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Making your home more energy efficient will mean you use less electricity and/or gas to produce the same or higher level of comfort and convenience. This can significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on power and will also reduce your carbon footprint.
Investing in energy saving and efficiency measures can also increase the resale value of your property.
Talk to your local council about borrowing their Home Energy Audit Toolkit (HEAT). Many Tasmanian councils offer these on loan, free of charge. The Toolkit can help you assess your household energy use patterns and make changes to reduce energy use and save money. The kit contains tools to assess your energy use, including:
Insulation helps keep your house warm in winter and cool in summer. Start by installing or topping up floor, ceiling and underfloor insulation. Thick batts are usually most appropriate for the Tasmanian climate. Insulating your hot water cylinder and pipes, particularly if they are located outside, will also reduce heat loss and save you money.
A great deal of heat can be lost through windows even whilst closed. Double-glazing traps heat between two layers of glass, helping to prevent heat loss while allowing the sun to warm the inside of the house. As double-glazing can be expensive, more economical options include installing a window film that mimics double-glazing, or pelmets and thick curtains that can be closed when the sun sets.
Added together, all the small air leaks around your house could be the same as always leaving a door wide open. Apply weather stripping tape to the edges of doors and windows, seal along the joins between floors and skirting boards, and cover plaster vents in the walls of older houses. Use a draught-stopper or door snake to stop draughts under doors.
Solar panels (also known as photovoltaics or PVs) and solar hot water systems can help reduce your household energy costs. Choose the right-sized system to suit your needs and make sure the panels face north to maximise the benefits. To learn more, visit the Clean Energy Council website for information about solar energy and battery storage.
When you replace appliances such as fridges, dishwashers, clothes dryers and washing machines, choose models with the highest number of stars on the energy rating label. The greater number of stars, the less energy the appliance will use, saving you money over the full life of the appliance.
Heating and cooling make up around half of the average Tasmanian household's energy use. Choose an efficient heating system that suits your family’s needs and use a thermostat to regulate the temperature. Turning the heating down by just one degree can save up to 10 per cent on your power bill. Turn your heat pump off during the night or when you are out for the day.
Energy efficient LED globes use about one-tenth of the energy of old-style incandescent globes and last for about 16,000 hours (compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent). They come in a range of styles and colours and can also be used to replace halogen down-lights and dimmer lights.
If you wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine, dryer or dishwasher, you will save water and power. Instead of using the clothes dryer, hang your clothes on a clothes line or airer.
If you rent your home you can still take action to reduce your energy use. For example, you can use draught-stoppers, choose energy-efficient appliances, turn down your heating thermostat, and change your light bulbs to LED.
More tips for your home: