Did you know one of the biggest pollutants in Australia is caused by the production of electricity? More than 70% of the electricity used around the country is generated from burning coal. Not only does this pollute the air we breathe, the mining of it scars the earth and causes its own ecological issues.
If we want to make our homes greener and more environmentally friendly we either need to change the way we source energy, or use less of it. For most Australians, especially those of us living in cities or built up suburbs, we don’t have the space required for solar farms and wind-turbines, so the best way to contribute is to look at these ways to make your home more energy efficient.
The first way to reduce your energy consumption is to know where you are using it. Go around your home in the evening and see how many lights are on, chargers plugged in, and appliances are running. Use an energy meter to see which items are the biggest energy suckers. Some items may use little electricity but if you use a lot of them regularly it soon adds up.
Replace Old with Eco-Friendly
We’re not suggesting you rush out and replace ever appliance with the most stars you can find, but it makes ecological sense to buy the most energy efficient model when your old appliances pack up. It isn’t only electricity consumption for some appliances, but water. A one star washing machine uses twice as much water as a three star one, while a three star dishwasher uses 30% more water than a two star one.
Tinting and Insulation
You can avoid using more energy on heating and cooling than necessary with efficient tinting and insulation. Blinds, thick curtains, and shutters are also useful for regulating the temperature inside your house, keeping it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Wait for a windy day and check the seals around your windows and doors to make sure there are no drafts which are letting cold air in, and make a draft excluder from old clothing to help keep your home snug in winter.
Investigate solar panels and wind turbines to see if your home is suitable for them. Solar panels are easy to install and maintain, and can reduce your energy bills by being a source of clean energy. They may also make you eligible for savings under the electricity feed-in tariff.
Check Your Supplier
Some suppliers are greener than others in the way they produce energy and run their businesses. You can find out where to get the best green electricity deal in the Green Electric Guide.
You’re in Hot Water
A home’s hot water system uses more energy than everything else. Most hot water is used in the bathroom, followed by the kitchen, and the laundry. Your hot water system is the one item which may be worth replacing even if hasn’t reached the end of its life. Instant systems are typically more efficient than storage heaters as they do not require large quantities of water to be pre-heated. Whatever system you choose, install it as closely as possible to where you use the most hot water, and use rubber insulation on the water pipes.Finally, stop using the standby function on appliances, keep your showers as short as possible, turn lights and appliances off when they are not being used, and switch to LED light bulbs.