If you consider yourself a keen environmentalist, then you might already be doing everything to reduce your carbon footprint and conserve energy around the home. Although, sometimes it’s easy to forget there is more to reducing energy consumption than just turning off light switches. Sometimes we focus more on reducing our energy consumption and forget that we also should conserve our energy usage by making our homes more efficient. It’s about putting the energy we have to the best possible use.
We are not only thinking with our planet in mind, but our hip pockets too. Rising energy costs are forcing everyone to reduce their consumption, with even the smallest reduction translating into a much smaller electricity bill. Let’s take some time to go through the best ways you can make your home more energy efficient, from the kitchen to the bathroom.
Insulation and heating
Insulation is the most energy efficient way to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer so make sure you have enough insulation around your home and it’s correctly installed. Modern air conditioning and heating systems are incredibly efficient and a natural gas system is best for the environment because it’s a ‘clean burning’ fuel that yields just water and carbon dioxide, the same gases we breathe out.
Actively managing the airflow in your home can help cycle air through your home and prevent pockets of air stagnating in rarely used areas. This can make the heating of your home difficult, especially if you have interactions between warm and cold air pushing heat out of your house.
Roofs can act as major heat wells during summer, so make sure they are properly ventilated and there isn’t a massive warm air pocket above your home while you’re trying to cool things down. It will place greater demand on your air conditioning system and will consume more power as a result.
Using air conditioners wisely
When you get home from work and your house is sweltering, your first instinct finds you cranking the thermostat way down. According to IPART, for each degree lower than 23 degrees, your AC system’s energy consumption increases by 10%. A humble fan will help cycle the warm air from your home, so it can be replaced by cooler air. It’s a simple and effective way that helps your air conditioner do its job.
Time to air our dirty laundry
Washing machines and dishwashers are some of the most energy sapping devices around the home. Learning how to use the timers on dishwashers and washing machines can be a pretty valuable source of cost reduction if we use them during off- peak periods. During on-peak times, it becomes more expensive to provide power to lots of people at the same time, so if you use energy in off peak times, your power company can provide power at a cheaper rate, so they pass the savings onto you.
So much energy goes into producing plastic packaging and when we throw it away, it goes into landfill and doesn’t go back into other plastic products. This means we produce more plastic and consume more fossil fuels to replace what’s lost when we don’t recycle. According to recycling industry body SITA, the average plastic bottle can take 500 years to break down in landfill. If you recycled that same bottle, it would save enough energy to power your computer for 25 minutes, and with over 87,000 tonnes of plastic packaging going into landfill, it’s easy to see how much energy gets wasted by improper recycling. This could turn into a big problem for future generations, so keep your grand kids in mind when you recycle.
Installing Solar panels
While the Federal Solar Panels Rebate scheme was rolled back six months earlier than planned this January, state and local government still offer rebates on solar panels installation depending on your state or territory. Your solar panel provider can fill you in on the specifics, but solar panels can dramatically reduce your energy consumption and power bills. According to Energy Matters, If you are connected to the state power grid, energy providers are obliged to buy back the energy your export to the grid at a price equal to or greater than market rates, so that’s real cash taken off your power bill.
Shop around on energy providers’ rates.
There’s nothing wrong with shopping around for a good deal! Checking how much you are actually paying and how it’s calculated are smart ways you can cut down. Smart meters check your energy consumption and provide you with usage data, so you can adjust your behaviours and energy consumptions to use electricity at times when it’s much cheaper. Checking your providers’ rates and comparing them is an excellent way you can match your provider with your usage levels.