Save On Home Power Costs And Help Save The Planet

September 21st, 2018 - by Brad Gillespie

Before you rush out and buy aircon or heating, here are some great, cost-effective ways for inner city dwellers to keep their homes feeling just right in all seasons — and they’re eco-friendly.

Assess your home

Not all homes are designed with passive energy principles in mind. Sydney’s inner city terraces are famous for their verandahs which provide shade from the summer sun, but they weren’t designed with thermal mass or cross ventilation in mind. While older style properties can have stone or double brick walls that can provide amazing insulation, they may lack any insulation whatsoever under wooden floors or in the ceiling, making them very cold in winter and hot in summer.

Depending on the property it can be easy to make a few changes to improve air flow or insulation in a house, but this can be a little trickier in units where most structural changes are governed by strata.

Installing solar panels and batteries

Tackle energy issues at the source by availing yourself of the world’s greatest free power supply: the sun. The new generation of solar batteries are getting cheaper, and after the one-off installation, commonly pay for themselves after just five years. For homeowners, the savings could really add up. And if you’re planning to sell, you’ll be adding value to your property.

Make sure you’re fully insulated

Make attic, floor or even wall spaces work for you, keeping you cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Unlike an air-con unit or space heater, insulation never needs to be adjusted, turned off when you leave, or thrown out when it breaks.

Seal the gaps

According to Government website yourhome.gov.au, air leakage accounts for 15-25% of winter heat loss in buildings. Likewise, up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through windows. Improving door and window seals, and using energy-efficient glass can stop the loss and make a huge difference. Something to take into account if you’re renovating or upgrading your home.

Clear the air naturally

Did you know that plants can cool your indoor air down by several degrees? They also improve air quality without the need for expensive machines. According to a NASA study, the humble spider plant — one of the easiest plants to grow — can also remove irritating Volatile organic compounds (irritants known as VOCs) from the air.

If you need aircon do it right

Still need a reverse cycle air-con unit? Choose something energy efficient by checking out the Department of Environment’s tips on using star ratings and working out the anticipated running costs before you make a decision.

Let there be light

According to yourenergysavings.com.au, lighting uses 8-15% of household electricity. Installing a skylight is a fantastic way to increase your home’s lighting naturally during the day. But if that’s not an option, new LED lights are many times more efficient than traditional bulbs, and unlike CFL bulbs, don’t contain mercury. Pro tip: A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science shows that the color temperature of your lights can affect your ability to sleep. Choose warmer colors to light your home at night, and wake up fresher.

Switch off

“Standby mode” on TVs, PlayStations and the like can slowly chew up power (and they also generate a little heat when they’re on). Make sure your gadgets switch off when you do.

Break out the popcorn

Sydneysiders may not like to admit it, but it can get cold at night, especially away from the coast where the air is drier (plants can help with that: see above). So why not embrace it? Use cold snaps as an excuse to get under the covers for your next movie night. Mother Nature approves.

These are so many cheap, eco-friendly ways to keep your home feeling great, no matter what the weather’s like outside. Search online, use your imagination, and don’t hesitate to contact us for information on homes in the inner city that are built to get the best out of Sydney weather.