Information Technology

Reduce Electricity Consumption

Posted by cosmic  •  Filed under InformationTechnology, Internet

Energy Efficiency and Savings

electricity consumption

There are lots of simple things you can do every day to use energy more efficiently. The less energy you use, the more money you can save and the less greenhouse gas emissions you will produce.
Here is a list of practical tips!

Tips listed under headings for different appliances and parts of your home. They are also listed in order of the amount of energy they may consume, from the greatest energy users, to the least:

Heating and Cooling
How much energy you use for heating or cooling your house depends on what kind of system you have, how you use it, where you live and the weather. But usually it is estimated that Australian homes use 10-50% of their energy on heating and 9-29% on cooling each year.
Here are some ways to take the heat off your bill:

  • Make sure your home is well insulated. Insulation retains warmth generated in your home in winter and keeps out harsh summer heat.
  • Repair faulty door seals, hang curtains or blinds so they fit close to window frames and lay rugs securely on bare floors.
  • Dress for the weather. 'Layer up' in winter and wear cool, natural, breathable fibres in summer.
  • Keep all doors closed to unused areas (unless your heating or cooling system requires doors or windows to be opened).
  • Try not to change the thermostat settings so often.
  • Close curtains over large glass areas (you can lose up to 16% of heat transfer through glass).
  • Keep thermostat temperatures moderate (manufacturers recommend settings of 24 deg C in summer and 20 deg C in winter).
  • Make sure all appliances are regularly maintained to remove dust and ensure adequate air flow. Check your instruction booklet for directions.

To reduce energy use for Heating:

  • Minimise the use of portable electric heaters. They consume up to 2.4kW per hour and can add hundreds of dollars to a winter electricity bill.
  • Oil-filled heaters are well suited for bedrooms, because they have low surface temperatures and enclosed elements.
  • Always light gas heaters in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, turning the setting down to a comfortable level after burners are lit.
  • Set rules so heaters aren not used as much - e.g. 'heater to be used only on days minimum temperatures are 10 deg C or lower (instead of 12 deg C or lower)' - and you can save between 10 and 15 % of your energy use.

To reduce energy use for Cooling:

  • Fans use minimal energy, and operate at a fraction of the cost of air conditioners (reducing the number of days you use air conditioning).
  • For maximum efficiency, set the air conditioning unit to re-circulate cool air instead of pulling warmer air in from outside.
  • Make sure the outdoor section of your air conditioning unit isn't installed facing the sun (north or west), to allow adequate cooling of the unit.
  • If you can increase the room temperature by 1 deg C, you could save up to 10% of operating costs.
  • Set rules when air conditioners aren't used so much - e.g. 'to be used only on days maximum temperatures are 30 deg C or higher (instead of 28 deg C or higher)' - and you can save between 2 and 10% of your energy use.

Hot Water
Energy use for hot water is highest in winter, as thermostats work harder to heat water to set temperatures. Hot water is estimated to use between 25- 50% of annual household energy, depending on where you live in Australia.
Here are some ways to use less energy:

  • Change to a AAA rated shower rose, and save about 25% of hot water energy.
  • The less hot water you use, the less you need to heat. A four minute shower is a good shower (bath occasionally).
  • Turn your hot water unit off if you're going away for an extended period to save wasting energy maintaining set thermostat temperatures.

Fridges and Freezers

This is the biggest energy user in most kitchens, especially as many people now have 2 fridges and a freezer.
Here's some food for thought to keep your energy bills down:

  • Minimise the time your fridge and freeze door is open by thinking about what you want before you open the door (memorise where things are).
  • Adjust control thermostats to maintain the temperature in the fridge between 2 deg C and 5deg C, and in the freezer, between -11 deg C and -23 deg C.
  • Check the internal temperature of your unit is correct by placing a thermometer in the refrigerator section for 5-10 minutes.
  • The refrigeration compressor unit should only cycle on 30% of the day, if you hear it continually running, it's time for a health check.
  • Check seals by placing a piece of paper between the door and the seal and then pulling on the paper. If it moves too easily, you need a new seal.
  • Place food slightly apart on refrigerator shelves for correct air circulation, and remove all heavy wrapping paper before storing.
  • Fridges and freezers operate at peak efficiency when full, so choose one that's the right size for your needs.
  • Defrost freezers at least 1-2 times a year, ice can act as insulation, making your freezer work harder than necessary.
  • Turn off, empty and clean the refrigerator and leave the door open when you are away for an extended period.
  • Check the age of your fridge. Refrigeration energy efficiency standards have improved the performance of units by 40% since 2006.

Oven and Cook Top
Smart use of these appliances is all that's needed to save energy:

  • Thaw frozen foods before cooking to save approximately 15 minutes cooking time per 500 grams.
  • Place pans or containers so they don't touch each other or the sides of the oven.
  • Try to keep the oven door completely closed until food is cooked. Every time the door is opened, the oven temperature drops by 14 deg C - 20 deg C.
  • Use only enough water to create steam when cooking vegetables.
  • Be sure pots and pans completely cover hotplates.
  • It's best to cook with lids on pots and pans. You'll achieve better cooking results, including less evaporation, as well as reducing steam.
  • There's a reason our mums used pressure cookers! Not only is food tender and delicious, a pressure cooker uses about 25% less energy.
  • Clean gas burners regularly to remove food spill caught in the small holes in the burner rings. This ensures a constant and even gas distribution and flame size for more efficient cooking.

