Energy efficiency

You too can become an ‘energy superstar’…


If there are three things you should do, they are insulate, insulate and insulate. It’s probably the best thing you can do to reduce your energy use and create a better, more comfortable living space


If you added together all of the ‘holes’ in the average home’s envelope you would have a 1 m2 hole in the wall!!! If you had a 1 m2 hole in your wall, would you fill it???

Use ‘no more gaps’ or other caulking compound to seal architraves. Your local hardware has oodles of draughtproofing kit to drool over for your windows and doors but buy quality as you don’t want to have to do it again for many years.

Unless you have an unflued gas heater, those vents in the walls can be sealed over as they let heat out in winter (and in in summer).


Between 190C and 260C there is no need to either heat or cool – it’s comfortable. Every degree above 190C you heat (and below 260C you cool) puts an extra 10% on your heating/cooling bill!!!

Use ceiling fans to increase the effective temperature before you cool in summer by 3-40C – use them in reverse mode in winter to mix the hot air at the ceiling with the rest of the air in the room.

Only heat or cool your living areas – bedrooms don’t need heating; you sleep better when the temperature is lower – this is why it’s so difficult to sleep in summer. Cooler temperatures also gives your body the signal to ‘wind down’. Close doors and use door ‘snakes’ to seal off draughts.

Consider getting a heat pump (reverse cycle air conditioner) when your current heater/cooler is up for replacement. Look for a CoP/EER greater than 4.5 – this means that, for every kW of power in, you will get >4.5kW of heating/cooling out.

Hot water

Minimise your hot water use – it takes a LOT of energy to heat water. Use a low flow shower head and limit your showers to 4 minutes. Don’t leave taps (especially hot taps) running unnecessarily – we live in the driest populated continent on the planet and this is likely to get worse with Climate Change! Consider a heat pump or solar hot water system.


Replace your inefficient incandescent lights with compact fluorescents or, even better, LED lights. Look for greater than 80 lumens per watt in LED lighting.

Halogen downlights make great heaters – that’s why they start house fires! That’s also why you have holes in your insulation where every downlight is making your insulation look more like swiss cheese!!!

LEDs, on the other hand, make great lights and you can then cover the bulb with a “downmitt” to restore your insulation back to a semblance of usefulness.

Standby loads

About 5% of your energy bill is from appliances that are ‘on’ even when they’re ‘off’ – think TV’s, heat pumps, dvd players, phone chargers, washing machines and dryers – in fact anything that either has a light on or stays warm is using energy unnecessarily. Turn them off at the switch to save.

4W that is on 24×7 costs $10 pa!!!


Ride a bike, walk, catch public transport – use a car as a last resort and you’ll save heaps. Consider getting rid of your second (or first) car and joining a car share program. (GoGet, FlexiCar or others)

Interesting fact: 1 litre of petrol has the energy equivalent of 4 Australian adult RDI (recommended daily intake)!!!


Cook in bulk – it uses very little extra energy and you can have YMCA food (yesterday’s meal cooked again). If you would rather not have the same thing 2 nights running, you can store in the fridge or freeze it. If you freeze it, get it out 24 hours before you need to use it and store it in the fridge – as it defrosts it will reduce the load on your fridge.

Make a shopping list and stick to it – you’ll save heaps. Go shopping with neighbours and buy in bulk to save even more (and you can car share to get there saving fuel as well). Better still, descend on your local food provedore en masse by bicycle!

Consider moving away from gas to induction cooktops – they are just as responsive as gas and are a lot easier to keep clean (but you might find you need to replace your pots).


Do full loads (goes for the dishwasher as well) and hang your clothes to dry – it’s not often that you can’t get it dry outside.

If you have problems, put up a clothes horse – remember those? – as they dry they will rehumidify the air which also helps to alleviate asthma!

If you must use a dryer, make sure the lint filter is cleaned after every load as this will help maintain efficiency and could prevent a fire.

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