Reduce and save
The burning of fossil fuels generates 98% of Australia's electricity. This produces air pollution and greenhouse gases that have a devastating effect on our environment.
By making an effort to reduce your energy use at home, you will be able to improve the comfort of your home, save money on energy bills and help reduce greenhouse gases without compromising on lifestyle.
The major sources of energy use around the typical Australian home are spread across heating water, heating, cooling and refrigeration, and other electrical appliances. Standby power, lighting and cooking generally make up most of the rest of our household energy bills.
Growing sources of energy used around the home include air conditioning, home entertainment systems, pools/spas, and outdoor lighting.
To make the biggest impact on your energy use and costs, target the biggest sources of energy use around your home first, such as hot water, heating and cooling.
Look for the high impact of no- and low-cost changes that you can make easily. These changes will also help you to carry out household functions more efficiently.
Even if the building you live in is very energy efficient, the way you live inside your home will have a big impact on your energy use and costs.
When replacing or upgrading household items, consider the most energy-efficient appliance you can afford.
Summer energy saving tips
The best time to prepare your house for summer's heat is during spring. Summer often sees increased energy use through running air conditioners, but insulating, minimising heat gain and glazing can help keep heat out.
Ceiling insulation is the most effective barrier against the summer heat. A minimum of R3.5 is recommended for most areas in Victoria. Most Victorian homes already have some form of ceiling insulation; however, if it has been in your roof for a while it may not be performing as well as it could. Measure the height of your existing ceiling insulation. If it is less than 50mm thick, it should be topped up.
Minimise heat gain
Windows can let a lot of heat into your home in summer, especially if you have large unshaded west-, east- or north-facing windows. It's better to stop the sun's heat from hitting the glass than to have to deal with the problem once the heat has already entered your home. The best way to shade your windows depends on which way they face, because as the sun moves through the sky, its height and angle changes.
Three ways to prevent heat gain are:
- external shading (or if that's not possible, internal blinds or curtains)
- landscaping to provide shade
Secondary glazing can be retrofitted to existing windows through the addition of an extra pane of glass or clear acrylic fitted to an existing single glazed window. Secondary glazing can be attached through magnetic strips or built onto the existing frame, and is often a cheaper alternative to double or triple glazing. Depending on the product and its ability to create an air space between the existing window and the second layer, they may be able to mimic the properties of a double glazed window.
Secondary glazing treatments are a popular solution for improving the energy efficiency of heritage windows, as they maintain the existing character.
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