More often than not energy is wasted not used. Using energy more efficiently is as important as using renewable sources. Simple changes and additions can make your home healthier and more comfortable to live in year-round. As well as being better for you, you’ll reduce your emissions and save money. And new and improved technologies can make your home high preforming, so using less energy doesn’t mean going without.
What you can do
Replace lights with LEDs
LEDs are around 80-90% more efficient than incandescent lights. LED bulbs omit no heat and are durable and versatile. They can also last for up to 50,000 hours, compared to 1,500 hours of other bulbs, so you’ll change them less frequently.
Only buy energy-efficient appliances
When replacing, install appliances with an A+ rating or higher – they use less energy and resources like water. High-preforming appliances can cost a little more to buy but will save you money in the long run.
Install a solar hot water system
Around 1/3 of household energy goes towards heating water. Use the sun to heat your water instead of burning gas and oil. Systems are easy to install and will cut your electricity bills.
Install an induction cooktop
Cooking with gas emits unhealthy waste gases, heats your kitchen, adds moisture and can be dangerous. Induction cooking, which uses electricity to produce magnetic fields, is fast, precise and consistent. Induction cooktops are efficient, easy to install, clean and safer than gas and ceramic ones.
Double and triple glaze windows
Double and triple-glazed windows reduce heat gain in summer and loss in winter by over 50% compared to single-glazed windows. With better glazing, you can use less artificial cooling and heating and reduce your energy bills by 40-70%. It also decreases ultraviolet radiation that contributes to skin cell damage and fades furniture, and reduces condensation that causes mould. The glass is thicker and stronger so it is safer and makes your home quieter and more secure.
Properly insulate and ventilate your home
Poorly insulated homes gain heat in the summer and lose warmth in the winter. Make sure your roof, walls and underfloor are well insulated. Fix leaks of hot and cold air around windows, doors and fireplaces. Install good ventilation systems that maintain the flow of fresh air and remove moisture.
Monitor and control energy
Install a smart meter to monitor use and improve your energy efficiency. Intelligent systems manage your energy, like the ones from Spanish company Ampere Energy that predict usage and recommend options. They are perfect partners for solar systems because you’ll know how and when your energy is used.
Other energy saving tips
- Unplug appliances and chargers when not in use as they continue to consume energy
- Use ceiling fans in summer and winter (in reverse) – they use as much energy as a lightbulb
- Keep your freezer full so it runs more efficiently
- Install motion sensor lights
- Buy an insulation cover for your hot water cylinder
- Plant trees on the sunny side of your house to provide shade.
The Australian think-tank, Beyond Zero Emissions, has a great website on energy freedom with advice on how to make your home high-performing and zero emissions.