Are energy costs at the top of your agenda?
Using less energy in and around the home isn’t just good for your wallet – it’s great for the environment too. Here are some tips to help you get started.
HEATING AND COOLING TIPS
It’s estimated the average Australian home uses 40% of its energy on heating and cooling.
- Unless the mercury hits 30˚C, try and use fans to cool your home instead of the air conditioner.
- Use inverter type air-conditioners that are sized, installed and used in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations – they’ll use up to 40% less energy than other air-conditioners. Find out more about Energy Rating products.
- Close your curtains and shut your windows on sunny days to keep the sunlight from heating your home.
- Install special purpose-built window and door seals to stop the cold / hot air from escaping outside.
- Have your gas-ducted heating system zoned, to heat the living areas during the day and bedrooms at night and always close the doors to rooms you’re not using so the heat stays in.
- Hot air rises – so turn your fan on a lower speed to gently push the warm air back towards you.
HOT WATER ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Hot water uses around 25% of your home’s energy – and is the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the average Australian home.
- Stick to short, four-minute showers. You’ll save water, energy and money.
- Ditch the heated towel rails – they can cost up to $200 a year in energy.
- Switch from a standard showerhead to a 3-star rated head. You could reduce your hot water by half.
- Leave your mixer tap in the cold position, so hot water isn’t wasted cooling in the pipe.
APPLIANCES AROUND THE HOME
- If you have a second fridge, only turn it on when it’s needed – that 400L ‘beer’ fridge can cost you around $220 a year
- Set your fridge’s temperature between 3°C and 5°C, and the freezer to somewhere between -15°C and -18°C. Every degree lower after that uses around 5% more energy.
- Choose a 4-star model when you’re shopping for a new fridge. It’ll cost you $60 less each year than the average 450-litre fridge with a 2-star rating.
- Check if your fridge door is sealed properly by placing a strip of paper between the door and the fridge. If the paper can be pulled out easily, it might be time for a reseal.
- When cooking, set your oven to fan forced – it cooks quicker and more evenly than conventional settings.
- Consider upgrading to a new dishwasher of your current one was manufactured in the early 90s – chances are its using twice as much water and 40% more energy.
- An in-ground pool can use as much as 30% of your home’s electricity bill. Check to see if yours can be connected to an off peak meter tariff – so you can make some great savings.
- Use standby power controllers or turn off small appliances like your kettle or toaster when you’re not using them. They mightn’t be big, but they can use 5% of the average home’s energy.
- Always check the energy-rating label when it’s time to buy a new appliance. The more stars it has, the more energy efficient it is.
- If it’s time to choose your next appliance, check out CHOICE magazine. They publish advice on a range of tested appliances for energy and water efficiency – and cover everything from price and safety, to performance and warranty.
From the washing machine to the iron, cleaning clothes uses a lot of energy and water. Here’s how to cut back.
- Dry your clothes on a line rather than using your dryer – you can save around $130 a year.
- When it’s time to buy a new washing machine look for one with:
- A fast spin cycle – Some of the best machines have spin speeds over 1600 rpm
- An autosensing control that switches off when your clothes are dry
- At least a 4-star energy rating and 4-star water rating
- Or choose a front loader, you’ll use even less water and energy
- Try and do your ironing in large batches – that way you won’t waste energy heating and reheating your iron every time.
- Install motion sensors on your security lights – so you don’t have to remember to turn them off at night.
- Switch to LEDs or compact fluorescent light bulbs – you could save up to 80% energy per globe.
- Use solar lights to light up your garden pathways – they store energy during the day and then light up automatically at night.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR ENERGY USAGE
How much energy does a fridge use? In these energy fact sheets you’ll find the estimated average running costs for the most common household appliances.