0 ways to help the planet and your hip pocket
Doing the right thing environmentally can often save you money too. Here are some simple tips for a greener and cheaper life.
1. Read your electricity bill to see if you are using more power than the same time last year. If you are, call your energy retailer to find out why.
IN THE HOME
2. Turn off lights when they are not needed.
3. Choose energy-efficient, compact fluorescent globes. They last six to 10 times longer and use 80 per cent less energy than standard globes.
4. Remember to make the most of natural light, particularly from north-facing windows.
5. Consider installing skylights in the kitchen and bathroom so excess lights don’t need to
6. Keep lights and fittings clean. Dust on lamps, shades and reflectors mean less light gets through, reducing your energy efficiency.
7. Switching appliances off at the power point will cut your electricity usage by up to 11 per cent. Over the whole year some microwave ovens generate more greenhouse gas from running the digital clock than cooking food.
8. Install gas heaters. They are cheaper to run and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electric heaters.
9. Keep the heat in and the cold out by installing wall and ceiling insulation. A well-insulated home can be up to 7 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer.
10. Don’t overheat rooms. Keep the temperature between 18 and 21 degrees. Your wallet will love you for it.
11. Close off unoccupied rooms by shutting doors and heat only the main living areas.
12. If it’s cold put on a jumper or snuggle up in a blanket rather than use heating.
13. Heavy curtains can halve your home’s heat loss in winter.
14. Put draught stoppers at the bottom of doors to keep out cold air.
15. If your heater has adjustable louvres, slant them towards the floor, because hot air rises.
16. Ceiling fans are the most energy-efficient form of cooling. They are the cheapest to buy and the cheapest to run.
17. Avoid air-conditioning. It is the mother of all domestic greenhouse pollution and the reason 10% of NSW’s electricity generating capacity is needed for just 1% of the time.
18. If you do install air-conditioning, the room temperature should be kept between 23 and 26 degrees. Frequent changes in thermostat settings will increase operating costs.
19. Set the air-conditioning unit to recirculate cool air instead of pulling warmer air in
20. Clean the filter on your air-conditioner every three months so it runs efficiently. If the unit has adjustable louvres, tilt them up.
21. Take shorter showers to save on the amount of electricity used to heat water.
22. Install water-saving devices such as more efficient showerheads.
23. Consider installing a solar hot water system. The energy consumption generated by Australian homes could be cut by at least 20 per cent if consumers converted their
hot water systems to solar.
24. Insulate your hot water pipes to avoid heat loss.
25. Wash your clothes in cold water to save on water heating costs.
26. Front-loading automatic washing machines use less water and up to 15 per cent less energy than top-loading machines.
27. Dry washing on the line whenever possible.
28. Spin dry clothes before putting them in the dryer and keep the lint filter clean.
29. Iron large batches of clothing at one time to avoid reheating the iron.
IN THE KITCHEN
30. Upgrade your electrical appliances when necessary. New energy-efficient models will
chew through far less energy than older appliances.
31. Choose an efficient fridge with a top star rating energy label. An old fridge can use three times the energy of a new one.
32. To check your fridge door seals are airtight, close the door over a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, the hinge may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.
33. Avoid opening the fridge door unnecessarily. By removing or replacing several items at a time you can keep the cold air inside the fridge and save energy.
34. Don’t buy a big fridge if you don’t need it. Fridges operate most efficiently when full.
35. Place the fridge away from the sun and oven to keep it cool.
36. Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly.
37. Get rid of the beer fridge. Powering it can cost more than $200 a year in energy bills.
38. A half-filled dishwasher uses the same amount of energy as a full load, so fill it to capacity before each wash cycle.
39. Stop your dishwasher before the drying cycle. Open the door to dry dishes naturally.
40. Thawing frozen food without using the microwave saves energy.
41. Your oven is less energy-efficient than a microwave oven, electric frypan or pressure cooker.
42. When cooking vegetables, use only enough water to create steam.
43. Use the minimum amount of water in pots, bring the water to a boil quickly, then turn down the heat to simmer.
44. Use your kettle to boil water, rather than the stove. It uses significantly less energy.
OUTSIDE THE HOME
45. Don’t leave outdoor security lights on all night or during the day.
46. Consider installing a timer or sensor for outdoor lights.
47. Pool pumps can have a big impact on your electricity bills. Make sure you’ve got the right size filter for your pool and find out how long it should operate daily to keep the pool’s water clean.
48. Pool filters timers should be checked regularly to make sure they’re working properly.
49. If you heat your pool, consider using solar-powered heating.
50. Heated swimming and spa pools should be kept covered when not in use.
Courtesy of Wendy Frew, The Sydney Morning Herald environment reporter