When pressed against the off switch, the same green thumb that makes your plants blossom can help the environment thrive – and embracing eco-friendly habits around the home benefits the wallet, too.
From small tweaks to grand gestures, it’s possible for renters and homeowners to revamp their daily routines and consume less energy along the way.
1. Switch appliances off at the wall
Television, DVD player, microwave: yes, these are all essential components for a popcorn-fuelled movie marathon. But they also sap electricity, even when switched off. Save some coin by flicking everything off at the wall where possible and powering down your computer overnight.
2. Swap to energy saving light bulbs
Traditional incandescent lights are so last season. Swap them out for energy saving bulbs, which typically use 25-80% less power and last longer to boot.
3. Use your slow cooker instead of your oven
Getting your slow-roasted lamb stew on isn’t just delicious, it’s also environmentally friendly. An electric oven uses 2kWh per hour on average, while a slow cooker uses 0.7kWh over eight hours, according to uSwitch. That’s a cost of 60c vs 21c to cook the very same dish.
4. Save air-conditioning for emergencies only
Energex estimates that ducted air-conditioning sets you back over $700 in energy costs during a single summer quarter, while a portable or ceiling fan is just $11-$13. If you must use air-con, save it for the days that you really, truly need it and set it to 25°C, used in combination with a fan for a far lower energy consumption.
5. Clean your air-conditioner and heater
On the subject of air-con, how long has it been since you last cleaned it? Any longer than six months is unhygienic and unfriendly on your wallet. A clean filter means your system doesn’t have to work as hard, and therefore uses less electricity.
6. Snack on Zooper Doopers for a summer treat
A quick ice block may be all you need to cool yourself down in summer, rather than resorting to cash-crushing air-con. At around $8 for a pack of 40 Zooper Doopers, they’re certainly the more affordable option, and delicious too!
7. Close doors to unused rooms
When cooling or heating your home, ensure doors are closed so your system isn’t working overtime to climate control unused areas.
8. Use an electric blanket in winter
Fan heaters are the vampires of the heating industry; they’re notorious for sucking electricity, chomping through 33c/hour worth to run a 1kw system. Warm your bed up with an electric blanket instead (4c/hour) or use an extra blanket (free!).
9. Install solar garden lights
These negate the need for electrical, wired-in lights in your backyard. No brainer, right?
10. Ditch the dryer
We know… it’s a big call, but your dryer is draining your energy bill! The average 2-star rated dryer costs $144 a year to run, for just two weekly loads. Calculate how much you could save by hanging your washing outside here.
11. Wash your clothes in cold water
Always. No exceptions. Ninety percent of the energy your washing machine consumes is to heat the water, so give your clothes a cold shower and you’ll save a tonne of sweet, sweet energy.
12. Have shorter, cooler showers
While it’s fun to give an encore performance of Footloose into your shampoo bottle, it doesn’t make for a quick shower – and heating water accounts for a quarter of standard home energy usage. Click to Tweet
13. Purchase energy efficient appliances
The more stars an appliance has, the cheaper it is to run. According to Sustainability Victoria every additional star on your washing machine could save 25% energy use.
14. Install solar panels
Yes, it’s a hefty upfront cost for homeowners, but installing a solar system can deliver whopping savings on your annual power bill – especially if you can shift some energy use to daylight hours, when your system is generating electricity.
15. Get insulation
It’s the most amount of money you’ll ever spend on something you can’t actually see, hear or touch, but insulation is by far the most effective resource against unwanted heat loss or gain. It’ll cost a bit up front, but will save you a bucket in the long run.
16. Reconsider windows
Tinted windows aren’t just for hotted up Holdens any more! Tinted living room windows can help reflect the sun’s heat and reduce cooling costs, while installing external blinds can also reduce heat penetration and diminish air conditioning costs.
March is Go Green month at Aussie. Don’t forget to check out our other articles in this series for practical sustainability advice. Learn how to be an eco-friendly traveller, plus get some useful tips on having a natural skincare routine!
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