Follow these tips to reduce your energy use, as well as your water use:

  • Connect your dishwasher to cold water.
  • Wait until you have enough dirty items to fill the dishwasher before operating.
  • Make the most of all functions on your dishwasher. Small load or half load options, as short wash cycles can save you energy and time.
  • Read the manufacturer's instructions on how to load plates, glasses, cutlery and pots.
  • Check that nothing is preventing the wash arms from rotating properly before you start the dishwasher.

Washing Machine, Clothes Dryer and Iron

Here are some tips to use less energy:

  • Unless you have a self load-adjusting machine, wait until you have a full load.
  • Take advantage of special features on your machine. Soak cycles for stubborn stains and suds-saver allows you to recycle rinse water.
  • Select the correct temperature settings on your dryer.
  • Clean the lint filter on the dryer after each use to maintain full air flow, maximise drying efficiency and minimise fire risk.
  • It may test your patience to iron for hours, but if you iron large batches of clothing at one time you won't waste energy reheating the iron.
  • Use the correct temperature setting on your iron. An iron can consume as much energy as twenty-four 100 watt light bulbs.
  • Take care not to overload your washing machine as this reduces the cleaning action. Wring clothing well before it goes in the dryer.
  • Drying in the sun is free!

Being energy efficient with your lighting doesn't mean living in the dark:

  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Save over 500 kWh of electricity per year simply by changing six 75W incandescent bulbs for 14W energy efficient compact fluorescent globes.
  • Clean lamps and shades frequently for better lighting.
  • Use lampshades with a white liner to reflect more light.
  • When installing new fittings, if you want the mini-flush mounted type units, consider the 240V 7 Watt compact fluorescent model.
  • Reflect on installing energy efficient LED lighting for garden paths.

Plug-In Appliances (televisions, DVDs, stereos, game consoles, computer equipment)
Recent in-home studies show the average household has almost 70 plug-in appliances, many consuming power while performing no function most of the time. This "standing by" power is estimated to account for up to 9% of your home's electricity consumption!
You might be surprised at the levels of energy your appliances are using just because they are plugged in.
An idle electrical appliance can be:

  • In 'active standby' mode, where it is not performing its main function but is still on - this includes things like VCRs that are 'on' but are not playing or recording, and appliances being charged.
  • In 'passive standby' mode, where it is 'off' but ready to be switched back 'on' (usually with a remote), or is still performing some secondary function (like showing the time or other display).
  • 'Off', where it is still connected, isn't doing anything you can see or hear, can't be switched 'on' with a remote but may be performing some internal functions.
In all three cases, you are consuming energy.

At Least Try Considering the Following:

Think about insulation before buying a heating or cooling system. Your system will act more efficiently if your home is insulated. And that will make a difference to your energy bills and the greenhouse gas emissions you produce.
Correctly installed installation can:

  • Cut up to 35% of heat entering through your ceilings or walls in summer, lowering ambient room temperatures by about 2 deg C.
  • Keep generated warmth inside your home in winter.
The most important issue is the 'R' value, which measures the material's resistance to heat flow, and therefore its performance.
Sometimes different materials with different 'R' values will provide similar performance.
If you have recessed lighting, make sure your insulation won't cause lighting equipment to overheat.

Being energy efficient with lighting doesn't mean living in the dark.
And there are plenty of reasons to spark up right now:

  • Australia is phasing out inefficient light bulbs beginning 2009, aiming to save more than 4 terrawatt hours of electricity and 4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas each year.
  • We're the first country in the world to ban incandescent light bulbs - when they disappear, they'll save about 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which is about 0.14% of all our current national emissions.
  • Our new efficient lighting standards introduced in 2009 will save the typical Australian household over $50.00 per year in energy costs.
  • We estimate household lighting is in the top 5 appliance categories for energy consumption in the average Australian home.
  • Energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps consume up to 80% less electricity than incandescent lamps and last up to 15 times longer.
  • Ordinary fluorescent lighting is more economical than incandescent lighting on a watt-for-watt basis and can also give 5 times the light.

The Different Types of Lights You Can Buy:

  • Incandescent lamps, are thermal radiators that convert about 5 per cent of the energy they use into light - the rest is lost as heat.
  • Standard fluorescent lamps use a gas discharge process that reduces the energy lost and make them more efficient, and also radiate a different light spectrum.
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the most efficient available, are ideal for use around the home, and now come in a range of colours, from a light similar to incandescent globes to one like daylight.
  • Dimmable compact fluorescent globes are now available and will save up to 40% of the energy used by standard incandescent globes.
  • 35 Watt energy efficient halogen lighting can replace 50 Watt dichroic lighting - that's the low voltage down lights / spotlights so many of us have in our homes. If you prefer this size light and are building a new home consider the 7 Watt compact fluorescent models.


« Back To Article Index