By: Kathy Brown

The impact of human consumption on the environment has in the last few decades become a massive global concern. While some aspects of changing our daily lives and what we have become accustomed to still largely depends on the intervention from governing bodies, there are many small changes that we can implement in our day-to-day lives to relieve some strain on the environment as well as save us some money.

Here follow a few handy tips on saving energy (and money spent on utilities) at home.

Lighting
Even though lighting only amounts to between 8 – 15% of the average electricity bill, becoming more efficient in this regard will add up to your total savings.
– Switch to energy-efficient globes which use around 80% less energy compared to old-style globes and will prove to last up to 10 times longer too.
– Instead of lighting a whole room, opt for using reading lamps or allowing more natural light in.

Hot Water
On average, 25% of household energy use is by heating water. Implementing a cutback in this regard will have a noticeable impact on your utility bills.
– Set the correct temperature on the thermostats of your hot water system. No more than 50°C for instantaneous systems and 60°C for storage systems are recommended.
– When installing or replacing a hot water system, research and choose an energy efficient option.
– Turn off your hot water system when you go away.
– Installing water-efficient showerheads can save a 2-person household up to $160 per year on their water and energy bills.

Appliances
Appliances like fridges, washing machines and dishwashers can account for up to 30% of a household’s energy consumption and cost. Therefore, the make and model of your appliances and the way you use them will make a huge difference.
– Before replacing an appliance, compare the running costs. A higher-rated model may cost more upfront but will reduce energy use and total costs in the long run.
– Use your appliances more (energy) efficiently. Examples include washing clothes in cold water, setting fridge temperatures to 4-5°C and freezer temperatures to -15 to -18°C and using the economic cycle on the dishwasher.

Heating/Cooling
The largest percentage (40%) of home energy consumption goes to heating and cooling, therefore any economising in this area will make a substantial difference to your overall bill.
– Control your climate by setting the heating or cooling to efficient temperatures. Between 18 – 20°C in winter and between 24 – 26°C in summer is recommended. Remember that each 1°C increase in heating and 1°C in cooling can increase energy use up to 10%.
– Air leaking can add up to 25% to your energy bill, therefore something as simple as sealing gaps and cracks can make a huge difference.
– Did you know that using a fan costs only about 2 cents per hour? This is far less than the air conditioner.

For more ideas or help on becoming more energy efficient at home – please give us a call today and we can assist in offering our insights and recommendations for making these changes possible.