Using less energy at home by being more efficient is the quickest way to save money on your bills and cut your household’s greenhouse emissions. And it means when you go to install solar panels you’ll be able to power your home with fewer panels.
The average household in Victoria could cut it’s power consumption by 20% just through doing simple energy saving measures and retrofits. We’re not talking major renovations here, just simple changes, some of which cost little or are free. We will assume that you’re considering getting solar panels (or have them) and so our suggestions are based on using electricity from renewable energy.
Here’s a list of the big-ticket items – the best ways to cut energy use in your home:
According to Sustainability Victoria, on average 32% of our energy bill goes into heating. So this is a great place to start.
- Turn off the heater when you’re out or at night.
- Turn the thermostat down a bit and wear warmer clothes.
- Heat only the space you need - close doors to the rooms you are not using.
- Install insulation or add more insulation to your ceiling.
- Install close fitting curtains or blinds over your windows.
- Seal up any draughts around your doors and windows and seal up any vents or other outlets where heat can escape.
- If you’re in the market for a new heater or to change your form of heating, consider getting a reverse-cycle split system (heat pump) heater/air conditioner as these are the most energy efficient electric heaters – new ones are very efficient.
- While we recommend shifting away from gas if you can (read more about this here), if you do need to use gas then a gas space heater is also quite efficient. Heating your whole house via central heating is always less efficient as you are heating spaces you aren’t using most of the time.
Our fridges and other white goods use about 17% of our power in the average Victorian household so there are savings to be made here too:
- Replace any fridge seals that are damaged and not sealing.
- Turn off the second fridge or freezer when not in use.
- Ensure your fridge is well ventilated and the coils at the back are free of dust.
- Replace an old fridge with a new efficient one – the savings in energy are worth the cost of buying the new fridge. Also replace an old dishwasher or washing machine with a new efficient one if you’re ready to – new appliances are so much more efficient than old ones, it’s worth it.
- Wash clothes in cold water when possible and avoid using a dryer – hang clothes on a line or rack to dry.
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full.
Heating water is about 16% of the average Victorian household’s energy use so here’s how you can make this more efficient:
- Take shorter showers! Use a timer.
- Install a low-flow showerhead and fix any drips or leaks.
- If you are ready to buy a new hot water unit, go for a heat pump hot water system. These are the most efficient and can run off electricity from your solar panels – you can program the system to heat the water in the middle of the day when the sun is shining hottest. Solar hot water systems also use solar power to heat water, but when there is no sun they are less efficient at boosting the heat than a heat pump system is.
There are so many things you can do to save energy at home. Sustainability Victoria has a great guide which lists almost every possible thing you can do! Download the Household Energy Action Guide here to get some more ideas