Tips to Save Energy

FairlaneGreen encorages you to reduce your home’s energy and water use without the need for major home renovations. Environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility. So take action to reduce your carbon footprint today !

Tips for your whole house

Saving energy doesn't always take lots of your time. There are many things you can do right now to start saving energy and cut down on costs. The following tips will help you improve your home’s or workplace(s) efficiency, making it more economical and eco friendly to run and help to reduce your impact on the environment.

Check out the following important energy saving tips and make improvements that will contribute to your energy bottom line which makes our planet healthier and cleaner! Not only you will be reducing the your carbon foot print you will also save heaps of $$$ by using energy wisely.

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Let in natural light
Open blinds and curtains to let in natural light rather than turning on lights.

Turn off lights when not in use
If you are not using a room or an outdoor entertaining area turn the lights off. Leaving outdoor lights on for long periods can double your lighting bill. Smart use of sensors, particularly outdoors, can ensure that lights are only on when needed.

Replace incandescent light bulbs
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights(CFLs) or light emitting diode(LED) bulbs. CFLs are cheap to run - they can reduce running costs by 75% - and they last much longer than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are becoming more readily available, and they can be as efficient or more so then CFLs.

Don't use halogen downlights
If your house is full of energy-hungry halogen downlights, replace them with good quality LED bulbs. Alternatively, you could buy floor and table lamps and fit them with CFLs or LED bulbs and leave the halogens off.

Pull on a jumper
Before turning on the heater, put on a jumper. By dressing appropriately for the weather you reduce the need for turning on the heater or airconditioner.

Use heating and airconditioning wisely
Reducing the temperature on the thermostat of your heater or increasing it on your airconditioner by just one centigrade can reduce the energy used by 10%. In winter, set the heater thermostat to a maximum of 18-20 centigrade; in summer set your airconditioner to a minimum of 26 centigrade.

Heat and cool only what you need
Only heat or cool rooms you are using, and keep the heat or cool in by keeping doors closed.

Cool and heat the house naturally
On hot, still summer days close the windows, doors and curtains to keep the house cool. And when that cool change arrives, take advantage of it by opening windows and doors to let the cooling breeze through the house.

Hang heavy, lined curtains
Heavy, lined curtains or blankets keep heat in during winter and heat out on hot summer days. For best results make sure they are close fitting, hang down to the floor, and have an overlap of 100mm each side of the window.

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Install pelmets
Pelmets are covers over the top of curtains, and they stop hot air circulating behind the curtains. If your house does not have pelmets ask your landlord to see if permanent pelmets can be installed. Alternatively, use a rolled towel, blanket or strips of thick cardboard over the top of curtains for temporary, removable pelmets.

Use timer switches
Set timers on your heater or cooler to switch off when not needed.

Direct the heat
If your house has central heating consider buying vent directors. These can be placed over vents to help direct the air into the centre of the room instead of straight up to the ceiling – and they’re not expensive.

Seal up gaps and draughts
Stop draughts by closing gaps around doors and windows. Self adhesive door and window seals are cheap, easy to install and removable when you leave. Or you could use a ‘door snake’. Alternatively, ask your landlord if you can install permanent draught stoppers and seals around doors and windows.

Shade your windows
External shading of windows is twice as effective as internal blinds in keeping out the heat, so in summer place a removable external blind, shade cloth, sun sail or outdoor umbrella over a window to shield it from the sun. If you want to install a permanent shade solution attached to the house, ask your landlord.

Close up ventilation outlets
Check whether chimney ventilation outlets, flues and extraction fans can be sealed when not in use. Removable dampers are available which can be placed over extraction fans which vent into roof spaces. Note that you shouldn’t close up ventilation outlets in a house with un-flued gas heaters.

Install insulation
Insulation is critical to a home’s ability to be heated and cooled efficiently, so if your rental property is uninsulated ask the landlord to install some in the ceiling, assuming it is accessible. There are State and Federal rebates available (see the box), and the landlord might be even more willing to pay for it if you offer to do the installation. Click here to view the insulation technical guide

Turn off computer monitors
Set your computer to enter ‘sleep’ mode after a certain period of inactivity and turn the computer monitor off when you’re not using it, even for a short time.

Turn appliances off at the power point when not in use
Many appliances such as DVD players, TVs, stereos and computers use electricity called ‘standby power’ when they are not being used, if they are left switched on at the power point. Standby power accounts for as much as 10% of household energy bills. Turn off appliances at the power point. To make things easier, place multiple appliances on a single or multiple switch powerboard to avoid hard-toreach spots and reduce the number of switches to flick.

Choose an LCD monitor
LCD computer monitors generate around half the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional monitors.Turning the brightness down can cut emissions to a quarter.

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Don’t super-size your telly
A simple rule of thumb is the bigger the TV, the more energy it will use. Indeed, some larger TV models use more energy to run than a standardsized fridge.

