Many people know bits and bobs of information when it comes to energy efficiency – that we should turn off lights and power points when we’re not using them, for example, or that riding a bike is better for the environment than driving a car. It’s also arguably common knowledge that energy efficiency is good for the environment and for your bank account balance. However, the actual logistics behind the significance of energy efficiency are perhaps lesser understood.
In simple terms, the purpose of energy efficiency (along with renewable energy sources, such as solar energy and wind energy) is to allow us to meet our energy needs in the present, without compromising the availability of the earth’s natural resources for future generations. This prerogative is only growing increasingly important in the modern age, as humankind as a whole continues to place a huge strain upon these resources in the demand to make more energy. When you consider this ongoing process, also taking into account the additionally damaging effects of climate change and global greenhouse emissions, it’s not hard to understand why it’s so crucial for more and more people to adopt an energy efficient lifestyle.
It’s important to ensure that our actions in the present won’t negatively impact the wellbeing of future generations. If you’re ready to do your bit for the good of the many, check out these handy tips to help you adopt a more energy efficient lifestyle!
Energy Efficiency At Its Finest
- Switch to renewable energy. This way you’ll be paying for clean energy, fuelled by a combination of environmentally-friendly, renewable sources (such as wind, hydro, biomass and solar), as opposed to supporting traditional coal-burning power plants, which release more than 170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. GreenPower is an accredited Australian government program which helps you to switch to renewable energy.
- Install solar panels in your home. This will allow you to generate your own electricity, which will significantly reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Even better, the Federal and State governments currently offer special rebates on these systems (although this is subject to change, so it’s a good idea to check up on it from time to time). It’s a win-win situation!
Waste Not, Want Not
Sustainable waste means, quite simply, reduced waste. We dispose of so many different types of rubbish (including solid, liquid, hazardous and organic), and as this happens every day all over the world, it generates an enormous amount of waste that inevitably ends up polluting both land and water. However, by changing our habits and utilising the three ‘R’s, we can all chip in to help the environment.
- Reduce: Try to reduce the amount of waste you create by avoiding products that have excessive packaging, by purchasing refillable items (such as cleaning products), and bulk-buying products that have a long shelf life.
- Reuse: Purchase products that you can use over and over again. For example, it’s a good idea to invest in fabric shopping bags instead of plastic bags, and to carry around a durable drink bottle instead of buying countless plastic bottles of water.
- Recycle: Try to buy products made from recycled goods, and to avoid those items that are made of unrecyclable materials.
Fuel Your Home More Efficiently
There are many different ways to save energy around the home. It might not seem like switching off a power point is very useful, but remember that every little bit helps!
- Install low-energy lighting and globes, such as compact fluorescent lamps or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
- Switch off any appliances you are not using.
- Make sure that your washing machine and your dishwasher are full before running.
- When completing normal loads of washing (i.e those loads that don’t contain garments that are delicate or that require special attention), choose the shortest cycle in cold water. Also, be sure to hang your washing up to dry where possible instead of using the dryer.
- Ensure that the ceilings and walls of your home or apartment are properly insulated, and only use heating and air conditioning when absolutely necessary.
- Do your research when purchasing new appliances, and keep an eye out for star ratings. These tell you how comparatively energy efficient the appliance in question is and how much it costs to run.
- If you’re using significantly less energy than before, your energy bills should definitely reflect this. If this isn’t the case, consider comparing other providers that might better suit your needs.
A Better Way To Travel
Everyone knows that riding a bike is much better for the environment (and for your wallet!) then driving a car. However, for those who still want the convenience of owning a motor vehicle, you’ll be happy to know there are eco-friendly options available that can get you from A to B in a speedy manner.
- Fuel-efficient cars: You get the best of both worlds with this kind of vehicle, as it saves you money (almost $1000 a year in fuel costs) and cuts down on your greenhouse gas emissions (by approximately 1.5 tonnes per year).
- Hybrid cars: As the name suggests, hybrid cars use two different power sources to move – most commonly, a petrol engine and one or more electric motors. They also produce less greenhouse gas emissions and use less fuel than normal cars, and don’t need to be plugged in to recharge. The batteries do this all by themselves from the energy produced by the vehicle.
- Electric cars: Electric cars are a small but growing market, and it’s not hard to see why – they don’t produce any greenhouse gas emissions whatsoever, and have comparably low running costs. They use a battery-powered electric motor to move, although these batteries can take some time to recharge.
The Final Word: Pay It Forward
As more and more people learn about the importance of energy efficiency for present and future generations, hopefully they will begin to incorporate this knowledge into their lifestyle. It is only in this way that we will be able to effect real change in the natural world. Why not get started today?