It can be frustrating to see almost half of your paycheck going towards utility bills. There are many products and services available to help with achieving energy efficiency, but they usually involve upfront costs, such as solar panels installation. Rather than purchase new products, this article will focus on self-evaluation and implement small twists for a low-cost approach towards electricity saving. With a bit of commitment, it’s possible to cut down on your bill by half without having to make any great sacrifices.
Ask yourself first: Am I overspending on electricity? The graph below helps you to compare the energy use in your home with industry benchmarks. Check whether you have been exceeding the national average. Here’re the average reported energy consumption in different states.
Source: Australian Energy Regulator
In 2014, the average Australian house used 5,817 KWH, this broken down into each state and territory:
● New South Wales (NSW): 5,920 KWH
● Victoria: 4,905 KWH
● Queensland: 5,793 KWH
● South Australia: 5,145 KWH
● Tasmania: 8,813 KWH
● Australian Capital Territory (ACT):7,470 KWH
● Northern Territory (NT): 8,264 KWH
After this evaluation, be mindful that there are a number of factors contributing to the energy consumption in the house. When it comes to big houses, provinces with greater fluctuations in weather conditions, and houses with 3-4 large appliances, the energy consumption tends to go beyond average.
Now that you know how much a normal household spends on average, it’s time to design your electricity saving strategy.
The first step is to learn about the energy consumption of the various appliances and features, then save energy from different appliances in your home.
1. Know Which Appliances Use the Most Electricity
A good starting point is to read your electricity bill and understand what you are being charged for; smart meters can be used to record your electricity usage throughout the day. In some states, it even allows you to configure the settings, then you would be eligible to benefit from off peak rates if you choose such a plan.
2. Install an Efficient Lighting System
Let’s assume a person has one of their light bulbs switched on for 12 hours a day for the next 3 months which is approximately 91 days. Assume a flat electricity usage rate of 27 cents per kilo Watt hour (kWh). In above scenario, one standard 100 watt incandescent light bulb uses 1.2 kWh in 12 hours. In 91 days (a quarter) the 100 watt incandescent light bulb uses 109.2 kWh. For one 100 watt incandescent light bulb, in that quarter it will cost $29.48. It’s not much, but with 20 light bulbs installed in an average household, the energy consumption and electricity bill will shock anyone who looks at it.
To save energy on lighting, it’s recommended to use LED lights, as this will reduce the cost of your electricity bill significantly. One common misconception is that the lighting produced by LED lamps and fixtures is always ugly. This is not true. When you have LED lights installed, it’s your free choice to pick any lighting features you like and achieve a good balance between energy saving and looks.
The second is to seek professional advice to avoid over lit rooms and waste power. A professional electrician can help you install lights and multiple switches to cover different areas. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. These are very simple ways to reduce your daily lighting usage.
3. Limit the Use of Large Appliances
Large appliances are the elephants in the house. They are energy intensive and tend to dramatically increase energy bills after 3-4 uses. These large appliances draw a significant amount of energy, so if you have them installed, they are the ones to watch out for.
The average electricity usage of air conditioners ranges from 1000 - 5000 watts per hour. Ducted air conditioners take up the most electricity. Therefore, choose split system over ducted system for less usage. Also, the amount of power you need would depend on the room size, read the labels carefully to avoid unnecessary waste. If possible, opt for installing ceiling fans instead, as they only consume 20-120 watts per hour. For ceiling fans, there are two types of motors, AC and DC. The fan is classified by its motor type. DC ceiling fans are more energy efficient, therefore saving on power costs, compared to the AC ceiling fan type. You can even choose a ceiling fan with LED light pre-installed.
A washing machine with heating element can take up 2400 watts per hour. Switching to cold water washing can save 90% of the energy.
An oven consumes up to 2,400 watts per hour, whereas a cooktop only takes 28 watts. You might be a wizard at using ovens but if it’s possible for you to do more cooking on the stove, this can save significant amount of energy.
4. Watch Out for Peak Hours
There are discounts for electricity during off-peak hours. During weekdays, the off-peak hours are either before 2pm or 8pm onwards. You can save money by running appliances, such as air conditioner, washing machine and oven at off-peak time.
Understand the energy use in your home and tackle the large appliances. Design a system that allows flexibilities but also keeps the bill in check. By employing the tactics above, you can spend less on electricity and run the house without changing too much of your lifestyle.
Author Bio: Lucy Xu is a content specialist at Oneflare, Australia’s fastest growing online marketplace connecting consumers with professionals within the home improvement and services categories.