Look at the stars
Check the Energy Star label on DVD players, TVs,stereos, computers and printers. Appliances that have the energy star label use much less power when in ‘standby’ mode.

Don’t open the fridge door too often
In most households, the fridge uses more power than any other appliance. To cut energy use, try to limit the number of times you open the fridge door, and never leave it open.

Don’t place hot items in the fridge
Wait until a dish has cooled down before placing it in the fridge. Put cold items back into the fridge after use rather than letting them warm to room temperature.

Get the temperature right
The recommended operating temperature for a fridge is 3°C to 5°C. For freezers, the recommended range is -15 to -18°C.

Switch off the second fridge
If you have a second fridge, consider how often your ‘drinks fridge’ is really used. Turn it on only when you need it.

Keep the fridge well ventilated
Provide at least 50mm of space at the top, back and sides to improve ventilation and let your fridge work at its best.

Place the fridge in a cool spot
Locate fridges and freezers in cool spots, away from direct sun and other heat sources such as stoves.

Check fridge seals
Check and clean seals on your fridge to make sure the door closes securely. Regularly remove any frost buildup in the freezer.

Save rinsing water
Rinse vegetables over a bowl and tip the water on the garden or a pot plant. You can also buy tubs with a handle and plug, which fit snugly in the kitchen sink to make it easy to transport water to the garden.

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Boil the water you need
Use an electric kettle instead of the electric stovetop to boil water. Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need.

Run a full load in the dishwasher
Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it. It wastes a lot of water to clean a small number of dishes. Also, the less the dishwasher is used the more energy is saved.

Scrape rather than rinse
If you have a dishwasher, scrape dishes rather than rinse where possible, or use less water by not rinsing dishes under running water.

Cooking toast
Cooking toast in a toaster instead of the grill reduces energy use by up to 75%.

Cooking with gas
If possible, use gas for cooking. Gas is generally cheaper and it’s less damaging to the environment than coal-fired electricity production. Turn the gas down to keep flames under the pot rather than up the sides. Gently simmer pots with the lid on rather than boiling vigorously. If you have to use electricity to cook, use a microwave where practical.

Install tap aerators
Aerators can be fitted to taps to reduce water flow. They can be fitted inside or on the tap. Check with your landlord before installing.

Choose energy and water efficient appliances
When it comes time to replace fridges, microwaves and other appliances, buy the most energy and water efficient one. Buy the right size for your needs.

Reach for the stars
When buying new appliances look for the energy label. The Energy Rating scheme rates the energy efficiency of electrical products and appliances to help you with your purchasing choices. The star ratings of all labelled products and appliances are also available on the energy rating website. When comparing different appliances or equipment it is important to look at comparative energy consumption, which is shown in kilowatt-hours, rather than just the number of stars.

Use cold water
When washing your hands, shaving or cleaning your teeth use cold water.

Don’t leave the bathroom tap running
When brushing your teeth, use a cup of water for rinsing – don’t leave the tap running. Put the plug in the basin when washing or shaving.

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Have short showers
Take shorter showers to save both water and energy. Hot showers cause up to half a kilogram of greenhouse gas every minute, so try to keep your showers to four minutes or less. Use a shower timer as a reminder.

Use the half flush
If your toilet is a dual flush system, use the half flush as much as possible.

Use a bucket
Put a bucket in the shower while waiting for the water to run hot, then use this cold water on the garden. You can purchase tubs big enough to stand in while you shower, which will capture a full shower’s worth of ‘grey water’ for the garden. Make sure you use gentle, garden-friendly soaps and shampoos if you do this.

Check flow rates of your showerheads
Check your shower’s flow rate on the showerhead.If there’s no rate written on the showerhead you can measure the flow rate by turning on the shower at its normal rate for 30 seconds and capturing the water in a bucket. Measure how many litres of water are in the bucket and double the figure to get the flow rate. Inefficient showerheads can use more than 15 litres per minute; a WELS four-star rated showerhead uses 7 litres per minute.

Install water efficient showerheads
One of the best ways to save both water and energy is to install an efficient showerhead. Water saving showerheads can be easily fitted to existing shower arms. Rebates are available and prices start from $20. Regulations differ between states, so ask your landlord before installing a showerhead.

Fix leaking toilets
To check the toilet for leaks take the lid off the cistern and add a few drops of biodegradable food colouring to the water. If food colouring comes into the toilet bowl without flushing this is a sign that the toilet cistern is leaking. Contact your landlord to have the toilet serviced.

Reduce water in the toilet cistern
If you have a single flush toilet, place one or two plastic drink bottles full of water in the cistern to reduce the volume of water in each flush. There are also flush modifying devices available which stop the flush as soon as the button is released. Check with your landlord before installing.

