1. Switch off lights and appliances when not in use
- To save the most energy, don’t leave appliances on standby, switch them off at the power point.
- Turn off your heater, cooling units, and appliances when you go to bed or leave the house.
2. Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs
- Energy-efficient LED globes can save up to 80% of your lighting costs. This is because they use less power and last far longer.
3. Manage your heating an cooling
Did you know that every extra degree of warmth above 20, adds 10% to your heating bill (which can make up to 30% of your entire energy bill).
In winter set your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C. In summer, Set your air conditioner thermostat between 24°C and 26°C for living areas – every degree lower in summer will increase running costs by around 10%.
Your thermostat should be in the living areas where you spend most of your time.
Sounds simple enough, but dress according to the weather conditions outside – some of the younger members of the household may need reminding! If it’s cold, wear a jumper indoors.
- Set your heating/cooling on timers so you are not leaving appliances on when not needed.
- Some heating and cooling systems (like split systems and some ducted heating vents) can be turned off/closed in rooms not in use so you are only heating the room you are in.
Switching from inefficient electric or gas heating to reverse-cycle split system air conditioning is one of the best choices you can make for your energy efficiency. Split systems can be up to 600% efficient and drastically reduce your electricity bills and household emissions. The Victorian Energy Upgrades program offers rebates to install more efficient heating in your home.
4. Manage your hot water heating
Did you know that heating your water can make up to 25% of your energy bill.
More than half of hot water use is in the bathroom, a third in the laundry, and the rest is used in the kitchen.
Upgrading your water heater from an electric or gas system to an incredibly efficient hot water heat pump is another major choice you can make to reduce both bills and emissions. Heat pumps can be up to 500% efficient and reduce hot water costs by 80%.
You can also save money and energy simply by reducing the amount of hot water you use;
- Install water-efficient showerheads and taps
- Taking shorter showers
- Choosing water-efficient appliances
- Using eco settings for clothes and dish washing
- Using cold water when hot water is not required.
5. Saving energy in the kitchen
Your kitchen is another major user of energy. Appliances like your fridge, dishwasher, and cooktop/oven are all energy intensive.
- Set your fridge temperature between 4 to 5 degrees and your freezer between -15 to -18 degrees.
- Make sure the door seal is tight and has no gaps or cracks.
- Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher, and only run it when it’s full.
- Let your utensils dry naturally.
- Put frozen food in your fridge in the morning to thaw out and reduce cooking time in the evening.
- When cooking, use the microwave when you can. Microwaves use much less energy than an electric oven.
- When using your stove, keep lids on pots to reduce cooking time.
Consider upgrading your expensive gas cooktop to an energy-efficient induction cooktop. They use far less energy, cook food faster, and are much safer to use – oh, and they’re super easy to clean!
6. Save energy washing and drying your clothes
- Wait until your machine is full before starting a washing cycle.
- Washing your clothes in cold water can save around $115 per year.
- Select the shortest appropriate washing cycle.
- Hang clothes outside to dry – clothes dryers use lots of energy.
7. Keep doors and curtains closed
- Keep the door to rooms you’re not using closed and only heat/cool the room you are in.
- In winter, make sure your curtains or blinds are sealing your windows properly.
- In summer, keep your curtains closed during the heat of the day.
- External blinds or awnings also help keep your house cooler in summer.
8. Insulate your walls and ceiling
Insulating your ceiling, walls and floor will help prevent the heat generated by your heater or cool air from your air con from escaping. It’s the most effective way to improve the energy performance and comfort of your home.
Decent insulation can save your up to 40-50% on your home heating and cooling costs.
9. Draught proofing your home
Draught proofing is one of the easiest DIYs one can do to fix your home of draughts and leaks, making your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Draughts are similar to ventilation, in that both let fresh air into your home. Good ventilation helps reduce condensation and damp and can help cool down a hot house. Draughts, on the other hand, are uncontrolled – they let too much cold air in and waste too much heat.
Draught proofing stops warm air from escaping your home in winter and hot air from entering in summer, saving you money and making your home more comfortable. Up to 25% of winter heat loss from existing houses is caused by air leakage (also known as draughts). In fact 9 out of 10 homes in Victoria have unwanted draughts!
Draughts come into your house through gaps and cracks around doors, windows, exhaust fans, fireplaces and so on. To draught-proof your home you will firstly need to find the draughts.
- Look for obvious gaps
Visible light under and around doors and windows is a good clue.
- Listen for rattles or whistling
Take time out, especially during strong winds, to listen for rattles and whistling around doors and windows.
- Feel for moving air
Feel around doors, windows, fireplaces, air outlets, vents, stairways, floorboards, exposed rafters and beams, built-in heaters and air conditioners, architraves and skirting boards.
- Look for movement in curtains
Movement in and around curtains can be an indicator of draughts.
10. Better understand your personal energy use
The Residential Efficiency Scorecard is available across Australia. In the same way as your fridge or dishwasher has a star rating, a scorecard rating shows how much energy your home is using.
A home energy assessment can help identify the areas your home that are contributing to high energy bills and helps point out the improvements you can make.
Find out more here.
11. Find the best energy deal for your home
One of the easiest ways to reduce your costs is to compare the energy offers for your home.
Victorian Energy Compare is a free and independent energy comparison platform which can weigh up different energy retailers for gas, electricity, and solar for your home. This lets you find the best and cheapest deal on your energy.
12. Save heaps of money by going solar
Installing solar panels on your home lets you generate and consume renewable energy during the day which can drastically reduce your energy bills, and in some cases allow you to get reimbursed every month via feed-in tariffs.
The addition of a household battery system enables you to store any excess solar energy you produce for use during the evening, and even further reduce your reliance on the grid.
You can read more about going solar here.
The most powerful way to reduce your energy bills and personal household emissions is by opting for an all-electric home.
The basis of this is replacing all your inefficient, fossil-fuel reliant appliances with modern electrical ones. Partnered with a personal solar system, this can potentially reduce your bills to $0 and drastically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
An all-electric home is a lot easier to achieve than you may think – learn more here.