Energy-Efficiency at Home

These days we are all more conscience of energy consumption, not just its costs but also the wider implications and impact on the environment.  It doesn’t take much to incorporate eco-friendly habits into our daily lives and save some cash at the same time.   Below are a few simple tips on how to lower your carbon footprint.

Electricity: Maximise Efficiency, Minimise Use

One of the biggest ways we can make change is by reducing the amount of electricity we use. The more electricity we generate, the more fuel we burn, and the more greenhouse gases are released into the air. Simple things like turning off lights and appliances when we leave a room (or the house), go a long way. Here are a few more things we can do:

Lighting:  Have a look at your lightbulbs. What kind are they? Standard incandescent bulbs take up much more electricity than energy-efficient globes like LEDs, and compact fluorescent lights last only a fraction of the time. There are tons of options online to suit every preference and room.

Outlets: The term is called phantom load. It’s what happens when you leave plugs turned on even when you’re not using the appliances. Items like chargers, microwaves and home entertainment units which have an instant-on feature are the culprits. By keeping an eye on these, you can avoid adding around an extra 35% to your annual electricity bill.

Solar Panels:  It may seem like a big move for some, but it is totally worth it in the long run. 1 in 5 Aussie houses are currently outfitted with solar panels. They can appear like a hefty investment at first, with an average of $5,000 for a set, but they save on your electricity bill and can even add value to your home. Most importantly, you’re harnessing the goodness of mother nature!

Energy Efficient Appliances: When it’s time to replace your existing appliances, ensure that you are seeking out new ones with the highest energy efficiency rating, preferably 4 stars and above.

Rainwater:  Installing rainwater tanks is one of the best ways to make your home more environmentally friendly.  The water can be used for washing your fruits and veggies, watering your plants, and for washing machines/toilets etc; and more sophisticated systems can split uses including through tap filters for human consumption.

Shopping Choices

This can be one of the harder steps because not only are we creatures of habit, but we shop so regularly and for so many different types of products. A great practice is simply to read labels, find a preferred brand and stick to it. Since there’s more demand for eco-friendly products, we’re not short of fantastic products to choose from.

Food:  It’s no secret that high meat consumption can be detrimental to the environment. Just avoiding red meat alone a few times a week can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.

Plastics:  Fortunately, the Australian government passed a law in 2020 that banned the exportation of plastics. The act has the goal of making 100% of plastics recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. So, what can we do? Reduce our consumption.  When doing takeaway coffee or big food orders, say no to the plastic. Always remember to bring along your personal coffee cup and tote bag.

Cleaning Products:  Many cleaning agents are harmful to manufacture and to dispose of and can even affect our nervous system. Favour products that are free of sulphates, dyes, ammonia, and chlorine, among others. Natural and organic cleaners are just as effective as traditional cleaners.

Recycling:  While most of us are savvy about our kerbside recycling, there are a couple common mistakes many of us make:

Do:

  • See where the closest recycling point to you is located. This is where you can bring soft plastics leftover from chips and bread bags.
  • Scrunch up the items you’re recycling and make them as compact as possible.
  • Separate the covers and lids from jars and containers before throwing them into the recycling bin. This way, they’re easily broken down by the machines.

Don’t:

  • Put broken glass or mirrors into the recycling bin. These can go in the normal bin.
  • Chuck plastic bags in the recycling bin. If you want to recycle them, check out your closest recycling point.
  • Leave residue in the items you’re recycling. Try and clean out containers as much as possible.