Energy & Water Savings
Australia is the driest continent and a major source of greenhouse gases. We can all take some steps to reduce our water and energy use and save on our bills.

Driest continent

Australia is the world’s driest inhabitable continent and your local water authority is sure to have some advice on how to save this precious resource.  There are many commonsense things we can do in our homes and gardens to save water and money and to benefit the environment.

As a simple starting point, find out if you have a leak somewhere by reading your water meter before and after a 30-minute period when no water is being used. If the readings are different, you have a leak.
 
Energy & Water Savings





 



In your home
  • Check for leaks in taps, pipes and appliance hoses.  A single leaking tap can  waste more than 2,000 litres a month.
  • Install water efficient taps or tap aerators to cut your water usage without you even noticing.
  • Wash your hands with the plug in the sink instead of holding them under running  water. Same when washing the dishes, or fruit and vegies.
  • Thaw frozen foods before hand instead of putting them under running water.
  • Prevent leaking by turning taps off lightly and replace worn washers.
  • AAA-rated dishwashers can half your water use.
  • Use your dishwasher only when it’s full - this also reduces the amount of  detergent entering the sewerage system.
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the fridge rather than run the water down  the sink until it's cool enough to drink.
  • Regularly clean the lint filter on your washing machine.
  • Front-loading washing machines use 40% less water than top-loaders.
  • A 6/3 litre dual flush toilet can save you up to 8 litres per flush (or more than 30,000 litres a year for a family with a couple of kids).
  • Install a AAA rated shower head.
  • Rinse your razor in a plugged sink, not under a running tap.  And don’t leave the  tap running while brushing your teeth.

Energy & Water Savings


In your garden
  • A well-managed lawn needs only 20mm of water a week (half that in winter).
  • Hand-watering too lightly and too frequently results in shallow root systems and can stress plants in hot, dry periods.
  • Mulch your garden to save 70% of water lost through evaporation.
  • Try to keep the water level of your pool halfway up the skimmer opening - overfilling stops the skimmer working efficiently and wastes water.
  • Use a pool cover - without a cover, you can lose half your water to evaporation over a year.
  • Compost your kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and garden waste.  Mulch and  compost add nutrients and help retain moisture.
  • If you need a regular watering system consider installing drip irrigation.
  • Top dress a new lawn.  Talk to your local nursery or landscape supplier about a suitable weed-free, sand based, organic top dressing mix.
  • Group together plants with similar watering needs (many plants with small, grey, woolly or waxy leaves require less water than those with large soft leaves).
  • Don’t cut your lawn too short - cut only the top third of the leaf area, leaving at  least three centimetres.
  • Water your garden in the cool of the early morning or in the evening.
  • Don’t hose paths, patios and driveways; use a broom or rake instead.
  • Park your car on the lawn and use a bucket for washing and rinsing (this can help fertilise your lawn because car shampoos use phosphates that are similar to many fertilisers.
  • When deciding on a lawn type, go for slow-growing, water-saving varieties.
  • Always try to use recycled garden materials that meet Australian Standards.  These kinds of products can decrease water usage, reduce weed infestation  as well as improve soil fertility.
          - Your composts, soil and mulches should meet Australian Strandards -
             AS 4454, AS 3743 AS 4419

    These are just a few simple steps you can take.  Contact your local water utility for any seasonal tips and to check on any water use restrictions in force.


Energy & Water Savings

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Saving Energy

Our everyday household activities - particularly our energy use - generate greenhouse gas emissions that are resullting in global warming.  True, most new houses are built with energy efficiency in mind, but good design doesn’t guarantee that a home will be energy efficient.

We need to change our habits - we can all help the reduce the impact of climate change by taking some very simple actions (which also make financial sense).

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Energy facts

The production of conventional electricity in the supply grid is a major source of greenhouse gases (except in Tasmania where hydro-electric power is used). Natural gas produces only about one-third of such emissions.

As a first step, contact your electricity supplier about connecting to clean energy or green power.  This is electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind, and biomass and has far less impact on the environment.

You can also make a difference in your household, where the main sources of harmful emissions are water heating, refrigeration and space heating and cooling. Other contributors are cooking, lighting and stand-by energy use.

Every time you do something to save a little household energy, multiply that across Australia’s six million households to see what a difference responsible home owners can make.

Once you adopt the energy saving measures outlined below, monitor your cost-savings in your energy bills.  We predict you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Water heating and space heating and cooling account for nearly 70 per cent of household energy use.  Here are some ways to reduce this:
  • Choose an efficient hot water service and the cleanest energy source.  Solar,  gas and electric heat pump systems produce far fewer greenhouse emissions  than conventional electric storage systems.  Gas boosted solar is the most  greenhouse efficient form of water heating.
  • Locate water heaters close to where hot water is used and insulate your hot water pipes.
  • Install AAA rated water efficient showerheads or fit a flow-restrictor.  This simple  step will provide you with an adequate flow of 7 litres a minute, compared to the  conventional 20 litres (a six minute shower can half-fill a bath).
  • Set the thermostat between 60 to 65°C on storage hot water systems and 50°C on instantaneous systems.
  • Put a timer on the electric booster of solar water heaters and on peak electric  storage systems to avoid heating water when not needed.  Turn off the hot water  system when you go on holidays.
  • Fix dripping taps and check your hot water tank.  A leaking pressure relief valve  can waste hundreds of litres of hot water.
  • Wash clothes in cold water with a cold-water detergent and if you must rinse  dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, use cold water.
  • Fill your dishwasher and washing machine.  A half-load uses the same amount of   energy and hot water as a full load.

