Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Green Tips For Your Home - Part 3

Another post with information about how to make sure your home (and your life) is greener - to save money, save energy and save the planet for everyone.

1. Check insulation

  • Ensure you have the correct insulation for your home. If you do this, you will save a lot of money and not use up so much energy cooling your home in summer or heating it in winter. Choose biodegradable wool insulation (or other natural fibres) rather than fibreglass insulation, which is not biodegradable (not good for the planet)
  • Install awnings or blinds on your windows, to help cool your home in summer months - this is especially necessary for those people who live in a warmer climate or have hot summers
  • Close your curtains (or blinds or other window coverings) on hot days, as this has the effect of cooling your home with no direct sunshine. Open the curtains again when the heat has cooled down
  • Place draught strips around doors or windows that have gaps and are draughty in winter; this will help the rooms stay warm

2. Energy efficient lighting

  • Replace regular light bulbs with the energy efficient fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which last about 10 times as long and use 75% less energy than regular light bulbs
  • Use energy efficient downlights instead of the halogen lighting
  • Use light fittings with only one bulb - try to avoid light fittings that have several bulbs (such as chandeliers)
  • Use solar powered lights for all lighting outside your house - these are the cheapest lighting possible, as they run on solar energy
  • Add skylights to dark areas, to enable less usages of lights until it is really dark

3. Reduce your rubbish

  • Try to buy products that are re-usable instead of ones that are disposable - razors, cups, pens
  • Re-use your food packages - glass coffee jars, jams, juice bottles - these can all be re-used again and again, as storage for your other foods (just make sure you wash the bottles and jars properly after each use)
  • Buy fruit and vegetables loose, not in packets
  • Recycle your rubbish properly with recycling bins your local council provides and if you do not have the right ones or need more, request them

4. Reduce energy usage

  • Whenever you buy any new appliance, make you sure you buy the one that is the most energy efficient one, that uses the least amount of energy - it will cost you less to run it
  • Turn off all lights whenever you leave any room
  • At night (or if you are going away for any extended period of time), turn off all non-essential electrical appliances at the power point - this will save a great deal of energy and cost you less. Even when the power is off on your appliance, if it is not turned off, there is still a small amount of electricity running through
  • Wash clothes in cold water, for as many types of clothes that you can wash
  • Use a clothes line to dry clothes, instead of a dryer. This reduces greenhouse gases by around 3kg per load. In addition to this, dryers use a great deal of energy, which means higher electricity costs - you save money by using the clothes line instead of a dryer
  • Consider using solar energy to heat or cool your home (and water). Australia and other countries offer Government rebates to consumers who install solar power to their home. The costs of installing the solar energy is paid off in the first few years and after that, the costs to you, in terms of power usage, are minimal - basically free energy from the sun
  • Cover the lids on food cooking on the stove - this makes the food cook more quickly and saves energy and electricity (or gas) usage and associated costs

5. Saving water

  • Install a rainwater tank in your backyard (some people may need more than one). Some Governments in Australia offer rebates to consumers who install rainwater tanks, so enquire with your local Government. The rainwater tanks come in many shapes and sizes, to suit any backyard. A rainwater tank (or more) means less water usage and less water rates
  • Have short showers
  • Fix any leaking taps as soon as possible - they can be a great source of water wastage
  • Solar or gas hot water systems produce about 50% less greenhouse gases than electric hot water systems
  • Always run your washing machine when it is full
  • Forget about using a dishwasher, it is much more energy efficient to use old fashioned "elbow grease" - just wash dishes by hand
  • People with two kitchen sink should fill the second one with cold water and rinse washed dishes in this sink, after they have washed it in the first sink. Once the water in the sink becomes too soapy, drain it out and refill the sink with some more cold water. This is a great saver of water, instead of letting water just run while rinsing cutlery, crockery or pots and pans
  • Turn taps off when brushing your teeth. Only turn the water on to rinse your mouth of the toothpaste
  • Install tap flow regulators to ensure you can limit water flow to a slower flow and save water usage. Most Australian Governments offer rebates for these devices (they also offer the rebates on energy-efficient shower heads too - enquire what products have a rebate associated with them)