Towards a zero carbon home – how much can you save while sleeping?

Reduce your home's passive consumption of energy

By Guste Aug 08, 2021

Towards a zero carbon home – reducing the base load

You wake up to your alarm clock in the morning, brush your teeth, unplug your phone, and begin your day. But have you ever thought about all that silent consumption of electricity going on while you’re asleep? Many of us assume that because all the lights and appliances are switched off, they aren’t consuming electricity, but this assumption is far from the truth.

Homes in the UK use energy passively all the time, without the bill payer even noticing that the energy is being consumed. Very few of us turn our appliances off overnight, and even those who do can’t turn off everything, or else they would end up with a dead phone and gone off milk. Freezers are left on 24/7, even when we go on holiday, and our chargers and plug sockets are never switched off.

This passive consumption of energy by a home is called the base load. The base load is the amount of energy the house consumes, while it sits in a resting state. This encompasses all appliances that are constantly on, even when the owner of the house isn’t there. According to a government study of 250 households, for the average household, base load accounts for around 5% of their electricity bill.

Base load is an important figure for us all to be aware of because the house will never fall below it unless there is a power cut, accumulating a cost to the homeowner every second of the day.

Here are a few ways to reduce your base load overnight and save while sleeping:

  1. Turn off your devices at the plug. We know it sounds simple, but lots of us don’t do it. ‘Mobile phone chargers, laptop docking stations and some desktop printers use energy regardless of whether they are charging or not because the voltage transformers on the plug consume energy. This is known as ‘electrical leakage.’  OWL sockets make life a lot easier and allow you to turn individual sockets off using a remote control, so you don’t have so many devices on standby overnight.
  2. Buy energy-efficient technology. There are plenty of gadgets out there that can help to reduce your base load and a lot of newer technologies have fantastic energy ratings already included as standard. For instance, new LED TVs, low energy light bulbs, combi fridge-freezers and any other A++ rated appliance. All these appliances aim to reduce the amount of energy a home needs to consume from the grid.
  3. The most effective way to reduce the base load of a home is to get rid of it by installing Solar PV and battery storage. The Solar PV will generate electricity throughout the day to cover your base load and consumption, and any excess electricity will be stored in the battery. Once the battery is charged and the sun goes down, it will discharge covering the base load of your home overnight allowing you to sleep easier knowing your energy consumption from the grid has been reduced.

Finally, even the most energy-conscious person can’t avoid certain appliances. However, replacing old devices with more efficient technology can help you reduce your energy bill dramatically and consistently for years to come. You can find more money-saving tips on our blog post. Additionally, let’s just remember to switch things off. There are plenty of gadgets out there that will automatically turn your devices off at the plug for you, they are very simple to set up and not very expensive.