It's amazing how little changes to your lifestyle can make a huge difference to your energy bill, comfort, and emissions footprint. Here's our top ten tips:
#1: Install LED Lighting
Did you know that replacing halogen globes with LED Lights can save up to 84% off your lighting bills? LED lights also run at 70% lower operating temperatures, last 8 times longer than halogen globes and reduce your carbon footprint significantly. It's a simple as changing a few light globes.
#2. Wash your clothes in cold water
When washing clothes and even dishes, use cold water when hot water is not absolutely necessary. Make sure you choose detergents that work well with cold water.
"I have just disconnected the hot water pipe to my washing machine altogether. I don't notice any difference to my wash and I know I'm saving money and energy" - YEF Retrofit Participant
#3. Embrace laundry day
Save up your washing until you have a full load, and think twice about how important it is to you to seperate colours into different loads. Run the washing machine on economy cycle to save more. The same applies for dishwashers.
#4. Ditch the dryer
Use the clothesline. The sun's energy is free! Even during a Melbourne winter you'll be surprised how quickly a cool breeze can dry your clothes. And there's nothing better than crisp sheets dried by the summer sun.
#5. Choose the right clothes
Get cosy and dress for the temperature. Layering clothes and wearing wool helps keep you warm in winter, and means you can turn your heater down.
"Warm slippers are one of the greatest joys of winter" - YEF Retrofit Participant
#6. Go easy on that heater/AC
Heating makes up the largest part of the energy bill for many Victoria households. Shut doors to areas you are not using and only heat or cool the rooms you spend the most time in. Turn off heaters and coolers when you leave the room, go to bed, or when you leave the house. Some ducted heating systems allow you to off the heating in the rooms that are unoccupied. Set your thermostat at a temperature between 18 and 20 degrees for living areas - each degree above this level will increase your bill by up to 15%.
Portable fan heaters use an alarming amount of energy - if you're heating a room without inbuilt heating opt for an oil column heater.
#7. Block draughts and use curtains
In winter, keep your curtains closed to keep the heat in, and block draughts around doors and windows to stop air hot leaking out and cold air creeping in. Even the tiniest gap can make a huge difference.
"I took your advice and put up heavier curtains. I'm so surprised at how much warmer my room is!" - YEF Retrofit Participant
In summer, close doors and windows during the day to keep the heat out and draw curtains to keep the sun out. Throw open curtains and windows at night to allow hot air to escape.
#8. One fridge per house
Your fridge is always on, making it one of your most expensive appliances. If you have a second fridge or freezer, you may want to unplug it or even think about whether you really need it. That half empty beer fridge in the shed might be costing you a lot! Make sure the fridge door seal is tight and free from gaps so cold air can't escape. Keep the temperature in your refrigerator between 3 and 5 degrees, and in your freezer between -18 and -15 degrees.
#9. Switch off, properly
Turn off appliances (TVs, computers, microwaves) so they are not left on standby and still using electricity when not in use. By doing this you can save 7-10% of your electricity bill. Turn out lights when you leave the room and make use of natural light!
#10. Cook wisely
Thaw frozen food in your fridge to reduce cooking time. Use the microwave when you can – it uses much less energy than an electric oven. If you use the stove, keep lids on your pots to reduce cooking time. Use an electric kettle to boil water rather than the stove. Any appliance that generates heat uses a huge amount of energy, so keep usage to a minimum.