Many ways to cut energy use
IT’S EASY to save on energy use in your home! The average New Zealand household uses about 8500kWh of energy each year. This costs around $1530 a year or $127 a month.
The breakdown of average household energy use is: Appliances/electronics 21 per cent, space heating and cooling 35 per cent, hot water 27 per cent, cooking 8 per cent, lighting 9 per cent
Around 35 per cent of a households energy use is by space heating and cooling. This equals about $530 a year.
The main areas are:
For heating and cooling to deliver savings, installation of the appropriate levels of insulation in the ceilings, floor and walls can reduce your heating or cooling requirements by up to 30 per cent.
A 3mm gap around a door or window is the same as having a brick size hole in the wall.
Maximise the benefit of the heat from the sun which can deliver 1000kw of energy for each metre of window. Cut trees back from windows. Close curtains at night and make sure that curtains fit tightly to windows or pelmets are installed. Curtains should extend to the floor. Set your thermostat temperature at as low a temperature as comfortable without affecting your health. A temperature of 18C should be adequate. For each 1C increase in the thermostat setting may cost an additional 10 per cent of the heating energy.
Reduce moisture build up in your home with appropriate ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom and avoid drying clothes indoors whenever possible and if using a dryer ensure it is vented to the outside of the house.
Close curtains or blinds and rooms where overheating occurs.
Consider the use of sun shades and louvres allowing sun entry in the winter while providing shade in the summer.
Install a ceiling fan. These are relatively inexpensive and have low running costs. Fans do not cool the air.
Avoid using heat pumps for cooling wherever possible.
Around 27 per cent of a household’s energy use is for water heating. This equates to about $415 a year.
Make sure the thermostat on your hot water cylinder is set at 55-60C.
Take shorter showers and avoid baths. Purchase a shower timer and make it fun to have shorter showers for the kids. One minute less in the shower saves between 10 and 20 litres of water or up to 7000 litres per year.
Install low flow shower heads. The new low flow shower models deliver a good water flow and use less than half the amount of water.
For hot water cylinders older than 10 years install a hot water cylinder wrap. Installing a hot water cylinder wrap is simple and easy to do and will pay for itself within two years.
Cooking uses around eight per cent of a household’s energy.
Check your oven door to ensure it seals correctly.
Use small appliances for cooking microwave, electric jug, electric fry pans or grills as these are often more efficient than the oven.
If using your oven use a fan forced oven as it cooks quicker and uses less energy.
Lighting uses around 8 per cent of a household’s energy.
Switch off lights when not in rooms or when you will be out of a room for more than 10 minutes.
Maximise the use of natural light in rooms. Use movement sensors on all outside lights
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light and fluorescent tubes. Use fluorescent tubes for general lighting in the kitchen, family areas and spaces where lights are on for long periods.
Use the correct size light bulbs and fittings
The appliances and electronics use around 21 per cent of a household’s energy. Some simple tips to save energy in these areas: Stand-by Power Stand-by power uses up to 10 per cent of a household’s energy. Stand-by power is the energy consumed by an appliance while it is on but not being used. This can easily be reduced by switching appliances off at the wall instead of leaving them on stand-by Clothes Washing and Drying Front loading washing machines use up to 45 per cent less water and 50 per cent less energy than equivalent top loaders. Only wash with full loads. Use the sun to dry clothes outside whenever possible. Refrigerators Your fridge may account for up to 10 per cent of your household’s energy use. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old consider replacing it. The payback may be shorter than five years.
Use the Energy Star rating when purchasing a fridge or freezer.
Check the door seals are clean and tight fitting. Regular defrosting. Cover food and do not put hot food in the fridge. Ensure there is good circulation around the fridge in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations and wherever possible place the fridge in a cool location away from ovens, stoves and direct sunlight. Heated Towel Rails If you use heated towel rails either turn them off during summer or install a timer to reduce the time they are used.