Homes generate about one fifth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. But you can easily reduce your energy use by changing a few habits and fitting a few low-cost energy saving devices. Then switch your electricity supply to renewable energy by choosing GreenPower.
Australian households: greenhouse gas emissions
Transport (19% from cars) 34%
Water heating 16%
Heating and cooling 11%
Wastes (methane from landfill) 5%
Clothes washing/drying 2%
Sign up to a GreenPower electricity scheme and your energy supplier is obliged to generate an equal amount of energy from renewable sources such as wind or solar. If you choose 100 per cent GreenPower your home will be “carbon free” and you’ll be funding renewable energy development. GreenPower adds about $4/5 a week to your electricity bill but you can recover this, and more, with the energy-saving tips below.
energy: key steps
- Heating/cooling. Insulate your roof. Fit draft excluders to the bottom of doors. $ (More heating/cooling tips below.)
- Hot water. Install solar hot water. It will pay for itself in a few years. There are grants available. Solar water heaters need a north-sloping roof, or go for a heat-exchange system. Fit a water saving showerhead and take shorter showers.
- Lighting. Fit energy saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs… Replace halogen downlights with efficient LED lamps… Turn lights off when leaving a room.
- Appliances. Don’t leave appliances on standby. Turn them off at the wall.
Want to do more?
♦ Clothes: wash in cold water or at 30C. Dry clothes on a clothes line or airer instead of in a tumble dryer.
♦ Cooking: microwave ovens, slow-cookers, pressure-cookers and stir-frying on gas stoves or in an electric wok are all energy efficient methods of cooking… Steam vegetables with minimal water and the lid on… Don’t overfill kettles… Choose a fan-assisted oven and make sure the oven door seals.
♦ Fridge: check your fridge door seals, defrost regularly and dust condensing coils to improve efficiency.
♦ Heating: consider gas central heating or a wood-pellet stove heater. Wood from a sustainable source is a renewable, carbon-neutral fuel.
♦ Appliances: buy appliances with high energy ratings.
♦ Lights: clean lampshades and lightbulbs, as dirt can cut out up to half their light… Silver reflector strips behind lightbulbs can increase light output.
♦ Air-conditioning: buy the most efficient air-conditioner you can find… Unless you live in a very humid part of Australia, go for evaporative air conditioning not ducted.
More ways to save on air-conditioning and heating
♦ Shut doors so you just heat/cool the rooms you are using.
♦ In winter, wear warmer clothes rather than turn up the heating.
♦ Double-glaze windows or fit a low-cost insulating film.
♦ Shade windows with curtains, awnings, shutters or deciduous bushes to keep the heat out during summer and in during winter.
♦ On cold nights use extra blankets and hot water bottles.
♦ Avoid bar/fan heaters except in small rooms for short bursts.
♦ Insulate under floorboards. Install ceiling fans as circulating air feels cooler.
What a waste!
About 66 per cent of energy in a coal-fired power station is lost as heat and another 8 per cent is lost during transmission over the grid. That’s three-quarters of energy lost before it even reaches your home (CSIRO).