Easy energy saving tips
The less energy you use, the less you have to pay for. There are many easy things you can to lower your energy use.
As well as the tips below, you can calculate running costs to understand how much energy different appliances in your home use or do a home energy audit. If you are purchasing new appliances, use the energy rating labels to make the most efficient choice. More information about rating labels is available from the Energy Rating website.
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling can account for 40% of the energy used in a home. To save energy, try:
- adjusting the thermostat – every 1oC higher for heating and lower for cooling adds up to 10% to the running cost of the appliance. Most people find between 18oC and 21oC comfortable for heating, and between 24oC and 27oC comfortable for cooling
- reducing the area being heated or cooled by closing doors to rooms not being used (unless using a whole-of-home evaporative cooling system) and, if using a zoned system, turning off zones in unoccupied areas
- making the most of free heating and cooling. In winter, let the sun shine through north, east and west facing windows during the day by opening curtains and blinds. Close curtains and blinds at night to keep this heat in. In summer, close curtains and shade windows during the day to prevent the sun heating the home and use natural breezes at night to keep the home cool
- choosing the best heating or cooling appliance for the needs of the home, depending on the number of people and whether the heating or cooling is for a single spot, whole room or whole home
- using draught excluders, door and window seals or gap fillers to prevent draughts. However, if using a gas heating appliance, you must ensure there is adequate ventilation to avoid creating a serious health hazard
- installing insulation in the ceilings and walls if there is none. If there is already insulation, a licensed installer can check if it is effective.
Heating water for bathrooms, the kitchen and laundry accounts for about 23% of a home’s energy use. To save energy and water, try:
- taking shorter showers – use a shower timer to help keep showers to four minutes or less
- installing an efficient shower head – this can save at least 10 litres of water per minute and significantly lower energy costs
- insulating exposed copper pipes with foam tubing (lagging) to prevent heat loss
- fixing dripping taps
- buying a new energy efficient water heater if yours needs replacing.
Lighting can account for around 7% of energy used in a home. To save energy, try:
- making a habit of turning off lights when leaving a room
- using natural light as much as possible – open curtains and blinds instead of turning on a light. In summer, consider the balance between the benefits of natural light and letting unwanted heat into the home
- replacing inefficient light globes with energy efficient ones
- considering how much light is needed to sufficiently light an area and using the lowest wattage globe you can
- installing a sensor on outdoor lights, so they only switch on with movement and turn off after a short period.
Fridges and freezers
Fridges and freezers are switched on all day, every day and can account for around 8% of energy used in a home. To save energy, try:
- setting the fridge temperature between 3oC and 5oC and the freezer temperature between -15oC and -18oC
- turning off second fridges and freezers when they aren’t needed
- replacing any door seals that aren’t in good condition
- locating the fridge away from direct sun and in a cool location, ensuring air can circulate around all sides.
Cooking appliances can account for around 5% of energy used in a home. To save energy, try:
- using smaller kitchen appliances rather than larger ones where possible, eg a toaster oven instead of the grill, the microwave instead of the oven
- replacing any oven door seals that aren’t in good condition
- using lids on saucepans to keep the heat in.
Laundry, dish washing and entertainment appliances
Other common appliances in your home, including your washing machine and clothes dryer, television, home office equipment and other entertainment appliances, can account for around 14% of the energy used in a home. To save energy, try:
- washing using cold or cool water, if possible, as washing machines and many dishwashers use energy to heat water
- waiting until there is a full load before running the clothes washing machine or dishwasher
- using a clothes line instead of a dryer
- cleaning the lint filter in your clothes dryer before every use, if you have to use a dryer
- turning off entertainment appliances when you’re not actively using them, eg don’t leave the television on for background noise if you’re no longer watching it
- using the energy and water rating labels to compare running costs when purchasing a new appliance, so you can make the most efficient choice.
In Australia, the average stand-by power use is 81.8 watts per hour, which can add up to more than $250 per year. To reduce stand-by power, try:
- switching appliances off at the wall
- using power boards with switches to make it easier to turn individual appliances off
- using a stand-by controller to automatically turn off appliances when they are not in use.
On this site
- SA Water
- Energy Rating – Australian Government
- Water efficiency labelling and standards (WELS) – Australian Government