Energy Efficiency: Saving over Summer

Written and accurate as at: 10 January 2016

Making your home more energy efficient can create long-term savings and reduce environmental impact. There are many different ways to achieve this, some involve minor adjustments around the house and others bigger outlays. Not all options will be suitable for all homes, and different options will have different costs and benefits.

A popular option for many homes is the installation of solar panels. Normally installed on the roof, solar panels help reduce electricity costs, give you independence over your energy usage and may enhance property value. Where your home produces more electricity than it requires, check if you are eligible to receive payment from the Government in your state.

Insulation is an option well worth considering. A well-insulated home will stay cooler in the summer months and warmer in the winter, meaning a long-term decrease in air conditioner use and lower heating costs. Depending on your home, you may have options to insulate any or a combination of ceilings, walls and floors. Do your research regarding which insulation is best for your home.

Ensuring that windows are not letting in the heat or the cold can help create a balanced indoor climate making a difference through the year. There is a wide range of options to choose from which may suit different needs, whether it’s installing window shades, curtains, film or double glazing.

Those with older homes may also wish to review the age and efficiency of their hot water system by doing some research online. A hot water system generally uses more energy than all the other appliances in the house, and a system that is out of date can use up to 80% more energy than a new one that is energy efficient.

For bigger properties that tend to require large amounts of water to maintain, recycling water or installing a rainwater tank may be a useful way to save on water bills. Available in a range of sizes and materials, rainwater tanks can provide water for the toilet, laundry, in the pool and for irrigation.

When reviewing energy efficiency measures for your property, keep in mind that there can be significant upfront costs. However these costs can be worthwhile when savings are considered over the long-term, and can enhance the value of your home. Some measures require maintenance services and these expenses should factor into your evaluation. Also, the condition of your home, including how old it is and how it has been built, is a factor that influences where the greatest energy savings can be made in your house as well as what kind of energy efficiency measures can be implemented structurally.

If the measures listed above are not suitable for your home right now, some basic measures that you can act on today include:

  • Installing energy efficient light bulbs
  • Sealing doors and windows
  • Closing off rooms you are not using (to save air conditioning)
  • Using a clothes line to dry your clothes
  • Timing your showers
  • Putting a cover on your pool when not in use
  • Checking the energy saving star rating on appliances

You may also want to do an audit of your energy usage around the home or contact your local council to see if they offer this service. Governments in each state also offer a variety of rebates, benefits and resources for reducing energy use in the home which you can read more about on their website. Start doing your research now and see what’s available to you to make next summer a little easier on the pocket.