27 October 2019 | 22 min.

Tips on how to make sustainable savings in your home

Two tips on energy-conscious cooking

  • Frying is faster, healthier and more energy efficient in a wok. You can fry more economically in a wok than in a frying pan because it has a relatively large surface area. Frying goes faster and therefore requires far less energy. And, because of the shorter cooking time, you retain more vitamins and nutrients.

  • Replace pans that are too large with smaller ones. Don’t put too much water in them and use a lid! Use a pressure cooker for dishes that take a long time to cook. These tips will help you save energy, time and money.

Five tips on improving the ventilation in your home

You have probably already thought about opening a window and preventing your home from becoming damp but there are plenty of other ways to improve the ventilation in your home.

  • Ensure that there is adequate ventilation throughout the day and night. Well insulated houses, in particular, have to be ventilated regularly, otherwise damp and harmful substances, such as smoke and particulate matter, will ‘hang around’ inside. And that is bad for your health and your energy bill – after all, it takes a lot more energy to keep a damp house warm. 

  • Do you have a mechanical ventilation system in your home? Leave it on all the time.

  • Open one or more windows and leave them open for at least a quarter of an hour every day, or longer if you have had visitors. People lose 1 litre of water a day by perspiration. 

  • Dry the floor after mopping and put lids on your pans when cooking. Less water vapour in the kitchen and less condensation in your home is good for the environment and for your health.

  • Make sure that there is additional ventilation when you shower, cook or use a condenser tumble dryer. After showering, wipe away the moisture with a wiper or squeegee. Do you have a fireplace? When you light a fire, open a window somewhere to keep the air in your home fresh.

Six tips on smart ways to heat your home

If it is cold outside, you will put the central heating on, of course. But, besides setting your thermostat correctly, there are a couple of other things you can do to save money.

  • Lower your room thermostat by 5 degrees to 13 or 15 °C an hour before you go out or go to sleep. A well insulated home cools down gradually. By following this tip, you can reduce your energy consumption.

  • In the winter, don’t let warm air escape. Keep interior doors closed and close the curtains in the evenings to maintain the temperature in your home. During the day, however, open the curtains so that the sun can warm up the rooms. Stick reflective foil behind radiators on outer walls. 

  • Give your radiators the space they need to release their warmth. That means not placing settees or hanging long curtains in front of them. 

  • Fit thermostatic valves on all radiators. This will enable you to better regulate the temperature and will save you energy and money. If you go out, lower the thermostat to position 1. Do you have rooms that you hardly ever use? Turn the thermostats in these rooms off or right down

  • A clock thermostat will enable you to set the times that you will be home and the required temperature for each day. A clock thermostat like this is a one-off investment; you will soon recover the cost. 

  • By turning the room thermostat down by a degree during the day, you will save an average of 7% on the central heating energy consumption. If you get cold, put on a sweater before you raise the thermostat.

Five tips on saving water

By using less water you will reduce your water and gas bills. 

  • If you use a water-saving shower head, you can save around 15 litres of water every time you shower.

  • The average Dutch person showers for 8 minutes per day. By cutting down your shower by a minute you save both hot water and energy. Use an hourglass that runs out in 5 minutes as a ‘shower coach’.

  • Opt for a shower rather than a bath. A short shower uses 40 to 70 litres less water than a bath.

  • Don’t let the tap run unnecessarily while you clean your teeth, shave or wash. Make sure that leaky pipes and taps are repaired immediately. 

  • Save up your dirty dishes. Doing a lot of washing-up by hand in one go uses much less water than doing a few dishes three times. It is a good idea to fill your dishwasher before you run it, too. Don’t overload it though!

Electrical equipment

Measurement is the key to knowledge! An energy meter enables you to identify the appliances in your home that use the bulk of the energy; it is a device that shows the amount of electrical energy an appliance consumes. You place the energy meter between the appliance and the wall socket and press the start button to see the consumption of the appliance in question at that moment, its consumption in a specific period and the related costs.

  • Before you buy an electrical appliance, ask yourself whether you really need it. Appliances that use the most energy are electric boilers and geysers, water beds, hobs, air conditioners, fridge freezer combinations, tumble dryers and plasma TVs.

  • Pay attention to the energy labels and quality marks on an appliance because they indicate its energy consumption. The higher and greener the label, the more economical the appliance is. Only buy white goods (washing machine, fridge, etc.) with an A (or higher) energy label.

  • Switch your appliances off if you are not actually using them! A lot of electric and electronic appliances drain energy when not being used if left plugged in or on stand-by. The appliances that drain most energy are computers with peripheral equipment, TV/video and DVD players, audio equipment and coffee machines. These appliances do not need to be on stand-by; always switch them, or the wall socket, to the off position.

