9 Ways To Reduce Energy Usage At Home
Key policy area: Energy. Minimising energy use
Why do we want to cut energy use around the home?
The ISMAPNG Sustainable Living Policy reminds us of the devastating reality that “our planet is threatened as never before with mass destruction of all its life-forms. …We are also aware that the human poor of the world are disproportionately affected by this destruction.” (ISMAPNG, An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Living, p2.)
In considering how our actions impact the planet and the human poor, our energy use deserves some serious reflection. We call to mind the destruction caused by the extraction of fossil fuels, particularly the mining of coal and use of inefficient power stations, combined with the human health issues in polluted cities, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. We are increasingly aware of how all life forms, including the human, are under threat because of our human desire to use more energy powered by extraction globally.
Despite our potential for harnessing solar and other energy sources, most of Australia’s power supply is currently reliant on fossil fuels. This is not a clean energy source. When we use less energy, we preserve natural landscapes, prevent needless extraction of fossil fuels, reduce pollution and potentially mitigate climate change. In times of uncertain power prices, saving energy can also save you money.
9 ways to reduce your energy usage at home:
- Turn off lights when they aren’t in use.
Seems like an obvious one but even turning lights on and off when you are moving from room to room helps save energy (and money).
- Put more clothes or a blanket on when it’s cold.
A lot of energy is used in the home for heating and cooling. How about putting on a warmer layer (like thermals) under clothes in winter and trying some of our energy saving points in summer? CLICK HERE
- Turn off and unplug appliances when they’re not in use.
Some items use standby power, also called vampire power or leaking electricity. It refers to the way power is consumed by electronics and appliances while they are switched off (but are designed to draw some power) or in a standby mode.
- Draught proof your home.
Even if your home is well-insulated, heated or cooled air can leak in and out through gaps and cracks and even exhaust fans. Some simple things can be put in place to help save energy to heat and cool your home. Seal gaps and cracks, install draught stoppers or door snakes LEARN TO MAKE ONE HERE
- Install energy efficient light globes.
Light globes are becoming more and more efficient and cheaper to run. When replacing light globes in the home purchase Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs – they have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting.
- Walk or cycle or catch public transport instead of driving.
When you choose to walk or cycle instead of driving, you help to reduce pollution in the environment. Exercise is also healthy for us! If you have restricted mobility, try public transport – one fully-loaded bus can replace about 50 cars.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances.
All appliances have star rating. By making the most energy efficient choices, we are voting with our dollar and telling companies to get better at making appliances that use less energy!
- Dry your clothes in fresh air and sunshine.
Rather than using a clothes drier (an expensive energy guzzler) hang washing on a line outside or, if the weather is cold and wet, use an indoor line and let it dry overnight.
- Do full loads of washing only
Both your clothes washing machine and the dishwasher should be filled to capacity to optimise the water and energy usage. If dishes are lightly rinsed or wiped (into a compost bin of course!) before they go in the dishwasher, they don’t need to be washed straight away.
These energy saving behaviours are reinforced or can be added to the energy saving behaviours from the “Simple Daily Gestures” booklet.
As we open up to these simple daily gestures to change our energy consumption, we are reminded of the courageous challenge offered to us by Pope Francis: “As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning.” (Earth Charter, 2000, sited in Laudato Si’ #207).
Messages to: Leah Moulden, Rahamim Ecology Centre