Every single room in the home can often use less energy, which equates to lower bills and lower greenhouse emissions.
There are even things that can be done outdoors to help lower energy use in the home. In this guide we cover the house one room at a time and see what changes could be made to save energy.
1Replacing old fashioned incandescent globes with energy efficient CFL or LED lighting options uses much less electricity to produce the same level of lighting.
2Use natural light wherever possible: One way to do this would be to install skylights in dark rooms to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
3Adequate insulation in walls and ceilings can make a huge impact on heating and cooling costs throughout the house.
4Sealing up any gaps around floors, doors, windows and unused chimneys can help stop draughts, preventing heat exchange with the outside air.
5Insulating windows using curtains or blinds, and installing pelmets to stop air circulating against the window can reduce heat transfer.
6Installing double glazing often further reduces heat transfer.
7Rugs can help to insulate bare floors, like concrete, and sealing gaps in floorboards can prevent draughts.
8Before switching on a heater, try putting on warmer clothes.
9Try setting your thermostats a few degrees lower or higher, depending on the season. According to switchon.vic.gov.au every degree above 20 in winter can add 10% to the heating bill.
10Stand-alone heaters can be set with timers, having their temperature set below maximum will help to save energy.
11Switchon.vic.gov recommend setting the air conditioner to 26 degrees or above in summer.
12On hot dry days when humidity is not a problem, evaporative air conditioners use much less electricity than refrigeration units.
13Closing off any rooms that are not being used can save energy.
14Shutting any central heating or air conditioning vents in unused rooms saves energy.
15Hot water services can be safely set as low as 60°C, which still delivers water hot to the touch, but also reduces the risk of burns. There’s also little need to dilute the hot water with cold to make it usable, saving water too.
16The refrigerator is often the biggest single user of electricity in most homes, so choosing an energy efficient model can save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of the fridge. The star rating is a good way to judge efficiency.
17Buying a fridge that suits your needs is a good way to only use the energy you need. A relatively big empty fridge wastes electricity, while a small fully stocked one uses less power over time.
18If going away for extended periods, emptying the fridge and freezer, then turning it off at the wall and unplugging, saves energy. It’s probably a good time to give it a clean too.
19Where possible, consider switching to gas cooking, which is more efficient and generally produces less carbon emissions than electric hotplates and ovens.
20Where electricity is the only option, consider using the microwave instead of the oven as much as possible, as they are far more efficient.
21In many cases, pre-heating ovens is un-necessary, and it may even be faster to put food in before the oven has reached maximum temperature. Also, consider turning the oven off for the last few minutes of cooking.
22Keeping the microwave clean and damage-free helps to keep it running at optimum efficiency.
23For frying foods, stand-alone electric frypans are more efficient at heating, and generally use less electricity than a stove hotplate.
24If using the stove top, try finding recipes that use only a single pot or pan, and use a stacking steamer whenever possible to save space and energy.
25Perhaps try cooking multiple servings of appropriate meals ahead of time- it uses less energy and can save you time later.
26Electric kettles are usually more efficient than heating water on the stove. Either way, it’s best to only boil as much water as you need each time to avoid wasting energy.
27Door seals on fridges, freezers and ovens that are clean and in good working order helps prevent air inside from mixing with outside air: This promotes maximum efficiency.
28Cleaning the coils on refrigerators regularly helps to ensure they exchange heat readily with the air and keep the fridge running efficiently.
29It’s a good idea to look for energy efficiency star rating on dishwashers when purchasing, and only run the dishwasher when full to save water and electricity.
30Keeping filters clean helps to avoid repeating dishwasher cycles, and using economy or environmental settings where they are available can also save energy.
31Washing machines and dryers also feature energy efficiency star ratings, so choose the best available according to your budget is often a good idea.
32Only running a load of washing when the machine is full, or buying a washing machine that has an adjustable water volume control can save water and electricity.
33Cold water washes combined with modern washing powder often give adequate cleaning for most household washing. Only use hot water for heavily soiled washing is a good compromise.
34Using the shortest wash cycle available for each load of washing can still get things clean. For example, sheets may need a less intense wash than dirty work clothes or sports gear.
35The wind is the most effective way to dry clothes, and it’s free. Sunlight also kills a number of bacteria and microbes that may otherwise survive the wash.
