Top 10 Rules for Saving Energy
To get started saving energy around your home, just follow these easy rules:
1. Shut off the lights when you're done using them, and turn off the TV, computer, video games and other electrical stuff when you leave the room.
2. Adjust the thermostat during the winter. Ask a grown-up to adjust the thermostat by 10 degrees cooler in the winter and 10 degrees warmer in the summer for eight hours a day.
3. Don’t leave the refrigerator door open. Every time you open the door, up to one-third of the cold air can escape.
4. Replace a burnt-out light bulb with a new compact fluorescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy, and they last 10 times longer.
5. Remind grown-ups to use cold water in the washing machine. Hot water won't get the clothes any cleaner, and it wastes a lot of energy.
6. Fix dripping faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons of hot water a month - that's more than one person uses in two weeks!
7. Take a short shower instead of a long bath. It might take 25 gallons of hot water to fill the bathtub, compared to only seven gallons for a quick shower.
8. Close the curtains during hot summer days to block the sun. During the winter, keep the curtains open.
9. Help a grown-up put plastic sheeting on windows. Blocking cold drafts is called "weatherizing" and it can save a lot of energy.
10. Help your mom or dad plant a tree to help shade your house on hot summer days.
Test your energy smarts!
Now that you're done reading the rules, test yourself by going through our energy smart house.
Here are 10 easy tips to help keep your energy bills down.
1. Compare energy retailers
Go to Victorian Energy Compare, where you can quickly compare all of the electricity, gas and solar offers available in your area.
Victorian Energy Compare is an independent Victorian Government website which allows you to compare electricity, gas and solar offers from all energy retailers, based on information you provide about your household or small business.
2. Shut doors and close curtains
Cooling the whole house can be expensive. Where possible, shut doors to areas you are not using and only cool the rooms you spend the most time in.
Make sure your curtains or blinds seal your windows properly, and keep your curtains closed during the day when there is a heat-wave. Block draughts around doors and windows to stop cool air leaking out.
Use external shading, such as external blinds or canvas awnings, to keep the sun off the windows
3. Set your thermostat
In summer, set your thermostat to 26 degrees or above. In winter, heating can account for over 30% of your bill. Set your thermostat between 18 and 20 degrees. Every degree above 20 can add 10% to your heating bill.
4. Turn heaters and coolers off when you don't need them
Turn off when you leave the room, or go to bed. With some ducted heating systems you can turn off the heating in the rooms that are unoccupied. Make sure all your heating or cooling is turned off when you leave the house.
5. Wash clothes using cold water
You can save around $115 per year by washing clothes in cold water. You can also save by making sure you select the shortest appropriate washing cycle and waiting until you have a full load.
6. Run your fridge efficiently
Your fridge is always on, making it one of your most expensive appliances. Make sure the door seal is tight and free from gaps so cold air can't escape. An ideal fridge temperature is 4 or 5 degrees and an ideal freezer temperature is minus 15 to minus 18 degrees Celsius. If you have a second fridge or freezer, only turn it on when you need it.
7. Insulate your roof
An insulated ceiling makes a big difference to your energy bills. If you already have insulation installed, check that it is properly installed and has the right rating (measured in 'R-value'). In Victoria, insulation rated R3.5 or higher should be used for ceilings.
8. Save energy in the kitchen
Thaw frozen food in your fridge to reduce cooking time. When you are cooking, use the microwave when you can – it uses much less energy than an electric oven. If you use the stove, keep lids on your pots to reduce cooking time. Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when it's full.
9. Use energy-efficient light globes
Replace old halogen light globes with energy-efficient LED globes. Energy-efficient globes save power and last longer. Light globes can sometimes be replaced for free or at reduced cost. See: Victorian Energy Upgrades.
Learn more about how to save energy with efficient lighting at Sustainability Victoria.
10. Understand and improve your home's energy use
A Scorecard assessment looks at the fixed features of your home – the way it's built and insulated, heated and cooled, your lighting and water heating – and suggests the most effective changes you can make to reduce your power use and increase your comfort. Scorecard's unique 'hot weather rating' explains how to keep your house cooler in a heatwave, even without air conditioning. See: Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard.
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