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Lighting
  • Get into the habit of switching lights off when you leave a room (try separate  switches for each light fitting).
  • Replace ordinary incandescent light bulbs (which last up to 1000 hours) with compact fluorescents, which use the same fitting.  They cost more to buy, but are  cheaper to run and last up to 8000 hours.  Halogen lights sit in between; they cost  more than ordinary bulbs but cost half the amount to run and last up to 2000   hours.  A 75 watt bulb uses 25 per cent less energy than a 100 watt bulb.  That  could be big saving.
  • Use solar lighting in your garden or driveway.  It costs nothing to run and avoids  electric cabling.
  • Fit a timer or motion sensor for dark corridors or courtyards.
  • Use well designed windows and skylights to provide natural light for winter  warmth.
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Heating and cooling

  • Gas heaters and air conditioners have energy rating labels so choose wisely for your needs.
  • Avoid centralised systems unless your home is well insulated.  Ensure centralised systems have zone controls and thermostats.
  • Use ceiling fans instead of air coolers. If you need cooling, use evaporative systems in low humidity areas.
  • Use high-efficiency gas, electric heat pump or wood heaters (where appropriate) for room heating rather than electric convection and radiant heaters.  Radiant  heaters are suitable for bathrooms for short periods.

Appliances
  • Electrical appliances account for about 25 per cent of household energy use.
  • When buying white goods (refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes  dryers and dishwashers) look for the Energy Rating Label, which gives a star rating and annual energy consumption for the appliance.  The more stars, the  more efficient the appliance.
  • Sometimes an efficient appliance may cost a little more to buy, but it will soon  pay for itself in reduced energy bills.
  • Buy appliances that are the right size for you.  Always check the energy label and compare the number of kWh (units of electricity) used per year.
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Cooking efficiently
  • As a rule, cookers do not have energy rating labels. In general, choose gas cooktops rather than electric.  They are cheaper to use, have more responsive    controls and produce less greenhouse emissions.
  • A gas oven will usually produce less greenhouse gas than an equivalent electric    model.  However, some very efficient electric cooktops and ovens are available.    Ask your retailer or the manufacturer for information.
  • When using gas, make sure your kitchen ventilation is adequate. Use a range    hood vented outdoors to get rid of combustion gases and steam.
  • Fan-forced ovens are about 30 per cent more efficient than conventional units, which can waste up to 90 per cent of the energy used.
  • Look for ovens with high levels of insulation and triple glazed, low-e coated windows.
  • Avoid heat loss by not opening the oven door when cooking and ensure the seal is clean and in good condition.
  • Use a microwave when possible rather than an oven, as they use less than half the energy.
  • Don’t over-fill the kettle - boil only the amount of water needed.
  • Use pots with fitted lids and a pressure cooker to save energy.
  • Cook outside on hot days if possible to avoid heating the house.

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Stand-by consumption
  • Stand-by energy is used when the TV is turned off with the remote control rather than with the switch on the set. I t is sometimes used to power digital displays or maintain memory settings, but often it’s just wasted energy.
  • This can account for more than 10 per cent of household electricity use.  In fact, some appliances like videos and microwaves with digital displays can use  more energy over a year in standby than in actual operation.

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Home Office, entertainment
  • Ensure equipment is ENERGY STAR compliant and ensure it is enabled.
  • Consider buying a laptop - they require fewer materials to make and less energy     to run.
  • An LCD screen for desktop computers will use less energy and take up less     space.
  • Switch off computers and printers if you’re away for half an hour or more.
  • Look for printers and faxes that use recycled paper.  Use recycled ink and toner
    cartridges.  Reuse blank sides of used paper.
  • Switch off equipment at the wall instead of leaving in standby mode.

Very few of us will adopt all of the measures outlined above.  They are offered as a guide to help you reduce your water and energy use.  By changing some old habits and making energy consumption as efficient as possible, we can all save money and help the environment too.

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Energy contacts

CONTACTS

 

Australian Capital Territory Energy Advisory Service Master Builders' Association
Phone: 02 6247 2126
Internet:
www.mba.org.au

 

New South Wales Energy Smart Information Centre
Phone: 1300 363 768
Internet:
www.energysmart.com.au

 

Northern Territory Natural Resources Division Department of Lands,
Planning and Environment
Phone: 08 8999 4413
Internet:
www.lpe.nt.gov.au

 

Victoria Sustainable Energy Authority Energy Smart Advisory Centre
Phone: 1300 363 744
Internet:
www.sea.vic.gov.au

 

Queensland The Office of Sustainable Energy Energy Advisory Service
Phone: 1300 369 388
Internet:
www.dme.qld.gov.au

 

South Australia Energy Information Centre
Toll free: 1800 671 907
Internet:
www.pir.sa.gov.au

 

Tasmania Environment, Planning and Scientific Services Division Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Phone: 03 6233 6518
Internet:
www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au

 

Western Australia Office of Energy, Western Australia
Phone: 1300 658 158 (Home Energy Line)
Internet:
www.energy.wa.gov.au

 

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