As power prices rise, many of us are looking for ways to use less energy at home. The good news is there are many simple, no-cost things you can do right now. By trying some of these ideas and making a few changes to everyday habits, you could save money and help the environment without sacrificing comfort.
1 Minimising hot water use
Hot water is responsible for around 25% of the average household energy bill. Ways to reduce this include washing clothes in cold water and waiting until there is a full load, only running the dishwasher when it's full, fitting a low-flow showerhead (it will pay for itself in no time) and keeping showers short.
2 Choosing efficient appliances
Household appliances can account for up to one third of your energy bill. If you're buying a new fridge, freezer, television, washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher or air-conditioner, look for the Energy Rating Label—the more stars, the less energy the product will use. High star-rated models can cost a little more, but choosing a cheaper less energy-efficient product could end up costing more in the long run. This is because running costs over the product's lifetime can add up to more than any savings made on the original purchase price.
3 Using appliances wisely
'Standby power' used by products like microwaves, televisions and gaming consoles can account for 10% of your electricity bill. If it's got a little light or clock - it's using power. Running costs can be reduced by turning off appliances at the wall when they are not in use, getting rid of any additional fridges and freezers that are not needed, and drying clothes on the line rather than the dryer.
4 Heating and cooling efficiently
For each degree heating or cooling is increased, energy use will increase by about 5% to 10%. To keep your bills in control, think about setting your heating thermostat to 18 to 20°C in winter and to 25 to 27°C in summer. You can make the most of the energy you're using by closing internal doors and only heating or cooling the rooms you're using.
5 Draught-proofing your home
Draught-proofing is a cheap and easy way to keep your home comfortable and save up to a quarter of your heating and cooling costs. Sealing gaps around doors, floors, windows and skirting boards, and using a sand-filled or fabric 'sausage' draught-stopper are 'do-it-yourself' options.
Want to know and save more?
A huge range of practical tips on energy, waste, water and travel efficiency as well as information on government assistance is available here on energy.gov.au.