ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Keeping your household electricity bill and your carbon emissions in check can involve making changes, some very simple and some more complex, in a number of areas around your home.
Enova Community’s passionate volunteer Energy Coaches say that people are often quite surprised at how much they can reduce their electricity bills by following their advice following an energy audit.
Here are the top energy tips from our Energy Coaches that you can start implementing throughout your home, to reduce your bills and your environmental impact.
Hot water is the largest component of electricity bills. At around 30 per cent of your energy use, it’s the number one thing to look at when you want to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
The most obvious solution is to use less hot water. You can do this by taking shorter hot showers, washing your clothes in cold water or at least no hotter than 30 degrees and installing water efficient shower heads.
Other worthwhile ways to reduce hot water costs will take a little more planning.
Check that your solar hot water system is working properly. Leaks or broken pipes can significantly impact the hot water component of your bill.
The next time you have an electrician or plumber come to your house, ask them to turn the temperature on your hot water thermostat down to 60 – 65 degrees*.
Consider the benefits of installing a solar hot water system. Removing hot water heating costs from your electricity bill will make a noticeable difference.
For those homes with solar hot water, only turn on your hot water booster when needed – that is when you notice that your hot water temperature is starting to drop below acceptable. Keeping your booster on when your water is being heated by the sun means you are drawing power from the grid when you don’t need to.
The simplest ways to cut down your energy use are:
1. Only fill your kettle with the amount of water you need.
2. Wash clothes in cold water or maximum 30 degrees.
3. Save washing until you have a full load.
4. Hang your washing out to dry and only use a clothes drier when absolutely necessary.
5. A lot of appliances, like dishwashers, have timers. Use this function so your appliance automatically runs at the cheapest time in the day.
6. Place your fridge away from heat sources such as direct sunlight and ovens, and allow air to circulate around the back of the fridge.
7. Repair or replace faulty seals on fridges and freezers (they should hold a $5 note).
8. Households with solar should try to run everything they possibly can during daylight hours to minimise drawing energy from the grid.
Meanwhile, technology advances mean modern appliances like TVs, fridges, heaters and washing machines are being designed ever more efficiently.
To reduce your energy use, it’s important to consider upgrading to appliances with a high energy star rating – the more stars the greater the energy efficiency.
Fridges in particular have had a technology overhaul in the last ten years. The energy savings you’ll make by updating your fridge will make the new investment worth it. Intelligent technology in fridges is fast becoming the norm, where smart sensors continually assess temperature and humidity levels inside the fridge, and manage the compressor to save money.
*Refer to the Australian Standards code AS/NZS 3500.4:2017
Heating and Cooling
Using an airconditioner or heater is a large energy expense. There are many ways you can reduce aircon use and minimize their impact on your bill.
Only heat or cool the room you are using and keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is running
Turn your temperature control to 18 – 20 degrees in winter and 24 – 26 degrees in summer. Each one degree difference increases energy usage by around ten per cent (results may vary).
Use ceiling fans instead of air-conditioning in summer. Even if you do use air-conditioning sometimes, you can limit its use (and its impact on your electricity bill) using your fans instead, once your room has cooled down. Ceiling fans cost about five cents an hour to run. Much less than an air conditioner.
Replace old air conditioning units with energy efficient, reverse cycle air conditioning
And of course, before turning on any heating or cooling appliance, try putting extra clothes on if you are cold and take some off if you are hot!
Shade and Ventilation
The need to use air conditioners and heaters can be further reduced by taking a conscious approach to how you shade and ventilate your home.
By use fans and natural ventilation where possible you can keep inside spaces cooler.
By sealing any draughts and putting up curtains to trap night-time heat in winter you can reduce the need for heating in winter.
Adding external shading such as strategically placed shade plants and awnings can limit hot westerly afternoon sun from entering the house. Trimming shade trees in winter allows that winter sun in.
Adding window coverings such as drapes or roller blinds can decrease the temperature in a room by up to 3 degrees in summer (results may vary). Close your blinds to keep daytime summer heat out and open blinds and doors on summer nights for cool ventilation.
Consider the air ventilation through your house. Can you open front and back windows during the cooler parts of the day and in the evening, to allow fresh air to flow through and cool your home?
Replace incandescent and halogen light bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
By updating to LED lights, you could save up to 93% every year* on the lighting portion of your energy bill. LED lights are the most energy efficient and longest lasting lights available and they do not contain any mercury, harmful gasses or toxins.
*EcoVantage website https://powertosave.ecovantage.com.au/
Turn off electrical appliances at the wall when not using rather than leaving them on stand-by. You could save additional dollars per year on your electricity bill simply by cutting out standby power usage and reduce your impact on climate change at the same time.
Insulate ceilings, walls and floors where possible. Floor rugs and window blinds and curtains can do a lot to insulate your space too, keeping the air inside warmer or cooler for longer.
Your pool pump can be a considerable drain on your energy usage. Reduce its impact by considering upgrading to a variable speed drive pump. This newer technology will pay for itself. Set on low speed, energy use is greatly reduced. High speed setting is only needed if vacuuming the pool (to pick up leaves etc).
Households with solar should run their pool pump while the solar system is generating energy during the day.
If you don’t have solar, try running your pool pump in off peak times to reduce your energy costs.