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Energy efficient homes: 6 tips to save costs

Energy efficient homes are a great way to save energy costs. Most people are interested in making their home more energy efficient, not only to save on their own energy costs but to also help save the earth’s resources.

We’ve pulled together 6 energy efficient house tips that can help you cut your energy bill.

1. Energy efficient lights

When it comes to lighting, the best way to save money is to switch off lights when not using them and to replace old bulbs with energy efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. LEDs last longer and use less energy than Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). As with all new innovations, LEDs are more expensive to purchase than CFLs, although manufacturing costs – and hence the retail price - are rapidly falling.

LED bulbs can also last between 35-50 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and 2-5 times longer than fluorescent lights, so even if you pay more for them at purchase, you save money over time. Read more about LED lighting for your business.

2. Insulate ceilings, walls and floors

Approximately one-third of the cost of heating your home is lost through walls and ceilings. Insulation is a great step towards attaining an energy efficient house and therefore save money, because insulation acts as a barrier to heat loss and heat gain, especially in ceilings, walls and floors. If your home has inadequate insulation, heat escapes during winter and unwanted heat gets inside during summer.

There are many suitable materials to insulate walls, ceilings and floors that provide effective resistance to heat flow. By reducing the flow of heat, insulation keeps your home temperature more stable and so minimises the need for heating and cooling. Think of it like an esky in summer and a thermos in winter.

3. Reduce the temperature on your thermostat

Is there such a thing as an energy efficient fashionista? By dressing for the weather you can also save money. In winter – wear extra layers and turn down your heating thermostat. Setting your thermostat between 18-20°C can help decrease running costs by up to 10 per cent.

Alternatively, on the hot days of summer try wearing lighter, cotton clothing and keep the thermostat of your air conditioner between 24°C – 26°C. Every one degree by which you decrease your thermostat will save you money.

4. Install an energy efficient hot water system

Hot water accounts for approximately 16% of the average Victorian household’s energy costs. By installing an energy efficient hot water system, and using it wisely, you can significantly reduce your bill.

When it comes to choosing an energy efficient hot water system, important things to consider include household size, preference for instantaneous or storage systems, and budget. Here’s some information to help you select the right replacement hot water system.

5. Install a Standby Power Controller (SPC)

If an appliance shows a red light when it is not in use, it is using power. Switch off appliances at the wall to save money, or install a Standby Power Controller (SPC). Similar to a power board, an SPC is a device that monitors power consumption of a master appliance such as a TV or computer and switches off the power supply of controlled appliances such as printers, scanners and DVD players plugged into the same board.

SPCs help save energy by automatically switching off the controlled equipment connected to the device when it detects the master unit is in standby mode. For more information, including a list of accredited installers, see the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme’s website.

6. Operating costs of electrical appliances

In addition to the tips given above, it’s useful to know the typical running costs for common electrical appliances. A useful resource is the brochure Operating costs of electrical appliances. The estimates in the brochure are based on the needs of a four person family in Victoria. Of course, your own running costs may vary somewhat from these, depending on factors such as climatic conditions, thermostat settings, family size and the age and efficiency of the appliance. Frequently, older appliances are much less energy efficient than newer ones.

The brochure details hourly running costs so each family can calculate both their monthly and annual running costs. However, for appliances such as hot water systems, refrigerators, heating and cooling systems – that run for extensive periods of time – only monthly running costs are available. This is because it is more difficult to estimate the hourly costs. To learn more, read our article on how energy efficient appliances save power.

For more information about reducing your energy costs in general, take a look at these tips and ideas to save energy.

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