Using electricity and gas efficiently is not just good for the environment - it can also help you save money on your bills. Simple actions such as switching off the TV at the wall rather than leaving it on standby can help make a difference. There are lots of other ways you can reduce the amount of energy your household uses.
How can I make my home more energy efficient?
Household appliances can account for up to a third of your home energy use. Using appliances incorrectly or inefficiently may cancel out the savings from purchasing energy efficient products. There are a range of actions you can take at little or no cost to reduce energy consumption in your home or business.
- Install efficient lighting.
- Turn lights off when not needed.
- Switch off appliances at the wall.
- Buy appliances with the best energy efficiency rating that you can afford.
- In summer keep air cool by closing windows, doors and curtains.
- Use fans rather than air conditioners or set your air conditioner between 23°C and 26°C
- In winter reduce draughts by closing windows, doors and curtains.
- Set your central heating to between 18°C and 21°C
- Turn heating and air-conditioning off at night.
- Provide space for air to circulate around the fridge and ensure door seals are intact.
- Use an electric frypan, pressure cooker or microwave rather than the oven.
- Cover pots and pans to reduce cooking time.
- Only run the dishwasher when full.
- Ensure oven and fridge seals are not broken.
Bathroom and Laundry
- Use your washing machine only when you have a full load and use cold water where possible.
- Avoid using the clothes dryer, instead hang clothes.
- Lower the water heater thermostat to between 60°C and 65°C.
- Select a low-flow shower head with a flow rate of less than nine litres per minute.
- During the design phase, consider reducing the size and volume of your pool.
- Only heat your pool when necessary and use a pool cover to retain heat and install an efficient filtration pump.
- Use solar heating for the water.
- Install the minimal amount of lighting.
What to keep in mind when building
- Insulate ceilings and walls to retain warm air in winter and cool air in summer.
- Install ceiling fans.
- Install solar panels and a solar hot water system.
- If you have a gas connection, install a gas oven or cooktop.
Grants and rebates may be available to you for energy saving equipment that you install in your home. Visit the Australian Government’s Living Greener website (www.livinggreenergy.gov.au) for details about grants and rebates available in your state or territory.
What to keep in mind when buying new appliances
New appliances, especially for heating and cooling your home, can be expensive. It is therefore important to take some time to choose the right appliance for your needs. Often appliances with a higher energy efficiency rating will cost more to purchase than those with lower efficiency ratings, but over their lifetime a more efficient appliance could end up costing you less overall to run.
For further information about choosing energy efficient appliances, see the Australian Government’s Energy Rating website (www.energyrating.gov.au).
Don't let your next home improvement project end in disaster! Even hand tools can cause significant damage and service disruption. You might even find yourself liable for the cost of equipment repairs or worse.
# Source AER Website 2012