Home Improvement

Sustainable Living: 10 Energy Saving Tips for This Summer

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As we’ve faced record-hot summers in Australia over the last few years, sustainable living is becoming a more popular topic. This should be considered not only in terms of environmental protection but also in reducing the cost of living. And being aware of how energy is used in our homes and implementing some practical energy-saving tips into our daily routines are the key to saving on electricity and still keeping cool.

So if you want to:

  • Make your home more energy-efficient for the summer;
  • Know real ways to save money on electricity with small changes in your habits;
  • Make sure you are paying only what you need for a comfortable atmosphere.

Read on to learn the ten most effective energy-saving tips for the summer in Australia. Get sustainable living advice from the pros that will help reduce your bills without making you too sweaty.

Table of contents:
  1. Check the AC and set the thermostat
  2. Insulate your home
  3. Use your blinds
  4. Use fans
  5. Avoid using the oven
  6. Wash wisely
  7. Save on hot water
  8. Use off-peak hours
  9. Unplug any electronics you are not using
  10. Plant shrubs and trees around your home

1. Check your air conditioner and set a smart thermostat

Let’s start with the first and most important thing – your air conditioning system. Since cooling can make up about 40% of our electricity bill, the efficiency of these machines is crucial. Regular checks and cleaning are recommended. Generally, the air filters should be cleaned or changed once a month. Proper cleaning can save you 5% to 15% of the energy consumed. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional AC cleaning, set a reminder and don’t miss it.

Set the thermostat to 23o to 26o as this is the recommended eco-friendly temperature range for summer, which is still comfortable enough. Each degree of extra cooling can increase energy usage by 6 to 10%.

Another thing you can do to optimise cooling is to lower the temperature only when you are at home. For example, it is unnecessary to maintain a cool temperature 24h a day if you stay at home only for 12. And this is where smart thermostats come in. Invest in programable thermostats to help you schedule the week or control it remotely. This way, you can turn on the cooling before you get home, avoiding the case of putting it on maximum to compensate quickly or forgetting it to work all night long. Check with your local energy provider, as they might have special discounts on smart thermostat devices.

Don’t place thermostats near appliances that give off heat, such as fridges, TVs, lamps etc.

2. Insulate your home

Yes, insulation is essential not only in winter. Well-isolated homes can save up to 30% on cooling costs. Therefore, it is good to regularly check and replace the sealing of your windows and doors. In addition, switching to double glazing is an effective option not only for the cooler seasons but for the summer as well. If you are still trying to figure out where to start, book an energy audit, and a professional will ensure you make the most cost-effective decisions for your place.

3. Use your blinds

Blinds and curtains can be extremely helpful for reducing heat gain during the day, especially if you have block-out ones. So, use the exposure of your home to maintain a comfortable temperature at a lower cost. Close the south and west-facing blinds during the heat hours and open the northern ones to let natural light into the room, which won’t raise the temperature that much. Consider installing external blinds or canvas awnings to help keep the house cooler.

4. Use fans

Did you know that ceiling or tower fans consume about 90% less energy than AC? By combining them, you can save up to 40% on electricity. The flow from the fan pulls body heat away from your skin and makes you feel the surrounding temperature cooler. So, install a fan and set the AC one or two degrees up, and you will have the same comfort at a lower cost.

5. Avoid using the conventional oven

The heat from the oven in your kitchen is not the best thing for your cooling economy in the summer. Why not use the microwave, slow cooker or air fryer instead? These small appliances are high-energy efficient and will not release much heat. Preparing the food in the barbeque is the best option for the summer day. What’s more pleasant than an evening outside with the family?

Still, sometimes alternatives are not an option. Here are some tips you can follow for your conventional cooking:

  • Cook at night – The temperature then is not so high, and you can use the windows to air cool the kitchen.
  • Cook all things at once – You can cook on three levels in the oven, saving preheating time. Reduce the oven door opening as this can drop up to 4o and require more energy to regain it. Always turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking time is up. The food will continue to cook without using extra electricity.
  • Cook with the lid on – Doing so, less energy is used, and less heat is distributed in the kitchen. Again, turn off the stove a few minutes before the meal is ready.
  • Deep clean your oven regularly – The grease build-up over time makes the oven less efficient and lowers the food quality due to the bad smell inside. If it’s not your favourite chore, booking a professional oven cleaning can get it looking and working like brand new.
Keep in mind that although BBQ is more energy efficient than the oven, charcoal and propane release carbon emissions. So, choose your fuel wisely.

6. Wash your clothes wisely

Washing and drying clothes is another process that you can easily optimise. Always wash full loads of clothes. In the summer, you can avoid using the dryer by hanging up the clothes to air dry. However, if you stick to using the dryer, cleaning the lint filter after each load will ensure your unit is working optimally.

Modern washing machines compensate for the temperature with more water to give us a perfect washing. So, reducing the wash temperature may increase water consumption depending on the washing machine model.

7. Save on hot water

This power-saving tip might not sound great, but you can apply it without sacrificing comfort. Firstly, check the temperature of your water heater. The most energy-efficient temperature is around 60ºC. Reducing it to this level can significantly affect your bill, as water heating can account for 15% to 20% of it. Ultimately, summer is not the time when you need a hot shower. You can have shorter and cooler ones instead.

The next thing you can do is install low-flow shower heads in your bathroom. Newer models are great for reducing water consumption while maintaining a pleasant shower experience. And don’t postpone any leaking taps at home because it may cause wastewater for a bathtub in a week. Call a professional plumber to check if you notice any leaks.

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8. Use off-peak electricity demand hours

Read your bills and check whether your energy tariff involves peak and off-peak pricing. Some providers offer lower charges, for example, from 9 pm until 3 pm when many people are out at school or work. So if you are on a time-of-use plan, set delaying cycles for your appliances, like the dishwasher and the washing machine, to work during these hours. And if your hot water system doesn’t have a timer, now might be the time to upgrade. This also applies to all outdoor devices as well – put your pool pump on a timer.

9. Unplug any electronics you are not using

This includes all the mobile chargers, consoles, and set-top boxes. Also, power down the computer at night and when you are not using it for a longer. Switch off appliances at the wall. You don’t need them plugged in all the time. What’s more, even just being plugged in generates a small amount of heat.
The above is also valid for the kitchen. Switch the microwave off on the wall, as it will be such an expensive clock. Check your appliances for their energy-star rating, starting from the more significant consumers like the fridge, freezer and oven. Plan to replace them if necessary and always check energy-rating labels when buying new ones to maintain a sustainable, eco-friendly home. Contact a professional handyman to install them.

10. Plant shrubs and trees around your home

The greenery around your home can be beautiful to the eyes and useful for heat protection in the summer. Plan the surrounding areas strategically. And if it’s not about making a natural shade for the south windows, you can consider it over your outdoor A/C unit. This can make your cooling systems up to 10% more efficient during the hottest days. Ask a local professional gardener to advise you on fast-growing plants suitable specifically for your house or balcony.

Now you have ten great ideas on how to save electricity without affecting your comfort much. And summer is a great time to start something that will benefit you even in the winter.

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  • Check and clean your appliances regularly to ensure they are working efficiently.
  • Create energy-efficient habits and invest in energy-saving solutions such as insulation, smart devices, blinds for the summer, etc.
  • Turn off devices you’re not using to reduce energy waste, and schedule what you can for peak hours.
  • Plants and natural shade are always useful and beautiful.

We hope this article will help you make your home more energy-efficient for the summer. Please, share your personal experience with us in the comments below.

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