Energy Use and Savings
Energy efficiency ideas at home and work.
Learn ways to reduce your electricity bills here at www.switchon.vic.gov.au
Find ways to live sustainably here at www.sustainablelivingguide.com.au
Building A New Home
If you are planning to build or buy a new home, it is best to design and build the house with sustainability at the start. The Your Home Technical Manual is a good reference.
The best way to save money in the long-term is to consider principles of energy efficiency from the beginning, and consider the operational costs long term. You can reduce your ongoing electricity costs if you consider: house orientation (to maximise north); building materials and thermal mass; appliances with a high star rating; insulation (roof, walls and underfloor); energy efficient lighting (LED) and window coverings such as heavy curtains with pelmets. Install these items during construction.
Even your choice of windows can make a big difference to your overall energy efficiency and ongoing electricity bills, and think about the size of your house (smaller houses use less energy for heating and cooling). Also consider that typically 25% of household electricity is from heating water, so consider a solar hotwater system or don't get a system too big for your needs.
Alternatively it is possible to retrofit an existing house to make it more energy efficient:
- Switch off appliances at the wall to avoid standby electricity.
- Buy energy efficient whitegoods with a high star rating. This will make a very big difference to the energy consumed over the life of the appliance and will save you money.
- Sign up to buy GreenPower from your electricity retailer.
- Install insulation in your home. It will make your home a lot more comfortable in summer and winter and reduce heating and cooling costs.
- Install a solar hot water heater as water heating typically accounts for 25% of your electricity.
- Install energy efficient lighting (LED and CFL).
- Consider switching to Natural Gas if it’s available in your area.
- Use transport thoughtfully and walk where you can.
- Borrow a Power Mate from your local library to conduct your own energy audit. (Power Mates enable residents to measure electricity use and greenhouse emissions, and display the cost of running household appliances over a month, quarter and year).
- Buy locally-grown produce to reduce the amount of energy used in transport, or grow your own fruit and vegies.
- Pool and spa pumps are a significant contributor to CO2 emissions from residential homes, increasing an average home’s energy consumption by up to 30%.
If you are renting there are many options to reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions. While you might not be able to install solar power without your landlords permission, you can still undertake draft proofing or choose GreenPower on your electricity account to reduce your emissions. The following links contain useful information: Green Renters website and the The Victorian Green Renters Guide.
Many people in East Gippsland spend a lot of time at work. There are many opportunities for small and medium businesses to become more energy efficient, and many business tenants are moving into or asking for green buildings. Improved comfort conditions from more natural light and ventilation, greater thermal control and unwanted noise reduction, leads to better staff productivity.
Save up to $35 per year per computer by selecting equipment that is more energy-efficient, and look for the Energy Star logo. Also:
- Save up to $120 a year by switching off office equipment at the end of the day. Leaving office equipment switched on out of hours can increase your bills.
- Save up to $20 per year on every computer monitor in your business by turning them off whenever possible - screen savers don’t save energy and the monitor sometimes uses more energy than the computer itself.
- Achieve up to 80% of energy savings by installing compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) instead of standard light bulbs or halogen downlights.
- Save up to $40 per year on the cost of operating your photocopier by using double sided photocopying and printing. Source: TruEnergy.
Heating and Cooling
Potential savings of around $180 to $400 a year can be made by keeping external doors closed. Leaving doors open can waste as much heat as leaving your heating running overnight. Also:
- Save up to $60 per year by resetting your thermostats for cooling. The most comfortable and economical setting for cooling is 24-25C. For each degree lower, cooling costs rise by up to 20%. And remember to switch off all cooling at night.
- Save up to $700 per year by turning off heating when it's not required, including at night and weekends. A programmed thermostat that sets your heating systems to be operations approximately 30 minutes prior to commencement of work is far more energy efficient that operating heating all night. Source: TruEnergy
An energy audit can be undertaken to fine quick ways to make energy savings. East Gippsland Shire Council has undertaken energy audits on its eight highest energy consuming buildings and facilities.
Opt for GreenPower on your businesses electricity account to help drive demand and grow the renewable energy sector. GreenPower is the ability to purchase renewable energy as part of your electricity bill, usually without the need to change your energy supplier.
When next updating fleet vehicles, use the Green Vehicle Guide to compare new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions. The Australian transport sector accounts for around 76 million tonnes of Australia's total net greenhouse gas emissions or 13.5 per cent of Australia's total emissions.
For new cars consider a hybrid (part electric and part petrol), or a high-efficiency diesel model. Hybrids can reduce emissions by around 40%, and save petrol costs which add up over the life of the car. Make sure fuel savings are considered when calculating the up-front cost of the car.
Check the Green Vehicle Guide and Green Car Sales website for more information.
Eco Driving Tips
- Slow down! At 110 km/h your car uses up to 25% more petrol than it would cruising at 90 km/h
- Where possible, use public transport or share car journeys where you can. For short trips, consider walking or riding a bicycle
- When you do need to use the car, plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips
- Offset your car's emissions. If you want to reduce your emissions to effectively zero, consider carbon offsets.
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Resource Smart Victoria Business
Business Victoria follow links to Grants and Opportunities and then Environment and Sustainability Programs
Environmental Protection Authority (Victoria)
Good Environmental Choice Australia
Green Building Council of Australia
Sustainable living facts sheets from Clean Up Australia Day
Bairnsdale example of a sustainable house
Australian Conservation Foundation's consumption Atlas
Resource Smart Victoria - and follow links to Households, then Building and Renovation
Make Your Home Green
Department of Primary Industries - information about electricity including smart meters and renewable energy feed-in tariffs in Victoria
Federal Government's Clean Energy Future