Energy saving tips
Making a positive impact on the environment doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some simple tips and tricks that might help. We also encourage our customers to help each other. If you’ve come across a novel idea about how to save energy, please let us know and we will post it on our site so we can share that knowledge.
Simple Energy Saving Tips
Check the Star Rating
When looking for a new appliance, don’t just check the price tag. Often the savings are offset by higher running costs, especially when you calculate the running costs over the lifetime of the appliance. Keep an eye on the number of stars or energy rating. This rating tells you how efficient the appliance will be and gives you an idea of how many (kWh) kilowatt-hours the appliance will use in one year according to Australian Standards. For example a “4 star” large family sized fridge (about 430 Litres) might use about 370Kwh per annum, where as a 1.5 star fridge of the same size might use about 590. That’s a 60% difference.
A Good Clean
One of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to save energy on your heating and cooling is give your air conditioner filter a good clean. Most filters have a clip that pops out and so it’s easy to do. A clean filter can make your air con run up to 12 percent more efficiently. Ducted systems are similar in that the “return” vent usually has a cleanable filter.
Shade your home. Have a look at your home and notice the way the summer sun travels during the course of the day. You might find a particular window, wall or section of your house that is taking the brunt of the heat. The fix could be as easy as planting a few trees, or installing a shade cloth. If you can’t control the outside shade, then don’t worry. Using curtains and blinds can be just as effective. You can also use some of the many glass tinting options available on the market, some of which can cut heat transfer significantly while still bringing in natural light.
Keep your home at a reasonable temperature. It takes a lot of energy to change the temperature in a house by just one degree. By adjusting your thermostat by just a couple of degrees you can save hundreds off your heating and cooling costs. For example; in the winter time keep your heat set at say 18 or 19 degrees instead of over 20. In summer set the cooling to say 23 or 24.
If you have a programmable timer, you can automatically switch off the heater when you’re not home or at night. A programmable thermostat can usually be retrofitted to replace older thermostat controls and can be a cheap way of modernising an existing system.
The Right Size
Buying an energy-efficient air-conditioner will definitely help, but size is also an important factor when it comes to efficiency. It’s important that the unit you purchase is the right size for the space you are trying to cool. If your unit is too big, then it will not remove humidity effectively, and your space will be cool, but damp and clammy. If the unit is too small, it will struggle to keep your place cool, never really cycling-off, and over-drying your air.
Changing the temperature of the air inside your entire house requires a lot of energy. So it’s important that your ducted air conditioning is running efficiently. A small leak or a neglected air ducts can really ramp up the running costs. Regular servicing is important to keeps the system maintained.
Understand your Ducted System
Ducted air conditioning is great, but it can be counter intuitive. Many people believe that closing air-condition vents in unused rooms would save energy. However, closing vents can sometimes put backpressure on the fan that pushes the air through the system, causing it to work harder, use more energy and wear out faster. Understanding how the system works is important, ask your service person for their advice.
Insulation has been getting a bit of negative press in the last few years, but in actual fact it is still regarded as the most efficient way of reducing the amount of energy needed to keep your home at a comfortable level. There are many professional installers that can retro fit insulation to an existing home.
How much hot water?
If your home uses a standard electric hot water service then chances are a large portion of your energy bill will probably be as a result of heating water. The average electric hot water system produces over 3.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year. So try tweaking how you use your hot water and enjoy some noticeable changes to your electricity bill. Turn the thermostat down by a few degrees if it’s safe to do so and don’t forget to switch the system off when you go away for a few days. Wash your clothes on cold water cycle. Cut your shower time down by a few minutes; most of us spend longer than we need to, if you can’t, at least switch to a water-saver shower-head. These are cheap, available from most hardware shops, and are usually very easy to install even for the DIY newbie.
Replace old fashioned light globes with modern LED light bulbs. Light–Emitting-Diodes are way more efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent globes. The price of LED has fallen over the last few years. A trip to the DIY store and a few minutes work can knock a noticeable lump off your energy bill.
Switch it off at the power point
Standby Power is draining electricity silently and un-noticed. Did you know that “standby power” can add up to 10% of a typical Australian house’s electricity use? It’s just a matter of changing your habit, for example; instead of powering off the TV using the remote, switch it off manually. The same goes for small things like stereos, gaming consoles and anything that’s drawing power by just sitting there idle and costing you money. If you switch it off at the plug you will notice your bills getting smaller.