36Clothes airers on a balcony or inside a sunny window are both more energy efficient ways to dry clothes than using a clothes dryer.
37If using a clothes dryer, try not to set the timer for longer than necessary, check the clothes periodically and stop the dryer when they are dry.
38It’s a good idea to dry similar fabric types together, for example synthetic clothes take much less time to dry than towels or heavy cotton.
39Regularly cleaning the lint filter in the dryer helps to keep it running as efficiently as possible.
40Modern TVs are much more efficient by screen size than old fashioned CRT tubes. However, the energy consumption can vary hugely between systems, with LED lit screens drawing a fraction of electricity as similar sized plasma screens.
41It’s a good idea to choose a TV screen size suitable for the room, there is often little benefit of having a huge screen in a small room.
42Switch off the TV, stereo, games console and other entertainment appliances at the wall wherever possible to save electricity when they are not in use.
43Try calculating the appropriate capacity of heating and cooling based on the size of the room. An overpowered heater or air conditioner can waste energy and money, while an undersized one can work too hard and cost a lot more to run.
44Keeping an eye on the weather and reacting accordingly can save energy. On warmer nights consider switching off the heater, and on mild summer days leave the air con turned off.
45If not being used, turn off all computer equipment and peripherals like printers at the wall if possible to avoid wasting “standby” electricity.
46Most computers can be set to go into sleep mode after a set period, and combined with a Master/Slave powerboard can shut down other equipment at the same time automatically.
47Consider the necessity of home computer equipment; a laptop computer can use as little as a quarter of the electricity as a desktop model, though the same specifications in a laptop configuration may be initially more expensive.
48If a desktop computer is necessary, consider a smaller screen size – the larger the screen, the more electricity is used.
49Using a desk lamp can save electricity if a smaller wattage globe is used to light the immediate desk area rather than the whole room.
50Setting up a charging station for laptops, phones and tablets on a power board with separate switches can save energy. It will also help keep track of all the devices and chargers.
51Pale coloured walls, furnishings and bedclothes as well as mirrors can help maximise the reflected light in a room so lights need not be turned on during the day.
52Heaters can be set to a timer to warm the room at bed time and in the morning so they don’t need to be left on all the time.
53Electric blankets could only be used to warm the bed prior to getting in, rather than left on all night. Sheepskin underlays also work well to warm cold toes and don’t use electricity.
54Closing curtains when the sun goes down helps retain heat. Additionally, opening them when it rises helps to warm the room each morning.
55Bedside lamps can help save energy by using lower light alternatives and only give local light rather than lighting the whole room.
56Short showers use less hot water than filling a bath, which means less water for the hot water service to heat up again.
57Low flow shower heads can further reduce hot water use while still delivering a steady flow of water under pressure.
58Heat lamps in combination exhaust fan units can be a waste of energy if used at the same time.
59Getting separate switches wired for exhaust fan, heaters and lights can avoid using electricity that’s not required at the time.
60Filling the basin with hot water for shaving rather than leaving the tap running saves energy to heat wasted water. This is still more efficient than running the tap each time the razor needs rinsing.
61Dripping taps can waste hundreds of litres of water per year, but dripping hot taps can waste energy on heating water as well.
62If nobody will be home for more than a few days, it’s worth turning off the hot water service completely so it’s not heating water nobody will use.
63Hot water services should be installed as close as possible to the rooms that use hot water i.e. the kitchen, bathroom and laundry.
64Pipes leading from the hot water service to the house should be insulated if possible to minimise heat loss.
65Windows that receive a lot of summer sun, particularly west and north facing windows can be shaded using awnings or even deciduous trees or vines.
66Any extra refrigerators (such as in the garage) can waste energy if not really needed. Perhaps consider using a cooler with ice if you only need chilled items for a party of barbeque.
67Outdoor lighting can be solar powered, or if on mains powered they can be put on a timer, daylight sensor or motion sensor to reduce energy consumption.
68Exterior lights can be wired separately so that specific areas can be lit without lighting up unused areas outdoors.
69Spas and swimming pools can have a solar blanket, largely using solar energy to heat the water (with a gas or electric booster).
Saving energy around the home can make help reduce energy bills. If you’re already doing everything right, perhaps the next step to make savings is to ensure you’re with the right power provider; grab a recent bill and compare here.