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I have a dream that one day Ash and I will live in a 100% sustainable home. At the moment, I feel like it’s kind of an impossible dream, because there are so many things I know would need to change. Let’s be honest, talking about “going green” is one thing, actually doing it is a whole other ballgame.
Just because I’m not prepared to go the whole 9 yards with sustainable living right now, doesn’t mean we don’t do as much as we can to cut our energy usage in our normal everyday lives. Most of the changes we have made are small, and quite easy to do.
GET STRATEGIC WITH CLIMATE CONTROL
Think about your home in terms of zones, (my electrician taught me that). You don’t need the heating or air-con on in all the rooms at once, right? So focus on the rooms you’re actually going to be using. Some people are keen on ensuring that every room is the perfect temperature, but Ash and I tend to stick to one main room most of the time, so it’s just a waste to heat rooms we’re not actually using that much. This wastes energy (and, y’know, money).
A lot of new thermostats allow you to actually divide your home into particular zones using their interface, allowing you to be much more selective when it comes to heating and cooling. This tech isn’t quite cheap enough to be in every home yet, though! So for people like me, I just shut the doors to the rooms we are not using. We have a reverse cycle air-conditioning that we use for our heating, so any rooms that are not open are not being heated.
KEEP THE REFRIGERATOR FULL
One of the things that bugs me like crazy, is people standing in front of an open fridge for a length of time while they decide what to eat. When you open the refrigerator, warm air rushes in. It may not seem like it has that big of an effect, but it does. Once the refrigerator is closed, it uses more energy in order to take the air back down to the preferred temperature. This process uses more electricity than you might think! When you keep your refrigerator well-stocked, there’s not so much air space. This means there’s much less room for the warm air to enter and interfere with things! However, cramming it too much means that the refrigerator needs to use more power to circulate the cool air. So remember: well-stocked, but not crammed!
You know there’s sun shining on your roof for most of the day, right? All it’s doing is baking your roof tiles and making your home hot. Surely there’s something else you can do with all that sunlight, right? Solar panels. We recently had solar panels installed on our roof, which I have wanted for the longest time, and I cannot say enough about how happy I am with them.
But how can solar work for you? In a lot of ways, actually. Obviously, do your homework. I had no idea until I started the process, there is a lot of information to take in. There are a lot of options out there, but we decided to go with a system that had us using as little electricity from the grid as we could, and the ability to have electricity if a black out occurred.
A lot of people actually overestimate the power use of not switching things off and leaving them on standby. In our home, if it’s not being used, then it is not switched on. This not only saves you energy, it will also save you $200+ yearly, which I’m quite happy to hang onto. Televisions, game consoles, and PCs being left on standby do use more energy than many people seem to think! Remember that many modern gadgets appear to be off but actually remain in a state of very low-level standby (the Xbox One is a good example). So you’ll have to switch them off at the mains or unplug them completely!
REPLACE YOUR LIGHT BULBS
No doubt heard this piece of advice before. It seems to be the first thing people mention. The fact is that most people make a mental note, but then decide to leave it until their current light bulbs have died. #guilty. The other thing that stops a lot of people is that they tried this a few years back, but found that the energy efficient bulbs weren’t really as bright as they needed them to be. However, energy efficient bulbs have gotten much more powerful over the years.The difference the switch make to your energy use over the course of a year shouldn’t be underestimated!