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We all understand the cost of power and the impacts of this on our lifestyles. Energy efficiency is more than just adding some solar panels, understanding your needs, the impact of how you live and how to maximize energy production to be used in the best way possible. Energy prices have increased every year and don’t look like slowing down. The old statement of a dollar saved is a dollar earned has never been more true and relevant in your energy requirements.
Below is some best practice application you might consider
Clean renewable electrical energy generation systems are becoming increasingly accessible to the average homeowner either installed at home and connected to the grid or purchased as GreenPower.
In the experience of building Innovation House 2.0 we found that single household may not be the most efficient scale to look at off grid solutions. When there are opportunities to collect clusters of homes together there are some dramatic energy efficiencies and cost savings available for great home energy outcomes.
Household appliances and equipment account for about one-third of energy consumption and about 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in the average household.
There has been some discussion around gas as a transition fuel as our economy moves to a fully renewable future. Aside from the impacts of gas supply on the planet there are some significant human health findings associated with the burning of fossil fuels inside our homes. Interestingly this article talks to both the burning of gasses but also the effect of cooking food itself. Major takeaway it is to have a functioning rangehood which is now extracting the cooking fumes and gasses to the outdoors.
Very little energy is needed to make a well-designed house comfortable. Taking a few simple steps including appropriate insulation, combined with passive solar design, a draught-proofed building, can deliver a home that requires little or no energy for heating and cooling. Highly efficient homes with no heating or cooling input are possible across much of Australia.
Water heating is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from an average Australian home and the second largest segment of household energy use in Australia, after space heating and cooling. It accounts for about 21% of the energy and generates about 23% of the greenhouse gas emissions (DCCEE 2010). In Australia, about 48% of the energy used for water heating comes from natural gas, 45% from electricity, 3% from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and 4% from solar (DCCEE 2012). Electric water heaters in particular contribute to these emissions: only half of Australian homes use electric water heaters, but they contribute 80% of hot water greenhouse emissions. Reducing your hot water use and using renewable energy sources to heat water are great ways to reduce your environmental impact.
With the vast improvements in solar panel technology it now can make most sense to leave the simple electric hot water system on a daylight timer and power this water heating from the really efficient solar panel on the roof. This is a hugely local efficient energy production, transmission and use of the “free” energy from the sun.
If you live in a unit or a situation that doesn’t have access to solar generation then you should consider some of the higher performance hot water systems available.
Lighting in homes consumes 8–15% of the average household electricity budget or about 6% of its energy use. The household makeup of the installed lighting fittings, lighting design and user behaviour can make quite a difference. Efficient and well-designed lighting can yield significant home energy savings.