Fix leaking taps
A dripping tap can waste a lot of water, so install new washers to fix leaks. Regulations differ between states so ask your landlord before installing new washers.

Wash in cold water
While some clothes need to be washed in hot water, eg, nappies or clothes with oily stains, most clothes can effectively be washed in cold. Washing clothes in cold water saves energy.

Hang it up
Avoid using electric clothes dryers. Use the natural power of the sun to dry your washing by placing your clothes outside on a clothes line. During wet weather use a clothes rack inside your house.

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Install aerators on taps
Aerators can be fitted to taps to reduce water flow and can be fitted either inside or on the tap. Once again, check with your landlord before installing.

Wash a full load
Always make sure you wash a full load of clothes. Not only will you save water but the less you use the washing machine the more energy you save.

Buy detergents made from biodegradable substances
Biodegradable detergents are a safer option for the environment.

Use your washing water on the garden
Providing you use biodegradable detergents, you can run a diverter hose, available from hardware stores, straight from your washing machine onto the garden.

Reach for the stars
The Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) shows the consumption of water by appliances. The label gives products and appliances a star rating from one to six and also provides a number that shows the comparative water consumption in litres. The labels will be on the product or packaging to allow you to compare when you are purchasing. The WELS website contains a searchable database on a range of products including washing machines, dishwashers, flow controllers, showers, taps and toilets.

Buy energy and water efficient appliances
If you need a new washing machine or dryer check the energy and water star ratings. Look for the highest star rating and buy the right size for your needs. Make sure the washer can do a true cold cycle because some machines heat the water even during cold washes.

Use a broom
Clean down paths and driveways with a broom or rake rather than a leaf blower or hose.

Group pot plants together
Pot plants placed together create their own microclimate, which can reduce the number of times you’ll need to water.

Water at the appropriate time
Water the garden early in the morning or late in the evening to reduce water evaporation. Watering longer, but less often, will encourage the plants to grow deeper roots which will help them grow more resilient to drought conditions. Make sure any watering complies with local water restrictions.

Compost your food scraps
Install a compost bin or worm farm for your food scraps to reduce the amount of organic matter going to landfill. Organic matter buried in landfill produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The compost you’ll produce is also great for your garden. If you live in an apartment consider buying one ofthe small composting systems that use a mixture of bacteria, fungi and yeasts to produce high-grade fertiliser for pot plants.

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Mulch garden beds
Mulch on garden beds and pots can help reduce water evaporation by up to 70%. The mulch shields the soil from the sun and reduces run off during watering.

Add compost or a wetting agent
Adding compost and wetting agents, available from plant nurseries, to soil to help it hold water, reducing the number of times you’ll need to water.

Use greywater
Greywater from baths, showers and washing machines can be reused on the garden in most locations. While bucketing shower water can be a chore, small pumps are available that let you pump it straight to the garden via the bathroom window. Some greywater systems are also suitable for renters as they don’t require permanent installation if the pipes are accessible from outside the house.

Reduce the temperature of hot water
Check the thermostat setting on your hot water system is set at 60°C. If it’s set higher than 60°C you will be wasting energy, but any lower could pose a health risk as harmful bacteria may thrive. Instantaneous hot water systems should be set to no more than 50°C. Setting the temperature on some types of hot water systems requires a plumber; contact your landlord to have the system assessed.

Check the hot water system overflow
Check the amount of water dripping from the overflow pipe of the hot water system. If the overflow is excessive contact the landlord to have the system assessed.

Invest in a portable rainwater tank
Rainwater tanks which come with a lid, stand and plastic tap are available in small sizes of around a few hundred litres. Just position your tank under a convenient hole in a downpipe to collect water. If there isn’t a convenient hole, ask permission from your landlord to make a hole and seal it up when you move.

Avoiding waste
Being conscious of the amount of waste that is associated with the products that we buy and avoiding products that have unnecessary or excessive packaging is a good first step in reducing household waste.

Recycle household waste products
Most local councils supply a service for residents to recycle common waste products such as glass,cans, some plastics, paper and cardboard. If you do not have a recycling bin contact your council to arrange for one to be delivered.

A new life
Save useful items from landfill by finding them a new home. As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. There are many ways to give life to unwanted clothes, furniture and books such as charity stores, markets and resource recovery centres.

Reduce e-waste
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a growing contributor to landfill and a growing concern for the environment. Each year millions of computers, modems, printers and mobile phones are thrown out. This e-waste not only adds to landfill, it contains toxic components which can leach into the water table. Check with your local council to see if there is a safe way to dispose of old equipment before throwing it in the rubbish. You may also wish to ask your council for contact details of any local charities which collect old equipment and recondition them to give away to the disadvantaged and community groups.

It’s easy to go green with us. To reduce your impact on our environment and save on your energy bills, contact your   fairlanegreenconsultant today !