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Easy ways to make your home energy efficient

Vidhu Bajaj avatar
Vidhu Bajaj
- 5 min read
Easy ways to make your home energy efficient

The surge in energy prices over the last one year has put significant strain on household budgets. According to a recent report from the Australian Financial Review, major energy retailers in the country are witnessing a sharp rise in households struggling to cope with soaring electricity bills. 

As concerns about inflated utility bills continue to rise, many are seeking ways to trim their energy expenses. Further, an increasing incidence of adverse climate-related events has pushed many people to reconsider their lifestyle and adopt energy efficient practices to reduce their carbon footprint. 

If the dual concerns about the environment and rising energy costs have you in a turmoil, there’s a simple solution. By making your home more energy-efficient, you can save on energy bills while also doing your part to protect the environment. A few small changes in your daily habits can go a long way towards saving money and protecting the environment for future generations. 

Five simple tips for an energy efficient home

Making your home energy efficient doesn’t necessarily mean signing up for extensive renovations or expensive upgrades. Here are some small yet effective steps you could take to improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills. 

Check the lighting in your home

In Australia, lighting accounts for about 10% of the average household electricity budget. However, you can reduce your lighting expenditure by simply switching off lights when they're not needed. 

Energy.gov.au also suggests swapping your old light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs to reduce the energy expenditure. LED bulbs use up to 75% less energy than halogen bulbs and have a lifespan that’s 5 to 10 times longer. 

While the initial cost of purchasing LED bulbs might be higher than halogen bulbs, lower running costs could help you recover your investment within a year, ultimately putting money back in your pocket. 

Identify and fix any air leaks in your home

Air leaks or draughts in your home can lead to significant heat loss during winter months, causing your heaters to work harder and consume more energy. By identifying and sealing gaps in windows, doors, and vents, you can effectively prevent air leakage, which could help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Sealing the gaps in your home can also prevent water, dust, and insects from entering in your living area, enhancing the overall comfort and cleanliness of your home. 

Draught-proofing your home is typically a straightforward process that you can do yourself with readily available supplies from a hardware store. For instance, you could purchase self-sticking weather stripping to insulate door and window edges. You could also use heavy curtains on windows during winter months to keep the warmth inside. 

While doors, windows and vents are common suspects, remember to look for gaps around any built-in appliances, like ovens, stoves and dishwashers. If you find any gaps, you could fill them with a silicone sealant or polyurethane spray foam.

Control the phantom power drain

Did you know that many electrical devices and appliances continue to consume energy when they are not actively in use or in standby mode? 

Installing smart power strips in your home could help you reduce this phantom power drain and make your house more energy efficient. 

Like traditional power strips, smart power strips also allow you to plug in many different devices on a single outlet. However, a smart power strip can detect when a device is in standby mode and automatically cut off its power supply to save energy.

Switch to newer, energy-efficient appliances

Another way to reduce your energy consumption is upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. It is common knowledge that the older an appliance gets the more energy it tends to consume. Replacing your old appliances for new ones could help you save money by reducing your energy consumption. 

When purchasing a new appliance, consider checking the Energy Rating Label on different models to make an energy-efficient purchase. These labels carry a star rating that helps you determine the energy efficiency of a product. 

Generally, appliances with higher energy ratings (more stars on the label) are more energy-efficient, leading to lower running costs. 

Use sunlight to your advantage

If you’re looking for a cleaner and potentially cheaper source of energy for your home, you may consider installing solar panels on your roof to generate your own electricity. 

How much money you can save by installing a solar power system depends on several factors. These include the size of your solar power system, the electricity tariffs in your area, and your home’s energy usage. While the exact savings may vary, an average Australian family of four living in a standalone house could expect savings between $1134 and $1822 on their annual electricity bill, according to Dr Mike Roberts of the Australian PV Institute. 

For a tailored estimation, you could use the SunSPOT solar and battery calculator. It is a tool that enables homeowners to determine whether installing solar panels would save them money and, if so, how much.

While the upfront cost of installing solar panels may be high, it is a choice with multiple benefits, including potential cost savings and a cleaner environment. If you want to switch to household solar but don’t have enough savings to pay for a solar power system upfront, you could consider applying for a green personal loan

A green loan is a special type of loan that typically offers lower interest rates and fees than other personal loans to incentivise borrowers for making environmentally friendly choices. Further, depending on where you live, you may also qualify for state or federal government-sponsored rebates for solar panel installation that could reduce your upfront costs. 

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Product database updated 16 Jun, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.