Energy efficiency and why you should care by: JK | Mon 26 Apr

Energy efficiency sounds like a really dry topic but, if you think about it, by ignoring the way you use energy, you could be throwing money away!

Domestic electricity use accounts for 42% of all domestic energy consumption but 83% of domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is as a result of our extremely dirty electricity generation using coal especially brown coal in Victoria.
If we can reduce our energy consumption, we stand to save more than just money, we will also reduce our GHG emissions.

Take light bulbs as an easy case in point. A 75W incandescent light can be replaced with a 15W compact fluorescent bulb. Now that doesn’t sound like much of a saving (60W) but, if you have that light on for 4 hours a night, that’s 240Wh (Watt-hours) per night saving. At 15c per kWh (kilowatt-hour) – a cheap rate for energy and one that will only go up – this works out to $0.25 per week or a little over $13 per year for just one light. Multiply that by the number of lights in your house and it really adds up!
(Note that there is no degradation in lifestyle resulting from this.)

“Phantom” loads are another. Devices that are ON when they are notionally OFF – these include phone chargers, DVD players, TVs, computers, microwaves etc. In fact, anything that has a light or clock display ON when it’s OFF.
It is estimated that these contribute between 5 and 10% of all energy used in the domestic sector. Now, if the government is suggesting we should reduce our emissions by 5%, then dealing with phantom loads will provide this result from the domestic energy area – again with no degradation in lifestyle.
I did an energy audit on a friend’s house during my Renewable Energy course and found a PC using 29W when notionally OFF. This computer was on for 2 hours a day and off for 22 hours – it was costing them $35 per year when OFF!
For microwaves that get used infrequently, it is often the case that the energy to run the display exceeds the energy used to cook food on an annual basis. Ask yourself, do you REALLY need another expensive clock in your house?

That’s all for now. I’ll give you all another rant at some later date. 🙂

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