5 Ways To Be More Sustainable Right Now

I speak to people all the time who are shocked by how much effort I put into being more sustainable. I tell my mum about how I rinse my bottles and use the correct bins and she looks exhausted just hearing about it. Once upon a time it seemed simple; recycle and take shorter showers. But the truth is, it was never that easy, we were just ignorant to the damage we were doing to the planet. Here are 5 ways to be more sustainable without having to skip on the shower time.

Eat less meat

It is a shock to most people that eating meat has a negative impact on the environment but unfortunately, it’s the hard truth. The best thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to become a vegan. Now, I’m not suggesting you do that, just simply cut back. Especially on your red meat consumption. Methane gas is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and it is emitted when cows pass gas. You can reduce your carbon footprint by 25% just by cutting down on red meats such as lamb and beef.

Drive less

If you live in a large city, then you probably already catch public transport to work every day because it’s the best option. However, if you’re in a more regional area where public transport only comes once an hour or stops running at 4:00PM, then you’re probably less inclined. That doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to hang up the keys. If you carpool with friends and family when heading out, you can be more sustainable and enjoy a few drinks. If you have colleagues that live in the same neighbourhood, take turns carpooling. If something is in walking distance, make the conscious effort not to drive.

Reduce your waste

Take a look around your house and look for changes you could make to reduce your contribution to landfill:

  • Stop wasting food. Buy as you go or meal prep to avoid throwing food away
  • Create a compost for your fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Avoid buying things in unnecessary packaging
  • Make more food from scratch – you’ll buy less plastic and everything will taste better (hopefully)
  • Say no to plastic straws. We all know paper straws are disgusting so if you’re a ‘vodka soda’ kinda gal or guy, purchase a reusable straw and carry it around
  • Buy reusable produce bags – I got mine on Ebay for $7

Recycle

We’re told time and time again but how many of us actually do it? I’m not just talking about throwing your water bottle in the recycling bin when you’re at the beach. Buy two bins for inside your house to it’s easy to separate your rubbish. Do your research on what can and can’t be recycled. If office life has taught me anything it’s that most people don’t know what goes in what bin. Make sure that you clean out all containers before putting them in the recycling bin as contaminated rubbish will just go to landfill and your efforts will be wasted. Visit Planet Ark for details about recycling in your city.

Buy recycled and Organic products

I know sometimes recycled items might cost more but if we continue to purchase them, demand will increase competition and drive the price down, economics 101. Support companies that take the initiative to produce products using recycled materials, they are the future. Buy organic products that are free from harsh chemicals. Not only will it reduce pollution you’ll protect yourself from the unknown impacts it could have on your health.

Living a more sustainable life is easy if you just take it one step at a time. The Government has forced you to use reusable bags, now the rest is up to you!

Climate Change and the Federal Election. Who should I vote for?

For most of us, the federal election can be a confusing time. Trying to work out who to vote for is a difficult choice and unfortunately, a lot of the time we make an uninformed one. It’s important to do your research on the topics that matter most and make the choice that you feel is right for you. But it’s easier said than done. You’ve probably got a stack on letters on your kitchen table and are rejecting unknown callers left, right and center.

My best advice is to pick the top 3-5 issues that mean the most to you and research each parties’ policies. If Climate Change is at the top of your list, then I’ve done the hard work for you. Let’s take a look at what each major party is promising to protect the environment if they’re elected.

Liberal

The coalition’s environmental protection plan is more of a review of what they have done than what they are going to do. However, they have committed to meet our global emissions target of 26% to 28% by 2030.

The Liberal’s Climate Change Solutions Package includes the following objectives:

  • A $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund to help farmers, small businesses and Indigenous communities reduce their emissions and lower energy costs
  • Constructing Snowy 2.0
  • Bringing renewable energy from Tasmania to the mainland
  • Developing a National Electric Vehicle Strategy
  • Improving energy efficiency for households and businesses
  • The ‘Cleaner, Greener Local Communities’ initiative that will support local communities to reduce emissions and improve air and water quality

The LNP also has a long-term sustainability plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef, a Threatened Species Strategy, a National Landcare program and a National Food Waste Strategy.

