• 2 min read

Pretty often we use energy at home without knowing how much of it we use - the Office of Public Works (OPW) shares advice here on displaying your electricity use and calculating electricity costs.

Have you ever wondered just how much that old freezer or tumble dryer is costing you to run? If so, we want to show you how to ‘make visible’ the electricity used by appliances. 

We use electricity everywhere in the home but it is all too easy to not really notice it. We just flick a switch and expect the lights to come on or press a button and the clothes get washed. Making the electricity you use visible can be a very powerful tool to help you to Reduce Your Use.

There are a couple of devices that can help you measure and visually display the electricity you are using, either for one appliance or for the whole household.

Energy Monitors

These will accurately measure and display a household’s electricity usage (and sometimes gas) in real-time. Have a look at this great article on Energy Monitors by the Centre for Sustainable Energy for all you need to know about these useful devices.

Plug-in Power Usage Meters

Plug-in power usage meters can measure and track the electricity consumption of individual appliances. This YouTube video on using a Plug-in Power meter, created by Codema, may also be useful.

These devices can help you understand how to reduce your energy consumption and cut your bills by changing your habits or identifying energy-hungry appliances to use sparingly. They can also help identify old inefficient appliances, using much more energy than they should and target them for replacement.

Energy Saving Kit

Check out an Energy Saving Kit, containing a plug-in power meter, from your local library. They are now available to borrow from over 160 libraries across Ireland. There are lots of other useful tools in the kit to help you save energy.

Cost of Running an Appliance

Cost = Power in kW x Run Time in Hours x Cost per Unit

For many appliances and devices, you can also make a quick calculation to find out what they are costing you to run. All you need to know is what the power rating of the appliance is in kW, how long it will be on and what you pay for each unit (kWh) of electricity you use.

Have a look at our Energy Use Calculator (spreadsheet) which sets it all out for you. Alternatively, have a look at the Sust-it website for a useful online calculator and examples of lots of appliances.

OPW | Office of Public Works - Irish Government Agency

Created by the OPW for the Optimising Power @ Work programme