About a third of VAV’s annual expenditure comes from energy costs, in other words heating and water. In 2009 heating accounted for 20% of total costs and water 11%. These costs are directly passed on in the rent, so the more energy we save, the more we save on rent costs.
As well as heating and water, each household also receives its own electricity bill, for the use of the various items of electrical equipment in the home. The same rule applies here: the less you consume, the more you save, not only in your wallet but also in terms of creating greenhouse gases that affect the whole planet.
VAV Asunnot Oy has used trend reports to monitor annual heating, water and electricity consumption in 213 properties since 2001. During this period, heating consumption has remained roughly the same, but water consumption has grown. Electricity consumption, on the other hand has fallen.
According to statistics, one VAV tenant consumes 155 litres of water a day, in other words the same as 155 milk cartons. Water costs more when it is hot. Sensible usage habits will help to significantly reduce water bills.
The greatest waste of water is from leaking taps and toilets. If, for example, a stream of water as wide as a match stick is constantly flowing into the toilet, this produces 3000 cubic metres of extra unnecessary water a year and costs 7500 Euros. These leaks should be repaired immediately via your own maintenance company. It costs nothing more than the trouble of reporting it.
An old trick is to fill a half litre bottle with water and put it inside the toilet tank. That way you will save half a litre of clean water every time you flush. This is a saving of litres every day, and even more over weeks and years.
Unnecessary baths and excessive showering should also be avoided as they use a lot of hot water. For comparison: 1 kWh is used up in two and a half minutes in the shower, the same amount of energy that a fridge uses in two days.
In the kitchen a dishwasher is a good way of saving water. In a two-person household, rinsing plates in running water uses six times more water compared with a dishwasher.
The same goes for laundry. Only wash a full load and use special energy-saving and half-load programmes. Wash at 40 °C or lower if the washing instructions for your garments permit. New dishwashers and washing machines only consume half the amount of water compared with machines that are 15 years old.
A well functioning heating system maintains a comfortable and healthy temperature indoors irrespective of the weather outside. Heating also significantly affects energy consumption and living costs. The choices you make and your habits in the heating of your home can reduce costs and greenhouse emissions.
The first thing that is worth checking is the thermostat in your room. This should be installed on an internal wall in a living zone. The correct temperature is 20–22 °C.
Heating equipment should be checked and cleaned regularly. The most important thing is to check that the radiators are evenly heated. If the bottom of the radiator is warm and the top part cold, the radiator needs bleeding. You can hear the excess air inside the radiator. Clean and maintain heating equipment regularly, this makes heating more efficient.
Do not cover radiator thermostats, e.g. with furniture or curtains. If the thermostat is covered, it will not be able to detect the actual room temperature and adjust the heating accordingly.
The right amount of ventilation is important. It is sometimes good to get fresh air indoors but your home should be aired quickly using cross-draughts. Do not let the warm air out by leaving windows ajar all day. Similarly it is a good idea to seal windows and balcony doors. This reduces draughts and saves the structure of windows and doors.
Some of VAV’s properties have their own sauna. Electric saunas are by far the largest piece of electrical equipment in the home. Heat the sauna once for the whole family and have your sauna as soon as it is ready. The most energy-efficient sauna temperature is 70—80 °C. Heating the sauna to 100 °C will increase electricity consumption by 20—30%.