Reduce energy costsHere’s how you can reduce energy costs both at home or at work.

Is the high cost of energy getting you down? By making a few simple changes you can reduce energy costs, save hundreds of dollars every year, and contribute to a more sustainable environment.

1. Switch appliances off at the wall
Up to 10% of your electricity could be used by appliances (computers, TVs and stereos) that are left on standby while plugged into a wall socket. Make sure to switch all appliances off at the wall to reduce energy consumption.

2. Use natural sunlight
Rather than switching on lights during the day, make sure to open your curtains and use natural light as much as possible. Consider installing a skylight or a light tube to maximise the use of natural sunlight – and minimise the use of electricity.

3. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs
Most households could reduce energy costs for lighting by at least 50% by switching from traditional incandescent lightbulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) or LED (light emitting diodes) alternatives. Lighting in homes consumes 8–15% of the average household electricity budget. Not only are these options more affordable but they have a longer product life and can save around $180/ year.

4. Reset your hot water system thermostat
By simply turning down the temperature setting of your hot water system/thermostat, you can significantly reduce energy costs. Set your hot water system thermostat to 60°C. Also, think about installing a programmable thermostat to base your hot water needs on the time your family will be at home, and when they will be away.

5. Convert to solar power
Australians use on average around 80 litres of hot water per person per day. Reduce the costs of heating water by switching to a solar water heater. A solar water heater absorbs heat from the sun and uses it to heat up water.

6. Insulate, insulate, insulate
Households can save significant costs by ensuring proper insulation of ceilings, walls, windows, doors and hot water pipes and tanks. Systems like double glazing or secondary glazing of windows and doors are known to reduce energy costs and provide a more comfortable home environment without the need for cooling and heating devices.

7. Reduce your need for cooling and heating devices
In Australia, an average of around 40 per cent of the energy we use in our homes can be attributed to devices that are used for heating and cooling such as air conditioners, fans and heaters – and this doesn’t even include heating hot water. By properly insulating your home you can considerably reduce the need for electric thermal control devices.

8. Become water wise
Using water-efficient appliances and fixtures can save you a lot of water (and money of course). It is estimated that by 2021, Australians could collectively save over $1 billion on water and energy bills by using more water-friendly appliances. These could be water-efficient shower-heads, washing machines and toilets. You can also save around $115 per year just by washing your clothes in cold water rather than hot.

9. Check your fridge
Your fridge is the one appliance that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Make sure to turn your fridge to the appropriate temperature and check that there are no gaps in the door seal where cold air could be escaping. If you have a second fridge, consider whether you really need it and try giving it a break during winter.

10. Ditch your drier
In the predominantly warm Australian climate, it’s easy to swop your electric clothes dryer for a simple clothesline – whether set up indoors or outside. You could save up to $79 per year through ditching your drier and using a more traditional (and earth-friendly) way to dry your laundry.

To check the energy consumption and reduce energy costs of your appliances, why not use this energy rating calculator from the government’s energy rating website. You can also find out more information on The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program which helps improve the energy efficiency of a range of appliances and equipment.

Sources:
www.yourenergysavings.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
www.switchon.vic.gov.au

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