Sustainable living is where it’s at if you not only want to do your bit for the planet, but also save money. The question, of course, is how to go about it. Following is a quick guide that will set you on the road to sustainability.
Install energy-efficient LED lights and not only will you save on your power bills, but you won’t have to climb the ladder to change globes anywhere near as often. LEDs can reduce your lighting costs by up to 80 per cent.
If your house isn’t insulated, get it done now. If you’re about to build, spend the money and you’ll not only be warmer in winter and cooler in summer but you won’t spend anywhere near as much on air conditioning, fans and heaters. Properly insulating your home can save you up to 45 per cent on heating and cooling bills according to Energy Australia.
Trees are natural air conditioners, and they also look great. But if you can’t plant some greenery next to the house, consider putting in some sunshades over the windows or (if the budget allows) a verandah. This can block up to 90 per cent of the sun’s heat.
If you’re about to build or put on an extension, then take the time to think carefully about the materials you use. This can not only increase your home’s thermal comfort and energy-efficiency, it can reduce your environmental impact. Look for options that are made from recycled materials or that can be recycled in the future. Another thing to consider is the manufacturing process and the steps taken by the company to minimise its environmental impact.
Double-glazed windows my cost more initially, but they can reduce your heat loss by up to 50 per cent, meaning you’ll save in the long-term with reduced power bills.
If you minimise heat and cooling loss by sealing your home’s doors and windows against draughts, you can reduce your energy bills by up to 25 per cent.
Take special note of the energy stars and water drops when looking for new appliances. This will save power and water, which is good for your bank balance and the environment.
Heating and cooling
There’s more to controlling the temperature than air conditioners or heaters. If you’re still in the planning stages before building a new home or an extension, look at passive design. This takes advantage of natural cooling and heating such as allowing the low northern sun to heat the house during the day in winter, while positioning the building correctly will allow cool breezes to enter. This can reduce energy use by up to 40 per cent according to Energy Australia.