Energy efficiency tips for your household
How do we use energy in our homes?
Most energy in our homes is used for heating and hot water. For
this reason these systems should be addressed first.
Tips below are listed in the order of their best effect for minimum
- Windows can contribute to significant loss of heat. Consider
for windows. It is much cheaper than blinds and does not block
- In winter try your best to make the most of the sunshine that
enters your windows. Explore the possibility Solar
Reflective Heating for all your sun-facing windows
- In summer consider reflective blinds, especially on windows
facing east and west
- Eliminate electric heaters and replace them by heat pumps
(reverse cycle units).
When you use a heat pump - your heat can be up to
80% solar even at night, because 80% heat can come
from the atmosphere outside. Investigate COP (coefficient
of performance) of a heat pump before you buy. Typically,
the smallest units have the highest efficiency (highest COP)
and also they are the quietest and cheapest.
- Replace electric or gas hot water system with evacuated tubes
solar hot water unit. Mains pressure system with 10 year warranty
can cost you as little as $1435 (in Australia) and reduce your
energy costs for years to come. The smartest are systems with
heat exchangers because solar-heated water and water under pressure
that you use are separate circuits.
tube water heaters with heat exchangers do not store the hot water
that you use - they work like "instantaneous" water heaters
and they are best suited to instantaneous boosting.
Make sure that a person who installs the system insulates all
pipework very well. Solar energy is free, but it does not mean
that it should be wasted by lack of insulation.
Instantaneous gas boosting for your solar hot water system is
more energy efficient choice than direct electric regardless whether
you take your power from the grid or not.
Heat pump boosting is the aternative solution, but it is expensive
and wastes energy when hot water is stored.
If you have no room for direct solar hot water system, consider
heat-pump storage unit, making sure that it has high COP (coefficient
of performance). If COP=4 for example, 2/3 (66%) of the energy
heating your water will be solar, even at night. If COP=5, 80%
of energy heating your water will be solar.
- Consider changing your fridge to chest
fridge. It can save you a few kWh per day.
- If you use computer for many ours each day, consider switching
to laptop. Laptops are designed with energy efficiency in mind
to extend their battery life... Battery in your laptop is your
UPS (uninterrrupted power supply) when you power the laptop
from your power point.
- Examine appliances that are on "standby" and are
powered all the time. These appliances can consume 10-20% of
your electricity, and continue to waste energy even when you
are away on holidays. Consider turning these devices at the
power point. Explore wireless-control of power points and grouping
appliances to maximize the convenience of standby power control.