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May 20, 2012

Creating a More Environmentally Friendly Home

Everyone wants to have a more environmentally friendly home but sometimes we just don’t know how. Yet having an environmentally friendly home is not as hard as you think.

It all comes down to conserving water and decreasing your energy usage – and less energy means less greenhouse gas emissions and lower bills. If you want to do your part for the environment and create a home that reduces its carbon footprint, here are a few tips to make your home more liveable, with less impact. 

Cut Down on Air Conditioning
Air conditioners can chew up lots of energy, not to mention ramp up your electricity bills extensively. Consider installing a more energy efficient air conditioner or cutting down on your air-con use. Having ceiling fans can greatly reduce the need for air conditioning, while still keeping your home cool and ventilated.

Upgrade Your Appliances

Appliances like dishwashers, fridges, washing machines and dryers often come with an energy rating sticker – the more stickers on your appliance, the more energy efficient it is and the less it costs to run. If your current appliance has a low energy rating, consider upgrading to one that is more environmentally friendly.

Use a Solar Hot Water System

Solar hot water is a great way to cut down on your energy footprint and use free, natural resources to fuel your hot water system. Solar systems use around 25% less than ordinary systems and can either be placed on your home’s roof or work by using a ‘heat pump,’ which also works to draw heat from the sun. You may also want to check if you qualify for any hot water rebates when installing your solar system.

Install Water-Saving Fixtures

Using too much water? Water efficient taps and showerheads can help conserve water and reduce your water bills. A 3-star rated showerhead, for example, can save you up to $150 on water per year. It’s also a good idea to remember other water saving tips, like taking shorter showers and only running the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load.

Recycle Materials & Food Scraps

Your local council will provide you with a designated recycling bin and it’s important to recycle as much as you can, including paper, cardboard, aluminium and certain plastics. If you cook a lot in the kitchen, it’s also highly beneficial to use your food scraps for garden compost. This not only reduces waste, but gives something back to the natural environment – and helps keep your plants healthy!

Insulate Your Home

If you find yourself over-using the air conditioner in summer and the heater in winter, you may want to find ways of better insulating your home. This could mean replacing the insulation in your roof or perhaps upgrading your windows to double-glazing to retain heat or cool air. Double-glazing can be expensive, though, so you may want to look into other options, like low-e glass. 

Install New Light Bulbs

Replacing your incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent or LED ones can also make your home more eco-friendly. These light bulbs use around 20% of the electricity to produce the same amount of light and the Australian Government now has regulations as to energy ratings for new lights produced by manufacturers.

Home Check

Still not sure on where all your energy or water is really going? The NSW Government offers Home Sustainability Assessments for eligible owners to help you identify exactly where you can save electricity and water in your home, both inside and outside. This is a great way to assess your consumption and carbon footprint and a good kick-start to reducing the overall impact of your home.

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