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Making your home more energy efficient

Date: 26 January 2018

Making your home more energy efficient is more than just improving heat retention in your home and reducing heating costs, although that alone is very appealing during winter and it is a BIG part of it. It’s also about reducing the amount of electricity you’re using. Not only is this good for you financially, it’s also good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So let’s have a look at some of the ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home.
 

Windows

Glass is a poor insulator, which is why windows are a major source of heat loss. The more heat you lose the harder your heating has to work to warm up the house, sending those power bills up! Here are some ways to improve their performance:

  • Seal any gaps
  • Upgrade to double (or even triple) glazing. If this is too expensive there are other options such as insulating window film, which you can get from places such as Bunnings and that are easy to install yourself; this video shows you how.
  • Invest in thick, properly lined curtains (According to Energywise “Good curtains and blinds can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 60%.”) Make sure you close them as soon as the sun’s gone to trap in any heat from the day
     

Make sure your home is dry

A damp home is so hard to heat. If you can get under your house consider laying down plastic sheeting on top of the dirt to stop dampness rising up from the ground.

Other things that add moisture to your home are cooking, showering and drying the washing on an indoor rack. Investing in a dehumidifier is a good way to counteract this. Yes, you will be using electricity/energy to power this appliance, but it will be counteracted by reduced heating costs and it comes with an added benefit of a dry home being much better for your health.

Insulation

Improving your insulation is better than getting a new heat source and will drastically affect how much energy you’ll need it to expend in heating your home. Ceiling insulation is often the cheapest and easiest to install, it’s also the most effective because heat rises, so start there. Read about all the different types of insulation on the Energywise website. Renovations are a good opportunity to sort out insulation. And even though there are standard levels that you shouldn’t go below, EECA recommend going higher than these as that’s only a base minimum.

Water saving measures

The most obvious is to take shorter showers, but installing a new low-flow showerhead is a very cheap way to be more energy efficient; you’ll save on water usage and make savings on your power bill. Check out the stats.

energy 2

A new washing machine might not be in the budget right now, but when it is time to upgrade do think about getting one that comes with a good energy efficiency rating. Here’s a couple of tips for those who are really conscious about saving water: empty your dehumidifier into the washing machine and use the greywater that comes out of your machine during a wash to water your garden

Something else to consider when it comes to hot water is the temperature you have your hot water cylinder set to. EECA recommend it should be at 60 degrees in the cylinder and no more than 55 degrees when it comes out the faucet. You may need an electrician or plumber to come in and adjust your thermostat.

Appliances

Some appliances need to stay on all day (fridge), some don’t (TV). Those ones are using energy even when they’re on standby. Switch them off at the wall to see some savings.

Whenever it’s time to upgrade to a new appliance, always check the energy star rating. It’s a good way to compare one appliance with another.

Heat pumps have been around for a while now and it’s pretty well accepted they are the most energy efficient and affordable form of heating. If you don’t have one, get one. If you do but it’s over 10 years old there’s no way it will be as energy efficient as the models available today so it could be time to upgrade.

Heated towel rails are a nice luxury but a power sucker that you don’t need on all day. Turning them on for only 4 hours a day can save you well over $100 a year. You can even get timers for towel rails so you can just set it and forget about it.

Go solar

If you live in an area with lots of sun, solar technologies have improved leaps and bounds in recent years and could be well worth considering. Best case scenario, you eliminate water heating costs!

Renovating is an excellent opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of your home as you upgrade building materials, windows, appliances, heating and ventilation etc. Not only will it positively affect your lifestyle while you’re living there, it will add significant value to your home.

If this is something you think is worth considering you'll find our free guide to adding value through renovations really helpful. Download a copy for free now. 

Renovating to add value guide

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