The benefits of having an energy efficient home are two-fold; you get to save money, while also doing your bit for the environment.
The best way of reducing the energy consumption in your home is to start looking from the outside in. If you improve the walls, roof, windows and doors first, then you’ll be able to work on the inside of the home. There is no point fixing the energy consumption inside of the house only to have the heat or cool air leaking through the windows or doors.
Improving the outer layers of the home
Walls: Insulation slows down the heat flowing out of the house in winter, and the heat coming in during summer. If the walls and roof are well insulated, the need to cool the house down or warm it up is lessened. Because of this, your energy consumption is lowered, and so are your energy bills.
If you have hollow walls, or a lot of wall cavities as well as no insulation in the roof the air will just flow in and out of the house and you will end up being cold in winter and hot in summer.
Outside: If you don’t have insulation and your home is made of an older clad, trees could help you. Planting large shade trees around the home near the walls, will stop the direct sunlight hitting the walls and heating up the inside of the home too quickly. Make sure the trees are deciduous, meaning they drop their leaves in winter, so that the tree doesn’t block the weaker winter sun. If you don’t have any suitable trees and your yard is overgrown, start by organising for your rubbish removal bins in Melbourne to arrive and clearing the space, and then planting some trees from your local nursery.
Doors and windows: Install door sweeps at the bottom of any external doors to stop the flow of air that is escaping (or entering) the home. If you are heating your home using a gas or electrical heater, you don’t want the warm air to simply escape underneath the front door. Windows also need to be sealed in order to be the most energy efficient.
If you are close to needing to replace your windows, look into special energy efficient windows. Double-glazed windows stop a lot of the heat from escaping or getting in, and if you have a lot of windows in the home this could make a pretty big difference. However, replacing every window in your home isn’t a cheap option, so you would only want to do this if they need replacing anyway. If not, the next best step is to remove window caulk and put a fresh seal in place.
Improving the systems inside the home
Replace your light bulbs: As each light globe blows in your house, replace it with an energy efficient option instead. Although energy saving light bulbs (compact fluorescent lamps) are more expensive to buy, they will end up saving you money in the long run. They have a longer lifespan, meaning you don’t need to continue purchasing them as often as the cheaper bulbs. They also use a lot less electricity over the course of the lifespan, meaning your energy bills are lower and the cost of the light bulb pays for itself. Meanwhile, you are saving about a third of electricity usage which is great news for the environment.
Cut down on appliances: The more appliances you have plugged in; the more electricity is being used up. Even if the appliance isn’t being used or isn’t switched on, it is still using electricity just by being plugged in. So if you have appliances plugged in that you don’t really use or need, unplug them and store them away. Better yet, cut down on clutter in your household by donating the unwanted items to charity. One of the most common mistakes people make is to keep a spare refrigerator running in the garage or laundry. Usually this is an old fridge they’ve kept for drinks and parties. However, fridges are really expensive to run so whether it is jam-packed or empty, it will be costing you money. Perhaps work out a different way of cooling your drinks during parties, such as eskies with ice-bags inside.
Hot water system: New houses are now built as energy efficient as possible under modern guidelines. This includes having a rainwater tank as well as good hot water systems.
After heating and cooling, hot water systems make up the second biggest segment of household energy usage. If you have an older house, your hot water system may not be the most efficient way to heat your water. When you are due to replace it, make sure you shop around to find the best hot water system that is the most energy efficient. Until then, set your system to warm water, instead of hot, and insulate the hot water lines so the water stays warm between uses.
As you can see, some of these things are super easy to install or implement, but they will make a huge impact on the environment – and your energy bill!