Efficient use of natural gas

Although today we are thinking more and more about the use of various renewable energy sources, a large part of the population still uses natural gas on a daily basis. In the household sector, natural gas is mainly used for heating, cooking, and water heating.

Compared to other fossil fuels, natural gas emits less ash, soot, odours, CO2 and other elements. One kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy from natural gas releases about 0.2 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere, compared to around 0.4 kg of CO2 from wood.

Natural gas can be used in many different ways in households – from cooking to heating. For example, a natural gas stove is a popular choice in many households because it heats up quickly and provides a precise, constant flame as well as temperature control. Similarly, a natural gas heating system is easy to use because it warms up rooms quickly and can maintain even heat at lower temperatures.


Consumption of natural gas is influenced by:

  • climatic conditions;
  • geographical location of the place of residence;
  • efficiency of the heating system;
  • thermal insulation of the building;
  • number of family members;
  • consumption habits.

Consumption of natural gas in Latvia

In Latvian households, the largest share of natural gas consumption, accounting for 52% of total consumption, is used for heating. Natural gas is used to power heating systems to provide heat, such as stoves, boilers, radiators, fireplaces, etc. Approximately 29% of total natural gas consumption in Latvian households is used for cooking, while the remaining 19% – for water heating.


How to use natural gas efficiently?

It is important to use energy more efficiently to take care of both your wallet and the environment, Elektrum Energy Efficiency Centre experts have prepared a number of recommendations on how to use natural gas more efficiently in your everyday life.

For hot water preparation and use

A significant part of the total natural gas consumption in a household is used for hot water preparation, so it is particularly important to optimise this.

  • It is advisable to first adjust the temperature of the water in the heating system between 55 °C and 59 °C. Setting the temperature below 55 °C leads to the formation of micro-organisms harmful to human health and unwanted micro-organisms in the water supply system, while exceeding it unnecessarily increases energy consumption.
  • Water efficiency is also important – a special recommendation is to equip water taps with a water-saving nozzle or aerator that mixes water with air, thus reducing water consumption by up to 50%. At the same time, it should be remembered that there are taps that already have an aerator built in. How to check? Open the tap and look at the water flow. If it is clear, the tap probably does not have an aerator, but if the water is frothy or bubbly, an aerator is present.
  • It is no secret that washing dishes by hand takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of natural gas, water and time to produce the hot water needed for washing dishes, so we recommend that you consider buying a dishwasher if you do not already have one in your household.

A dishwasher uses low-temperature water, much less (6–12 l) than washing dishes by hand (50 l), and the dishes are steamed at the end of the cycle, reducing the energy needed to heat the water and increasing the time you can spend with yourself and your family.

  • While a relaxing bath is a great way to unwind from the stresses of everyday life, we encourage you to prefer showering, and bath less frequently. On average, a shower uses 25–50 litres of water per shower, while a bath uses at least 100 litres. It is also advisable to reduce the time spent in the shower as much as possible. This will save both water and the natural gas used to produce hot water.

For meal preparation

What could be better than a home-cooked meal?

Again, you can save a lot of energy and time by following simple steps.

  • For example, when you start cooking, turn the hob on to maximum heat. As the temperature rises to the required temperature, it is advisable to reduce the heating intensity. Cooking at high intensity does not reduce the cooking time but will consume energy unnecessarily.
  • When cooking, cover the pot or pan with a tight-fitting (preferably glass) lid so that the heat released during cooking is retained in the pan and does not evaporate into the room. It is also a good idea to turn off the stove just before the food is ready – the heat will be retained (by the lid) and the food will continue to cook for a while.
  • When cooking in the oven, however, it is important to bear in mind that gas ovens heat up faster than electric ovens. If the recipe specifies that the oven must be preheated, you can reduce the cooking time a little – saving both natural gas and a few minutes for things like a coffee break. Also, minimise opening the oven door. Every time it is opened, the oven temperature drops, and then extra energy is used to bring it back to the original temperature.

At the same time, it should be noted that, for example, the use of a gas stove results in direct emissions into the living space, which also replace oxygen in the area, so the experts at Elektrum Energy Efficiency Centre encourage you to consider switching from a gas stove to an electric one, especially in view of the fire hazard in the house, its low energy efficiency (30-40%) and other significant drawbacks, which you can read more about here.

Warmth in the house

To keep your house warm, you first need to make sure that the building is warm.

The heating of the house must be sufficiently efficient and heat loss must be prevented as much as possible. The greatest heat loss is through windows, attics and cellars, so it is advisable, especially before the start of the heating season, to check whether insulation work is needed or at least to seal external doors and windows to avoid consuming additional energy for heating.

  • Check the windows for cold airflow. If the windows are not triple-glazed, it is recommended to open the window and put a piece of paper between the frame and the bottom of the window. If it can be pulled out easily, it is just as easy for heat to flow out and cold to flow in. If the window frame is in good condition but the airflow is noticeable, apply self-adhesive sealing rubber to the edges of the frame, which will last for several years.
  • Check your external doors! If you can feel cold air coming in, we recommend applying a special self-adhesive brush-type sealant to the inside of the bottom of the external door. This will keep warm air in and cold air out.
  • It is also important to keep the house at the optimum temperature, so regulate the temperature if possible. Remember that every degree of excess temperature increases energy consumption by 5%, so for example, during the heating season, it will be more useful and healthier to put on an extra layer of clothing than to raise the room temperature too much and walk around in summer clothes. The preferred temperature when at home is between +20 °C and +22 °C during the day and 3 °C to 4 °C lower at night, and preferably between +16 °C and +18 °C when not at home.
  • The next thing to pay attention to is maintenance of the heating system. This should be done regularly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, as even a few millimetres of soot and a poorly adjusted gas burner can increase energy consumption by 5–10%. Heating system components such as pumps, filters and valves should also be checked. It is advisable to have your boiler serviced by a qualified boiler service technician.
  • If a gas boiler is more than 15 years old, it is likely that the appliance is no longer working as efficiently and is reaching the end of its service life. It is worth replacing it with a new, energy-efficient appliance, such as a condensing gas boiler. This will enable natural gas to be used more efficiently, as this type of boiler not only burns the fuel but also condenses the water vapour produced in the combustion process, thus generating more heat energy than traditional appliances such as a conventional gas boiler. In addition, a condensing gas boiler combined with a low-temperature heating system can reduce annual gas consumption as well as costs by up to 20%. Please take a look at Elektrum’s offer and book a consultation on efficient heating solutions for your house here.

Efektīva dabasgāzes lietošana.png

Have any additional questions? Ask here!