Labor

The Labor Party is focusing on reducing ‘skyrocketing’ power prices. The ALP are promising cheaper, cleaner power with a plan to deliver 50% renewable energy by 2030. Here are some of their big goals to tackle climate change:

  • End power privatisation
  • Protect families and small businesses with a regulated power prices
  • Stronger gas controls
  • Support workers and communities transitioning from coal plants
  • Support businesses and communities with access to renewable energy and to cut waste
  • Set a national electric vehicle transport target of 50% new car sales by 2030
  • Help businesses and farmers to reduce pollution and tackle climate change

The Greens

As usual, The Greens have a comprehensive plan to tackle climate change and as usual it is one that will require a large budget. The Greens have a plan for ‘a renewable economy that tackles climate change’ which includes the following actions:

  • Phase out coal and move to 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • Create 180, 000 new jobs in renewables
  • Provide support for coal workers and communities
  • Create ‘Power Australia’ – a not-for-profit public energy retailer
  • Prioritise and properly fund clean, safe and affordable public transport & start the electric vehicle revolution
  • End political donations to mining companies

It seems like each party is taking the social pressure of acting against climate change seriously this year. There are a lot of promises to protect our planet, who do you think will follow through?

How to protect your business from the 2020 Tariff changes

In 2020 Ergon are removing some transitional tariffs that are going to affect farmers and businesses in Regional Queensland. For some businesses this change will enable them to save on their energy costs but for others it might mean higher energy rates.

What Tariffs are being removed?

Ergon are removing 4 tariffs that will affect businesses and 3 that will affect farmers. Below is a list of the tariffs that will expire and Ergon’s suggested alternative tariffs.

Current Tariff Type of business Transitional tariff type Alternative tariffs to consider
21 Small or large Anytime use 20 (most common), 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
20L Large Anytime use 44, 45, 46, 50
22L Small or large Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
37 Small or large Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 44, 45, 46, 50
62 Farming Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
65 Farming Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50
66 Farming Time of use 20, 22A, 24, 41, 44, 45, 46, 50

 

Why are these tariffs expiring?

These tariff changes are part of a government tariff reform in Queensland.

What should I do?

These tariff changes are happening and the best thing you can to is research your options. Make sure you know the benefits and disadvantages of all the alternatives tariffs so that you can make the right choice when the time comes. If you fail to change your tariff, you will be appointed a new default one and it may not be the best one for your business.  Make the most of your current tariff while your still have it and set yourself a reminder to change it before 30th June 2020.

How can I protect my business?

For some, these tariff changes will be positive, and you might see reduced energy costs. However, for others, these changes could result in higher energy rates and negatively affect your business.

An option to protect your business is to make the switch to solar. You might be thinking that we’re just taking the opportunity to sell you something, but in this case, it might be your best solution. If your only option is to switch to tariffs that will increase your energy prices, considering solar is worthwhile.

What if I can’t afford solar?

Horan & Bird can offer our customers a service call Solar Flex. This service enables homes and businesses to make the switch to solar without the capital outlay. In return, you simply pay us for what the system generates but at a reduced rate. This is a great option for those that will be affected by tariff changes as it gives businesses the opportunity to lock in a low daytime energy rate and reduce their risks associated with new tariffs.

Horan & Bird has Developed Technology to Harness Solar Energy at Night

GOTCHA!

Not Sure How To Use Your Solar? Find Out Here

How to use your Solar might seem obvious but for many of us that don’t know much about solar or are seeking advice from friends or family, it could get a little confusing.

If you’re on the 44c Feed-in-Tariff

If your solar was installed before 2013 then you are probably on the 44c Feed-in-Tariff and have always been told to export all your solar electricity back to the grid. This is because you are better off exporting all your solar to the grid and receiving 44c for every kilowatt produced than consuming it. Be aware that if you are on the 44c FIT and you want to make changes to your system, that you may lose your eligibility. Visit the QLD Government website to find out what changes would affect your Feed-in-Tariff.

If you’re on the Solar Feed-in-Tariff for regional QLD

However, if your solar was installed after 2013 or you are considering having it installed now, the way you use your solar is a little bit different. The current feed-in-tariff in Queensland is 9.36c. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still save hundreds of dollars a year on your electricity bill. You just need to consume your solar rather than exporting it. Now you may be worried that you’re not home all day and you can’t consume your electricity when the sun is shining.

What if I’m not home during the day?

Timers are a marvelous thing and luckily, most new appliances have them built in. You can set your dishwasher and washing machine to turn on during the day when you’re at work. Most solar companies will also assist you in purchasing a hot water timer so that your solar will power your hot water system and you don’t need to purchase a separate system or switch to gas to save. Of course, the biggest energy consumer of all is the pool pump. Homeowners will spend $800-$1200 a year maintaining their pool[i]. Thankfully, you can set a timer to have your solar run your pool pump during the day as well.

Maintain your system

It is imperative that you maintain your system to ensure you get the maximum benefit from it. We recommend having your system cleaned at least once every 12 months and making sure there are no shading issues that may impact your system performance.

Thinking about going Solar?

Horan & Bird have a number of options available to help you save with solar. Click here and complete the form and we will get in touch, or alternatively give us a call on 1300 467 262.