  • If it is awkward to reach the appliance in question to switch it off or pull the plug out of the wall socket, you can use a ‘plug-in socket plug’ with on/off switch or 'stand-by killer'. A stand-by killer is placed between the appliance (the TV, for example) and the wall socket; it ensures that the appliance is switched off when you are not using it

  • Don’t leave the plugs of appliances, such as chargers, electrical toothbrushes and vacuum cleaners, in wall sockets. There will always be a certain degree of drainage and the risk of damage is greater, for example, if there is a short circuit. 

Fridges and freezers

  • Don’t put your fridge or freezer on too cold a setting. Food and drinks are best kept at a fridge temperature of between 4 and 7 °C. A freezer does not have to be colder than -15 °C. Please note: The setting of the button in fridges is not the temperature. 

  • Open your fridge door only when necessary and as briefly as possible to minimise cold loss. Check that your fridge still closes properly. A poorly closing door ‘leaks’ energy. Moreover, keep your fridge clean and dust free, particularly the refrigerating elements (vent fins, condenser coils) at the back. Your fridge will work 25% better as a result. 

  • It is important to defrost your freezer regularly. This will keep it working efficiently and it will use less energy. Always defrost your freezer if there is more than 4 mm ice on the edges. 

  • If you want to save hot meals or leftovers, leave them to cool off outside the fridge first. Conversely, defrost frozen products in the fridge. The cold released will be utilised for refrigeration purposes and any bacteria in the food will have less of an opportunity to cause illness. 

Computer equipment

When buying equipment, take the possibilities for future expansion into account. This means that you will not have to buy a new system, which will save raw materials and energy.

  • Switch your computer off when you are not using it, even if it is only for a short while – your computer will not wear out any faster. In any case, switch the monitor off because this is the component that uses the most energy.

  • Buy an LCD display or, even better, an LED display; laptops are more economical than ordinary PCs (desktops).


Limit your use of batteries. ‘Ordinary’ electricity from the wall socket is better for the environment and cheaper into the bargain. It you really have to use batteries, buy rechargeable ones - and don’t forget to buy a charger along with them. Electricity from a rechargeable NiMH battery is almost 60 times cheaper than that from a one-off battery.

  • Only put lights on if necessary. Daylight and solar heat are free of charge. Switch off the lights if there is no one present, even if you only go out of the room for a short while. A ‘light off?’ sticker by the door might be helpful. 

  • The best energy efficient alternative to the incandescent light bulb is still the energy-saving bulb. Energy-saving bulbs use 4 times less energy than ordinary light bulbs and last 10 times longer. Modern energy-saving bulbs are affordable and have a high yield.

  • LED lights are even more economical than energy-saving bulbs and they last even longer. They are, however, still very expensive. LED bulbs are worth considering in places where lighting has to be on for long periods, such as outside. When buying a LED bulb, pay particular attention to the number of lumens and watts. Both are given on the packaging.

  • If you always dim a certain light in your home, consider replacing it with one of lower wattage. A 50% dimmed bulb (including dimmer) still uses about 75% of its undimmed consumption. 

Five tips on switching to another energy provider

Do you get repeated calls from energy providers asking you to switch to them because they really are the cheapest? Prices vary enormously so it can pay to switch. Price comparison sites on the internet can help if you are interested in doing so. But beware: the cheapest provider is not necessarily the best one for you. There are quite a few hidden pitfalls. The ConsuWijzer (Guide for the consumer) has 5 tips for price comparison site users.

  • Pay special attention to the most important contract terms: green or grey electricity, a fixed or variable price; a contract for a fixed or an indefinite period.

  • Check cost items, such as consumption, fixed duties and taxes.

  • Check the terms of your current contract; interim termination of an agreement can lead to big fines.

  • Never enter into an unclear or incomplete agreement.

  • Many energy providers change their tariffs around 1 July or 1 January. This can be a good time to compare them.

Three tips on washing and drying laundry

  • Modern clothes washing detergents wash normally soiled laundry perfectly well at 40 °C. This takes half as much energy as washing at 60 °C.

  • Fully load your washing machine with laundry before running it – and set it on a low temperature, too. You won’t have to wash as often and won’t use as much energy and water.

  • Tumble dryers are energy guzzlers. They use an average of 400 kWh of electricity. Only use your tumble dryer if you absolutely have to; it is much better to hang your laundry outside on the washing line. A gas-fired tumble dryer and a heat pump tumble dryer are more economical.