An epic battle | The Kettle vs the Hot tap contest #kettleVShotTap @dmuleicester

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At the beginning of the week Ian Murdey  asked @SustainableDMU if when preparing tea and coffee it was more efficient [from a financial and  environmental point of view] to use the kettle or to use a constant hot water tap [from now on abbreviated as hot tap].

The following day, after a quick consultation with some experts in IESD, I shared the answer I was given. That is that the result depend on many factors:

  • Demand first of all. That is the number of cups of hot water prepared during the day. The kettle is more efficient when only few cups a day are prepared (less than 20), the hot tap is more efficient when many cups are prepared, as it is likely in an office.
  • Secondly, a water boiler is more efficient is that it uses gas to heat up the water,and in England gas is cheaper than electricity.
  • Behaviour. The efficiency of the kettle also depend on the use we make of it. Do we boil only the amount of water we need, or do we boil a lot of water and then don’t use it?
  • Speaking of the hot tap, a positive side could also be that people won’t have to wait for their water to be hot, and this can be a strong motivation in an office.

[You can see the complete conversation here if you are interested.]

Following the discussion another colleague at DMU Owen Williams proposed to run an experiment or, as I prefer to think, a contest between the two appliances. Using one week the kettle and the following week the hot tap, while recording the energy consumption; the result will provide insights onto the efficiency of the two systems.

Therefore I went around my department [IESD] and looked for the help of some engineers there! I found some of them that were happy of helping me so we launched a little LivingLab experiment! Next week we will be using only the hot tap for our tea and coffee, while the following week we will only use the kettle.

Everyone is very excited about the results!! [and yes…it probably depends on the high level of nerdiness….but aren’t we fun?] So stay tuned to see the proceedings!! You can check the #kettleVShotTap hashtag on twitter.


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