Energy conservation can save resources and money through the adoption of efficient technology and behaviours.
The cost of energy is rising and the effect of pollution is increasing. With just a bit of effort we can cut our household energy use by more than a quarter and rapidly repay this investment within a year or two with the savings on our energy bill. The energy efficiency of the technology available to us is improving and when combined with our common sense, can create large reductions in energy use.
How to do it now!
A dozen easy-to-do actions will save tonnes of CO2 going into the atmosphere and save you a lot of money.
1. Install insulation in ceiling, floor and walls. The heating and cooling requirements of your house are reduced dramatically if the house is well insulated. By installing high R-value insulation bats, foil and other products you can maintain a constant temperature in your home and reduce your heating/cooling bills. In addition, sealing up all those leaks around the house will help keep the cool out in winter and the heat out in summer.
2. Install LED lights (light emitting diodes). LED Lights are a relatively new technology and can help you save up to 90 per cent on your lighting costs. There are alternatives for every type of light - incandescent, downlights and outdoor lighting. LEDs are also completely non-toxic containing no mercury. They are significantly more expensive than compact fluorescents but the technology is advancing very quickly and prices are coming down.
3. Shift to double-pane windows. Double-pane windows, like insulation, will create big savings on your energy bill especially during the cold and hot months of the year. In addition to double panes, energy efficient features to look for on windows include tinted glass coatings, low-emissivity (low-e) coatings, and multiple layers of glazing.
4. Block the summer heat. Install blinds and sun shades or plant deciduous trees to prevent the summer heat from over-heating your house.
5. Circulate air. Install ceiling fans for cooling in summer and circulating rising heat in winter, and decommission your air-conditioner.
6. Rug up in winter, wear less in summer. Turn your heating thermostat down a couple of degrees (say to 18-21°Celsius) and wear a jumper in winter. In summer, wear less, and tolerate more heat before your air conditioner is set to start (24–27°C for summer cooling). Keeping thermostats to these settings can help to considerably lower heating and cooling energy needs. Every degree adds about 10 per cent to your heating and cooling bill!
7. Wash your clothes cold water. Cold water washing is effective and power efficient. You will save power and money by washing in cold water.
8. Let nature work for you. Use your clothes line rather than the clothes dryer.
9. Turn off the power. Switch off appliances and electrical equipment at the power point and greatly reduce your household carbon pollution and power bills. Many hardware stores now sell power boards, which have a remote control on-off switch, so you can now turn off the stand-by power of systems without having to climb under the TV or sound system.
10. Lower your hot water temperature. Turning down the thermostat on your hot water system will save energy and money, while also making your taps safer for children.
11. Check fridge seals. Check and clean seals on your fridge to make sure the door closes securely. You can do this by putting a piece of paper or even a $5 note between the door and the fridge cabinet. Close the door. Try to gently pull the paper out; if it slips out easily with no suction of the paper you may need to take a closer look to see if cool air is escaping. If so replace the seals or adjust the door hinge. If there is some “drag” on the paper the seal is working. Regularly remove any frost build-up in the freezer.
12. Replace the seals: Go online to find the seals that are right for your brand of fridge and model. You can often order them on line and follow the instructions yourself. For an installation service contact a local fridge seal installer.
Why is this action important?
Science is telling us that we need to live more sustainably; more in tune with nature. In order for humans to establish a sustainable civilisation we must aspire to the efficiencies found in nature. This action is intended to engage people to better understand the effect of their behaviour in terms of future generations. Through our actions, we will understand that living sustainably does not mean living in a cold, dark place, but merely making a few simple changes to our daily lives.