1. Heating and cooling your home
Well insulated walls and roof spaces act to make your home more comfortable by keeping a more even temperature inside – reducing heating and cooling costs. If you are renovating or building, consult your builder about upgraded wall and ceiling insulation.
2. Solar hot water
Consider asking your builder for the latest pricing on gas boosted solar hot water systems (electric boosted systems are not as efficient).
The additional cost of this type of system is likely to be in the order of $3,000 but could save between $125-$350 in energy bills p.a.
3. Solar panels
Smaller solar panel systems (also known as PV arrays) that cater for your household energy demand in the middle of the day are worth considering. This is a different approach to putting a large system on the roof and ‘exporting’ to the electricity grid at variable rates.
For typical homes, a system sized to 1kW should meet your energy demand best in middle of the day (10am – 2pm) when most energy will be produced. If people are at home throughout the day then a larger system may be required.
If you are considering purchasing new appliances then shop around for high energy and water efficiency ratings. Key appliances to target (and what to look for in energy star ratings) include:
- A main refrigerator (>550l) of 3.5 stars or greater rather than 1.5 stars
- A clothes washer (>7kg) of 4.5 stars (designed for cold water washing) rather than 2.5 stars
- Main TVs of 7 stars rather than 4 stars
If you are keen on downlights be keen on LEDs! Many new homes have 25-50 downlights installed which can consume large amounts of energy – downlights in the main kitchen and living area are normally the most used.
LED globes are now a competitive cost option for your lighting system. At present, for an additional outlay as low as $10 per additional globe you can nearly halve the consumption of compact fluorescent downlights.
6. Get control – energy monitoring and management
In-home electricity consumption monitors have been measured to help households save 5-15% of electricity use when used effectively. When combined with a simple standby electricity elimination device the savings can be even higher.
These monitors allow you to understand where energy is being wasted, such as standby energy, unnecessary lights being left on, how much the second fridge costs to run – for a small cost they can produce a large return.