Home Energy Efficiency Basics
Home Energy Efficiency Basics
It is not in your energy suppliers financial interests for you to discover how you can reduce your energy consumption so don’t be waiting at your letter box everyday for a brochure from your electricity retailer with tricks to slash your electricity bill. That letter is definitely not in the mail.
It is in their best interests for you to consume even more energy than you currently do. If your desire is to reduce your electricity bill, then there are a number of factors for you to consider. Below is an overview of the major factors that have an effect on the amount of electricity your household will consume. Some factors you may be able to address and thereby reduce your expenditure whilst changing other factors may not be afforded to you. Buying/owning a home has its benefits when seeking ways to reduce the home’s energy consumption, however, even those who rent can reduce their electricity bills when they discover what to do and also what not to do. I won’t go into the detail here as I have done that elsewhere however you can know at a glance what factors you can address and which ones you can’t. Whatever your circumstances there is usually room for improvement.
1. A Home’s Thermal Performance. “How many miles to the gallon does your home get“? If the home you live in is poorly designed it may need auxiliary heating in the winter and cooling in the summer to keep the inside temperatures within a comfortable range. A home’s (a) Orientation, (b) Placement of thermal mass, (c) Glazing particulars eg, size, type and location of windows and (d) Insulation levels, all contribute to the buildings thermal performance. A home’s thermal performance refers to how consistent a home’s temperature stays throughout the seasons. In Australia all new homes require a (NatHERS) star rating of 6 before building approval will be considered. The star rating is out of a possible 10. The higher the rating the more thermally stable the home will be through the seasons and therefore the less energy will be required to keep the inside temperatures within the comfort zone. If a home is thermally stable all year round, then very little energy will be needed to make it livable. If however you live in a home located in eg. Northern Queensland Australia, that has windows exposed to the western sun on a summers afternoon; then the cost of running an air conditioner in the summer may be an expensive reality for you. Whether you own or rent, you cannot change the orientation of a home once it has been constructed. The orientation of a home relates to the way the home is situated on the land relative to the equator. If you want a smaller electrical bill, then it’s best not to buy, build or rent a home with poor thermal performance.
2. Pay less per Kilowatt Hour
Well there’s a no brainer. Get a better deal from either your current or another electricity retailer. Paying less for your electricity will reduce your bill. Make some phone calls. Energy retailers want your business. You are the one who is in demand so use this staus to your advantage where you can.
3. Use the most efficient appliances you can afford. Newer appliances are generally more energy efficient so they tend to use less electricity to perform the same function. The star rating found on electrical goods gives an indication of how efficiently they should perform. The numbers showing the kWh usage per year is indicative of how much electricity the appliance should consume over a given length of time. You will almost always use more than is advised because the test conditions rarely include real world usage. The more stars on the appliance’s sticker, the less electricity should be consumed to do the same job that another appliance with less stars would require. Using LED lighting and replacing or taking the old bar fridge with the leaky seals to the dump will make a difference. Consider rethinking how to access your hot water supply.
4. Efficient Practices. Leaving the TV on all day or air conditioning a room with the doors left open is not being energy efficient. Sealing under doors between rooms that are either heated or cooled will reduce your electricity bills. Yes, doing the simple things makes a very noticeable difference. Don’t fill the kettle to full for just one person. Close window curtains in the winter time to restrict heat lost through the glass. Don’t leave anything turned on that you are not using . Have a look around your house and consider your behaviour to identify where you can reduce your electrical consumption.
5. Solar Panels are now paying for themselves in a few years if used correctly. Solar Panels in the right climate zone can produce a kWh of electricity for 5 to 10 cents so using what electricity your panels produce, as they produce it, is economically viable for most families over the long term. The more expensive the grid electricity costs a consumer, the quicker the Photovoltaic Panels (PV) (Solar Panels) will pay themselves off.
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