The cost of living is high, and COVID certainly isn’t making it easier for every day Australians to get ahead. With that in mind, why not try to save money on one of your most regular home expenses – your utilities!
Greening your home doesn’t have to be expensive, and is almost guaranteed to save you money in the short and long term. Your house doesn’t need to be new either – there are plenty of ways older homes can be made more energy efficient. Spending more time at home during COVID presents a unique opportunity to get stuck into these simple projects that would otherwise fall by the wayside in the ‘busy-ness’ of life.
Below are 10 simple eco-friendly home improvements you can get started on today.
1. Caulk those draughts away
Draughts around the house are one of the major reasons why many rooms can feel cold and uncomfortable. It’ll only cost you a couple of dollars and a few hours of your time, but caulking around windows and doors that leak air is probably one the easiest ways to see a drastic change to your house’s energy efficiency, particularly when it comes to heating and cooling. The easiest way to check for air leaks is to light a candle around suspected windows and exterior doors. If the flame dances around, there is air flow and you have a leak.
2. Double-glaze your windows
If you haven’t already, consider double-glazing your windows. Not only will this reduce your heat loss or gain by up to 30% when compared to single-glazed windows, it can also help reduce noise from outside by up to 90%!
3. Make sure you’re well-insulated
Insulation creates a barrier to heat gain and loss. Ceilings, roofs, floors, and walls all benefit from insulation. It’s a money-saving and practical way to keep your home cooler in the winter and hotter in the summer. There’s a lot of different types of insulation out there, so find one that suits your needs. There is everything from fibre glass batts and radiant barrier to spray foam and recycled paper products all designed for various locations in the home.
4. Invest in LED lights
LED lights are unquestionably worth the investment. LEDs use a staggering 75% less energy than halogen light bulbs and last 5 to 10 times longer, greatly reducing replacement costs and the number of light bulbs ending up in landfill. The up-front cost of LEDs generally has a payback time of less than 1 year. Many states, including Victoria and NSW, have government subsidised LED replacement programs.
5. Consider adding solar panels
You probably saw this coming but really, solar panels are a fantastic way to save money on your energy bills. They use the suns natural rays as an energy source and then convert that into electricity for your home. Not only do they significantly reduce your energy bills and have a short payback period of under 5 years on average, they also add value to your property and protect the environment to boot!
Don’t have the money for solar right now? Don’t let that stop you from making a great investment. Many solar installers now offer $0 upfront interest-free loans where you can pay off your system in small monthly instalments.
There are also federal and state government rebates and incentives that can knock thousands off your upfront costs.
6. Install a solar hot water system
If you have the space and resources, consider installing a solar heating system for your hot water. Using solar energy to heat water is an effective way to use Australia’s abundant sunshine, save energy, save money and cut greenhouse gas emissions. On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%.
7. Choose water and energy-efficient appliances and fixtures
If you’re replacing any of your home’s major appliances or fixtures, consider choosing ones with a high Energy Rating or one that is regulated under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS). This can include fridges, washing machines, dishwashers showers, toilet suites, urinals, taps and flow controllers – all of which are responsible for a significant amount of energy and water consumption in the average Australian household each year. Repair or upgrade? Sometimes it may be worth repairing older appliances if they are still in good working condition, but it’s probably worth upgrading to a new, more efficient model when you consider factors such as repair costs, warranty and long-term energy costs.
8. Fix water leaks
Household leaks waste millions of litres of water annually in Australia. We’ve all had that pesky dripping tap or leaking shower head that we’ve ignored, but you would be surprised to learn just how much money this is adding to your water bills. Make sure that any leaks around the house are fixed. Whether it’s a broken tap or bad seal on your toilet cistern, getting these issues under control can save you an absolute tonne of money each year!
9. Get smart
Oftentimes we’re oblivious to our energy usage habits and the impact they have on our energy bills. If you want an easy way to track and understand your consumption, consider installing a smart meter. While a smart meter itself can’t lower your energy bills, it allows households to monitor their usage and adjust their consumption habits to maximise savings. You can arrange a smart meter through your energy supplier.
10. Check your energy provider
Considering most of us (even those with solar) will have to rely on the grid for energy at least some of the time, it’s important you shop around at least every 6 months to ensure you are getting a good energy deal. Remember, energy providers capitalise on our inattention to quietly increase prices. Our free energy comparison tool is the fastest and easiest way to compare your energy deal with over 95% of Australian energy retailers.
Here at Energy Matters, we believe in a zero-carbon future. As an advocate for sustainable, affordable and greener energy solutions, we will always recommend that Australians make the switch from the grid to a solar PV system.
For more information on how you can save money with green energy, please contact our friendly team on 1800 EMATTERS. You can also receive up to 3 free, obligation-free quotes from trusted local solar installers – it’ll only take you a few minutes!