By Ellen Morgan
Published: Thursday, October 22, 2020
You might be surprised at just how much power you’re using at any given moment, even when you’re not home.
But by being conscious of energy-star ratings and considering products like LED lighting and solar, there are now more ways than ever to cut your costs and look after the earth.
Here are 5 ways you can make a change in your home and save.
1. Opt for more energy-efficient appliances
Saving: about $200 per appliance*
When it comes time to upgrade or replace a household appliance, checking out the government’s energy ratings can save you a lot of money down the track.
According to energyrating.gov.au, upgrading from a 2.5-star washing machine to a 10-star version could save you about $210 every year (based on a 10kg machine and an average of 7 washes a week).
Where fridges are concerned, purchasing a 10-star single-door (400L) could save you around $70 per year compared to a 3-star fridge of the same capacity. One of the biggest energy gobblers in the home, fridges can’t be turned off like other appliances.
According to calculations on the Energy Rating website, each extra star in your appliance’s energy rating could cut running costs by 23%. That’s good news for your wallet and the planet.
When you’re buying an appliance, just look for the Energy Rating label that’ll be on the front of the item, or use the government’s online calculator.
*saving calculation is based on a 10-star washing machine (capacity 10kg) compared to the same capacity machine with 2.5 stars. Calculations are estimates based on the Energy Rating Calculator.
2. Switch to LED lights
Saving: about $400*
Using about 75% less energy than regular halogen light bulbs, LED lights can be a great investment for your home.
You could save up to $20 a year per LED light globe, compared with a halogen bulb, which adds up when you take into account how many lights there are in the average home.
If, for example, you have 20 globes in your home, you could be up for a saving of $400.
*price is based on estimates from choice.com.au.
3. Go solar
Saving: about $1700
If you’ve been thinking about investing in solar, now could be the perfect time, with plenty of sunny months ahead of us.
It’s well known that solar power and battery storage are great ways to reduce your energy bills and save on greenhouse gas emissions.
In fact, RAA’s solar team told us that a home using an average of 15kWh of electricity per day with a 6.6kW solar system could save as much as $1700 on their energy bill annually.
Based on these calculations, you’ll likely pay for your solar system through savings in around 3 to 3.5 years.
4. Set your aircon temperature to 25°C
Saving: about $77 per year*
Your aircon is about to get a workout with the summer heat set to sizzle our rooftops.
To save energy and money, set your aircon thermostat to 24–26°C. Every degree colder than that will increase running costs by around 10%, according to Canstar.
In fact, according to hourly cooling-cost estimations published by Canstar, a 6kW air conditioner set at 21°C costs around 50c an hour to operate. If you increase the temperature to 24°C or 25°C, you could pay as little as 37c or 33c an hour.
While this might not seem like much, the cents add up. For example, if you were to use your aircon for 5 hours a day in summer, you could pay a total of $225 at 21°C or $148 at 25°C. That’s a saving of $77.
*cost is based on a summer estimate (90 days) on a 6kW machine, using 28.479c/kWh. These are using figures from an Ergon Energy calculator, published by Canstar.
5. Wash with cold water
Saving: about $50*
While hot water can be necessary for some stains, switching the majority of your washing to cold can save money in the long run.
As an example, a 2-star front loader with a capacity of around 7kg will cost around $72 annually if used 3 times a week on warm. In comparison, it could cost you as little as $20 if using cold water alone.
*cost is based on figures from Sustainability Victoria, published by Canstar.