These top 15 energy saving tips range from modifying the building fabric of the home to be more energy efficient, to minor behavioural modifications like turning off the lights when you leave the room.
This list will be order of the simplest,cheapest minor behaviour modifications to bigger structural changes to the building fabric.TOP 15 POWER REDUCING TIPS1. Turn the lights off when you leave the room. This is especially important if you have energy guzzling old fashioned incandescent lights or worse, halogen lights. I have seen people leave on 4 x tastic 500w heat lamps on in the bathroom all day. That's an incredible 2KW or 2000 watts of power being consumed for no reason.2. Let in natural light to the internal space. This will reduce the need for lights during the day.3. Replace all incandescent light bulbs and Halogens with CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) or LED's. They use only around a quarter or less power than the standard 75watt incandescent or 60watt halogen and will last much longer then the standard incandescent or halogens.4. Use Sensor CFL spotlights outside, instead of the old energy inefficient spotlights of yesterday.5. Turnoff all standby power. This is probably the best tip I can give you for reducing your daily electricity consumption. A typical home generally operates at around 10-15% standby power. So if you have a quarterly bill of $400 that means $40-$60 of that bill is standby power which does nothing. It may not sound like much but that's $120-$240 a year just for not turning appliances off at the wall. An easy way to control your standby is to purchase a proper standby power board.6. Choose energy efficient appliances. This doesn't mean throwing out your 5 year old fridge because it only has 2 stars and spending $2500 on one that is 4 star. It means if you are presented with an option of buying a new appliance make sure it has the highest star rating available. So if you have the money and the choice is over a 2 star 50inch plasma TV or a 5 star 50inch Led TV you should get the LED.7. Turn off any second or third fridges not in use. I have found in my energy audits that a lot people have a spare chest freezer or 20 year old rusting fridge with splitting seals in a hot garage. This will account for a considerable chunk of your electricity bill. Often I open the door and there is nothing in there. So the fridge is running and working overtime for no reason.8. Turn off Computer monitors and speakers when not in use. This is an easy one, however most people I come across forget to do this. if you have a Sub-Woofer with a separate power supply be sure to turn that off also when not in use.9. Draft Sealing in Winter. If you are using electric heating in winter be sure to stop any drafts, otherwise you are simply wasting your time and money.10. Use Ceiling fans or Pedestal fans instead of Air-Conditioning. Air-conditioning can be one of the most expensive appliances to run in summer. If are going to use Air-Conditioning in Summer, make sure the room in sealed, the windows are covered and you have insulation in the ceiling.
11. Air-Conditioning Tips Summer.
Buy the right size air-con for your room (Not House-Unless its ducted-If buying ducted make sure it can be zoned).
Buy an energy efficient inverter air-conditioner with a high star rating for cooling and heating.
Set the thermostat between 23 and 26 degrees. Every degree Celsius you set the a/c it increases your consumption by 10%
Re-circulate cool air from inside instead of drawing hot air from outside. If the compressor is outside make sure it's not sitting exposed in the western sun.
Make sure the windows have both internal and external shading.
12. Air-Conditioning Tips Winter.
Set the thermostat to 18-21 degrees
Wear warm clothes to insulate your body so you don't need mechanical heating
Insulate you space as with Air-conditioning in summer tips.
Because hot air rises, if you have a ceiling fan you can turn it on the lowest setting in reverse as this actually pushed the warm air down towards the homes occupants
Avoid electric radiator heaters and electric fan heaters as they are massively expensive. You are better using reverse cycle air conditioning because its much cheaper. (Most people don't know this!)
13.Insulation. Reflective foil type insulation is better in the sub-tropical climates such as Brisbane, whereas the thicker bulk insulation such as wool/fibreglass or polyester is better suited to the more temperate climates such as Toowoomba.14.Windows. There are plenty of things you can do to insulate your windows to stop the heat entering the dwelling during summer and keep it in winter. In summer it is important to keep the direct solar radiation off the east and west windows by vertical screening and keep it off the North facing windows with big eaves or horizontal shading. This is so you can let the sun in winter when it is lower in the sky. These are principles known as solar passive design.15. Hot Water. If you have an electric hot water system and you have it on the wrong tariff this can be the bulk of your bill. Generally your hot water should be on an off-peak tariff depending on your location and retail provider. Your hot water bill is normally a quarter of your electricity bill if the system is electric. If it is a newer Heat Pump it will be much less. The most efficient Water heating device is Solar Hot Water with a natural gas boost.These are just some of the generic energy saving tips that I have come across when performing household energy audits of which I find most people need help with. If you can reduce your daily consumption its going to make it allot easier to 1. Keep your bills down and 2. Make it easier for the Solar Panels to work and provide you with a bonus or credit on your next bill.One thing I forgot to mention was Panel care. Your panels should be kept free of dirt and grime as even dust on the panels can significantly reduce the panel's performance by sometimes up to 30% or more. I will look at the process of solar panel maintenance in my next article.