Its My Home : 2017
49 48 IT’S MY HOME BEING GREEN It’s not hard W e all play an important role in protecting the environment and saving some money along the way is an added bonus, especially if you have just bought your first home. There are many simple and effective changes that we can all make and they don’t need to cost a lot of money. Small, low cost changes can have a big impact. CHOOSE ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES Energy efficient appliances use less electricity to achieve the same level of performance to similar models with the same size or capacity. As energy prices continue to rise and with the national standards for energy efficiency improving, choosing energy efficient appliances can save you money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most large electric appliances have an Energy Rating Label to help you compare how much electricity the product uses against other similar appliances. The star rating of an appliance is determined from the energy consumption and size of the product - in short, the more stars the better. Sometimes appliances with higher star-ratings can cost a little more to buy, but choosing a cheaper product with fewer stars could end up costing you more in the long run. Most front loader washing machines use less water and need less washing detergent than most top loaders. Although front loaders can cost more to buy, they will save you on energy and detergent costs and are therefore a little kinder to the environment. However, it’s not only about having the most energy-efficient appliance, is also how you use them. LIGHTING One of the easiest ways is to switch to compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs or LED which can last for more than 10 years. These bulbs are readily available at your local hardware or grocery store. Turn off the lights when not required or install sensors so lights in areas like hallways and outside only come on when needed. Insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to control the temperature and save money on your energy bill. Insulation will act as a barrier to the heat flow in your home keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer. The appropriate type of insulation you need will depend on the climate where you live. Adjust the temperature of your air-conditioner depending on the season. Set your thermostat between 24-26°C in summer and 18-20°C in winter. Turn your heating off when you sleep during winter - use more layers or a heat pack. Use ceiling fans instead of, or together with, your air conditioner to spread the cool air more efficiently throughout your home. Your fridge and freezer are some of the biggest energy consumers in your home. An average sized fridge uses up to 10 per cent of your household energy! To make sure they are functioning effectively, set your fridge at around 3-5°C and your freezer to -15 to -18°C. Remember to close the fridge and freezer doors – some of the new models have a sensor to alert you to them being left ajar as leaving them open for just a few extra seconds wastes a lot of energy. Check your off-peak periods – electricity is provided at discounted rates during these specific times. This is a great way to time manage your electricity usage if you can run your dishwasher and use your washing machine during these time periods. Waiting for a full load before using your appliances can also help to reduce energy usage. Wash your clothes in cold water and stop using the clothes dryer. Clothes dried in the sunshine use less energy and last longer as dryers can weaken the fabric’s fibres much faster. Unplug A lot of appliances such as your TV and computer can consume almost as much energy when in standby mode as they do during the relatively small amount of time they're being used. Turn appliances off at the main or install a standby power controller. This device switches off the power supply of appliances that are plugged into the powerboard. Hot water Hot water systems are another large part of your overall energy costs, accounting for approximately 20 per cent of the energy used in the average Australian home. It is also the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions (approximately 22 per cent) from home energy use. Electric water heaters in particular contribute to these high emissions. Reducing the amount of hot water you use and using a more efficient hot water system are great ways to reduce your energy costs and your impact on the environment. Installing water-saving showerheads in your home will reduce the amount of hot water and energy used. Take shorter showers instead of baths. Using cold water instead of warm to wash your clothes can reduce your energy usage by up to five times. COOLING AND HEATING USE APPLIANCES EFFICIENTLY Pictures:Shutterstock,iStockbyGettyImages.