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    By Jess Saunders
    6 Sep 2018

    Our homes use more energy now than ever before, in fact around 37 percent more than they did in 1980. But this number would be a lot higher if it weren’t for advancements in technology that have provided many energy efficiency solutions. A lot of us enjoy the comforts of modern life but understand the need to save energy, for both the sake of the planet and the sake of our bank balance. We looked at four technologies being researched or produced over the past few years that are already helping, or going to help both the environment and our wallets.    

    LEDs

    They’ve been around for a while now but LEDs have come a long way. Today’s highest performing lights use up to 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and are considerably cooler when running. They also last longer, making them more cost effective in the long run.

    Magnetic refrigerators

    There’s currently research and development into a revolutionary new type of refrigerator that uses magnets to create cold temperatures. Up until now, refrigerators have relied on a process called vapour compression, using coolants which can be harmful to the environment. This new technology lowers or raises the temperature of material by changing the magnetic field. It also uses a water-based cooling fluid, making it better for the environment and more efficient too.

    Electrochromic smart glass

    This technology allows a material to change colour when an electric charge is applied to it. In the case of glass, it means a variable tint can be applied that controls the amount of heat and light that passes through it. This can be done manually via a smartphone app or be set to alter automatically, reducing air conditioning usage and costs. It may not be so relevant to our cloudy climate but the global impact can’t be ignored.

    Smart power strips

    Lots of electrical devices continue using power even when they’re turned off, but with a smart power strip that no longer happens. What they do is to completely cut off the power to devices when it’s sensed that they’re not in use, basically shutting down those products that go into standby mode. With experts suggesting that standby power consumption in an average home ranges from 5%-10% of the total, it’s a significant saving.

    There are many other innovative technologies out there that are providing ways to increase energy efficiency, from home energy monitoring and solar batteries to next-generation insulation and reflective roofing. As our demand for power increases, it’s vital that we develop ways to use it best – and it seems we have lots of amazing people doing just that!

    You can make a difference too, just by paying your energy bills. We harness our customers’ bills to build and maintain our fleet of wind and sunmills – so by switching to us, you’re directly contributing to renewable energy technology that’s helping to create a green Britain.

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