The reasons to make your home more energy efficient are seemingly endless, but a few of the more notable include:
- The cost savings that come with needing and paying for less power
- The value that energy efficiency adds to your home
- The reduced impact of an energy-efficient house on the environment
- The higher levels of comfort that smarter ways of heating, cooling, lighting and managing your home will bring
Put simply, by making your home more energy-efficient, you are ensuring that it’s future-proof.
The question then isn’t why you should make your home more energy-efficient, but how? Let’s take a look at seven simple ways that can seriously increase your home’s efficiency.
Install solar panels
There’s no better way to decrease your reliance on the power grid than to create a small one of your own, and as Australia is blessed with world-leading levels of sunshine, solar panels are the most efficient and cost-effective way to do so. With home battery packs becoming more and more economical, these systems can even provide power at night.
What’s more, several Australian states offer grants and rebates on home solar installations, which can make an already great deal - access to free power - an even better one.
Invest in insulation
There’s no higher drain on energy resources than keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.
There are two main ways you can remedy this energy inefficiency, however:
- Consider Hebel over brick: Designed with thermal efficiency in mind, you can expect Hebel to perform well in particularly hot or cold conditions when compared to brick.
- Properly insulate your walls and roof: Insulation has the single most significant effect on your home’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature, so the money spent during construction will quickly be returned through lower power bills.
Select appliances wisely
Use the star system for energy efficiency to find the most efficient electrical appliances possible. Big-ticket items that use a lot of energy, like air conditioners and water heaters, are worth investing in to get a model with a good rating, as these appliances will pay the extra spend back very quickly.
Don’t forget water savings either - carefully selecting your taps, toilets, showerheads, and washing machines can help to reduce your water usage.
The best insulation and heating/cooling system in the world won’t keep your home at a comfortable temperature if it isn’t adequately sealed. Use caulking and weather strips to ensure draughts don’t weasel their way indoors in winter, and cool air doesn’t escape in summer.
Even an old fashioned door snake is a surprisingly effective solution.
Choose energy-efficient lighting
One of the most straightforward solutions to the problem of energy inefficiency is to replace all of your incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient (and longer-lasting) options:
- Halogen: Still incandescent, but 30% more energy-efficient than conventional incandescent bulbs, and longer-lasting.
- Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL): Even longer-lasting and more efficient than halogen, but can fade as time goes by. They are largely superseded by LEDs.
- Light-emitting diode (LED): While LEDs are comfortably the most expensive to buy, the incredible energy efficiency and lifespan - 10x that of CFLs - makes these by far the cheapest and best choice in the long run.
Be mindful of windows
While windows act like your way to get a bit of the outdoors in, sometimes they can take their job a little too seriously, transmitting heat or cold through the glass or via poorly sealed edges.
Double glazing is often treated like an expensive luxury in Australia. Still, the long term cost savings that it can offer through heating and cooling efficiency can drop its true cost significantly. If double glazing your whole home is out of your price range, window films, shutters, and proper sealing around the edges are lower-cost ways to decrease the impact of your windows on your energy use.
The great thing about building a new home is these items will likely be addressed by your builder.
Change bad habits
Cutting your energy use without spending a cent? It’s not too good to be true, but it is a matter of changing habits and exercising self-control. Some small things that you can do to decrease your energy use include:
- Only wash full loads of clothes and dishes
- Using the energy-efficient settings on appliances
- Switching appliances off at the wall
- Setting your air conditioner to 24C-25C rather than 18C-21C
- Letting in natural light, and turning off lights as you leave the room
The easiest time to create an energy-efficient home is during construction when you can ensure efficiency is built into the structure, and that the best appliances and fittings are installed. Moving into your new home is also the perfect time to put energy-efficient habits in place, as this new environment will increase the chances of these new habits sticking.
Do this all successfully, and you’ll enjoy a home with lower running costs and a smaller carbon footprint, but with higher resale value and levels of comfort.
A home that’s future-proof.