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Creative Ways to Save Energy

By Tori Sanderson, Oxfam GROW Team Intern

This month’s GROW challenge on saving energy in the home has been one of the most popular GROW topics so far. It seems that most people are conscious of their energy consumption, and that everyone has different ways to manage it! Here are some of our favourite suggestions.

When cooking

One of the most popular suggestions was cooking in bulk. One of our GROW Challengers, Olivia and her mum even take turns making food for both their families, so that only one kitchen is puffing away instead of two. Cooking a few meals at a time and refrigerating or freezing the leftovers was also a popular suggestion. Similarly, making sure you bake a few items at once prevents having to heat the oven multiple times.

The bulk rule doesn’t just apply to meals – Rebecca makes a big thermos of coffee or tea in the morning that she keeps with her. This means she can have hot cuppas all day long, without reboiling the kettle.

Reducing the amount of meat we consume was another common idea, as meat production contributes a great deal to greenhouse gas emissions. Eating food that is locally grown or made can also reduce your carbon footprint.

In winter

As we’re now pretty much in the depths of winter, many GROW Challengers had some suggestions for efficient heating, including, for the more hardcore, just putting more clothes on! More long-term solutions include roof and wall insulation and tinted windows, to make your house more efficient to heat.

And at risk of sounding like your mother, heating one room at a time not only saves energy, but means that you get warmer, quicker!

 Image Alt Ghost energy

No, we’re not talking about paranormal activity. Jaida pointed out that many electronic devices in our homes consume energy even when we’re not using them.

Whether it’s the clock on your microwave or even just leaving your phone charger plugged in all the time, you can save a surprisingly large amount of energy by turning these appliances off at the power point.

Want more ideas?

These suggestions are all great ways to make sure you’re doing your bit to reduce the climate impact of your home. If you’d like to measure just how much you’re making a difference, check out this awesome tool from 1 Million Women.

They also have over 50 great suggestions for how to reduce energy consumption in your home, while you cook, while you shop and when you’re getting from A to B.

And the winner is…

During the month we received heaps of interesting and inspiring suggestions of ways to reduce energy use in the home. It was a big task to choose just one!

But ultimately we decided that Erika Aliyev deserves the prize, for her commitment to reducing energy consumption. Not only does Erika use solar heating, have a water tank and grow her own veggies, she also uses compostable nappies! This is a great way to reduce energy consumption as regular nappies are made from petroleum products that take a good deal of energy to produce.

Erika says of compostable nappies, “The move to compostable nappies has reduced my waste even further, but best of all, my son prefers them. They come with a colourful belt that he loves and he says they feel better – so it’s a win-win.”

Erika wins a prize pack including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw and some other Oxfam and fair trade goodies. Go Erika!

Take the GROW Challenge today!

Image credits

GROW event by Michael Myers for Oxfam Australia
Power Management, Cable Management by Sam Figueroa


About the author…

With first class honours in Chinese Studies and currently studying a Masters of Development Studies, Tori is passionate about international development, sustainable food and China. She loves to run, drink coffee, and read dystopic fiction. Check out her blog or catch her on twitter:@toristreet