for larger loads such as EV to cheaper off-peak times of the day, there are easy savings that can be made.

3. Understand your energy use

When it comes to planning energy use, it is important to get a good idea of what is being used and when. Visualising your usage through tools such as Wiser’s Insights has been proven to reduce consumption because it enables you to identify problem areas, such as faulty machines, or appliances that aren’t as energy-efficient as they could be.

4. Stop wasting energy while you are away

Wiser features smart modes, such as Away Mode, that enables you to turn off with one touch of a button everything which consume energy at home: heating, lights and electrical devices. So you don’t even have to chase your children any longer for turning off the lights while leaving their bedroom.

So, while turning off the lights might not be enough to save on energy bills alone, it can certainly help to cement the kind of behaviours we need to adopt if we want to see a reduction in household bills. Things like using cooler water for washes, switching from baths to showers, introducing smart controls for heating and continuing to turn off the lights will all compound to ensure savings and make for a more energy-efficient household.


For more information on managing your home’s energy efficiency, take a look here: https://www.se.com/ww/en/home/inspirations/save.jsp

*Survey performed by Opinium for Schneider Electric in August 2023 towards 9,000 in 7 countries: US, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

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