How to spend less on your energy bill
It’s not just homeowners looking for ways to save money and make their homes more energy and water efficient. With nearly 30 % of Australians and 36.3% of New Zealanders living in rented accommodation, many people feel there is little they can do with limitations on what they can change however, there are ways to improve efficiency and reduce bills.
By implementing a few small changes, households can save over $500 every year.
How many people have a second fridge in the garage, always on for when you have a bbq and invite the neighbours over? Turning this fridge off could save you around $172 a year and for those with teenagers, turning off the game console when they have finished playing can save up to $193 annually.
The clothes dryer may be convenient, but by air drying your clothes just one time per week, you also save $79 annually and, by changing your showerhead, you could save at least $160 a year on energy and water costs.
While these savings are only estimates, they give a good idea of simple ways to make a change and the financial benefits.
When buying new appliances, always opt for those that are energy efficient. Appliances makeup 30% of your home energy use and can make a big impact on your energy bills. Appliances now feature an Energy Rating Label. This enables the buyer to recognise the efficiency of the product and, while the more efficient products can cost a little more, they will save you money in the long run.
40% of our home energy use is to keep us warm or cool us down. That is a significant part of the household expenses but something we can bring down by making a few small changes.
Did you know that for every 1 degree you increase or decrease the temperature on your heater or air conditioner, you increase your energy use by around 5 to 10%. By closing off rooms that you are not using and simply dressing for the season, you can avoid having to change the temperature by more than 1 - 2 degrees. Check your home for draughts. By sealing the gaps, you could cut your energy bill by up to 25%.
Closing curtains to keep the heat in over Winter and out over Summer, opening windows to bring in the breeze and choosing a fan over an air conditioner are all ways to keep costs down. Fans are great to circulate air, improving the effectiveness of air cooling systems and costing only 2 cents per hour of operation.
Also consuming between 8 and 15% of the average household electricity budget is lighting. Everyone is talking about changing lights to more efficient LED lights but even the way you use your lights can make a difference. Do you need to light up the whole room? Maybe a standard lamp is enough. If it’s light outside, open the curtains. Switching lights off when you leave the room will also save energy.
Try turning off appliances at the wall when not in use, and once your phone is charged, turn the charger off. All of these things add to your power bill and can be avoided. In the laundry, opt for shorter cycles and cold water. This can save up to 85% in energy costs.
And of course, there are options like installing solar panels and insulation which will help make the property more efficient but require investment from your landlord. There may also be subsidies available for property owners which they may not be aware of.
As the cost of living increases, it is more important to live as economically as possible, as well as environmentally friendly. By monitoring how we use energy, and by making our homes energy efficient, we are winning, both financially and for our environment.