Top Energy Efficiency Tips for Homes
There are always actions that householders can take to reduce their energy consumption. Some actions are behavioural, some require a change of household infrastructure, such as the installation of insulation or the changing of a lightbulb. All benefit in terms of increasing the comfort levels of your home, reducing carbon emissions, reducing energy consumption and supporting a reduction in your energy bill.
- Energy measurements- kWh or MJ
The first thing to look for is what type of bill is it – gas or electricity. Electricity is measured in units of kilowatt hours (kWh) and Gas in megajoules (MJ). Checking the quantity of energy you are using each day, not just the dollars you are paying – measuring your daily energy use will be a truer indication of how much energy your household uses. Then, look to see what your usage pattern is over the course of the year (most retailers supply a comparison chart that shows your usage over the past 12 months). This way you can see how much you used this winter as opposed to the previous one, for example.
- Rates and tariffs
How much do you pay for each unit of energy you use? Bills are required to state what per unit rate/s you pay. For example, with one energy retailer the first 300 kWh you use per month might be charged at one rate and then any units over this amount might be charged at a higher rate. This unit rate is something that is negotiable between different retailers. It is worth reviewing your unit rate each year.
How often do you get your bill? Are you looking at a monthly bill or a quarterly bill? Make sure that when you are comparing bills that you compare like for like eg. quarterly for quarterly.
- Insulate and reduce drafts
A poorly insulated home can increase heating and cooling requirements, along with drafts from around windows and doors. Leaving internal and external doors open can also add to heating and cooling use and costs. Closing unused spaces, keeping doors shut, sealing gaps, and topping up your insulation can reduce your consumption.
- Adjust thermostat settings
Ensure your heating is set between 18-21° in winter and cooling between 23- 25° in summer. Each degree warmer in winter and cooler in summer adds significantly to your energy use and costs.
- Minimise the need for artificial heating and cooling
Use solar passive design when designing and building a new home. Passive design screens out the sun in summer buy using sunscreen blinds on windows and walls that face west.
- Maintain heating and cooling systems
Keep your heating and cooling system properly maintained for optimum efficiency.
- Buy the right-sized appliances
Oversized appliances use more energy than is necessary.
- Reach for the stars
Buy appliances with the highest star rating available in the size you need (check star ratings at www.energyrating.gov.au)
- Keep your fridge cool
To work most efficiently, fridges and freezers need at least a 50mm gap all around to ensure necessary air circulation. Also make sure that that your fridge isn’t too close to the oven, next to a hot external wall or in direct sunlight.
- De-lamp over-lit areas
Many homes are over lit. One easy way to reduce costs is to remove excess lighting.
- Switch off lighting
Areas of your home that have occasional use, like bathrooms, kitchens and storage areas, can have their lights switched off when not in use. Switching lights off when not required is a straight forward way to reduce light hours, energy and costs.
- Install motion sensors on outdoor lights
Set the ‘on’ time as short as is practical.
- Replace existing lighting with energy efficient LED
LED lighting is able to deliver the same light output as traditional lighting using 50-80% less energy, making it a great way for your home to save energy and money.