Since we’re a power company, we’re not going to tell you how to quit sugar or run a marathon — but we can share these 10 little tips to help you become greener in the new year.
1. Upgrade your household appliances
Old appliances are energy hogs. And while we might not want to chuck the fridge or washing machine out of modern life, making sure they are energy efficient is one way we can fight climate change from home.
- Buy energy efficient appliances. While the upfront cost might look big, there can be huge savings in the lifetime cost with a more efficient appliance.
- Dispose of your older appliances with care. Check your local area for appliance recycling and removal programs.
- Programs all across Australia offer rebates for purchasing energy-efficient appliances. If you live in QLD, there’s good news for you. The state government has recently announced rebates up to $300 for government-approved energy-efficient appliances purchased in the new year. You can read more about it here
2. Make the rest of your house greener
After upgrading your appliances, there are a number of easy, high-impact ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
- Change the air filters in your heating and cooling systems.
- Install or learn how to use a programmable thermostat correctly. The average Australian house spends 40% of the energy bill on heating and cooling. Understanding the most efficient way to heat and cool your house can save you money in the long run.
- Install high quality insulation in attics and crawl spaces, caulk window sills and install weather stripping.
- Unplug electronics and appliances. Idle electronics use a shocking amount of energy. While this may feel inconvenient, it’s the oldest energy savings method in the book. Try using a power strip for appliances that go together. Flick one switch and you’ll shut off the coffee maker, the toaster and your cell phone charger on your way out the door.
- Set your computer monitor to power down when not in use.
- Wash clothes in cold water and consider air drying. Dryers are one of the most inefficient appliances in our homes.
- Switch out light bulbs. You’ve probably heard this one before, and for good reason. While the upfront cost may seem steep, switching to CFLs or LEDs will save you money in the long run.
Ready to join a greener power company? Look no further.
3. Purchase GreenPower
Purchasing GreenPower may be one of the easiest ways to make a big impact on climate change. Why? Because producing electricity from fossil fuels is the number one source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. When you choose GreenPower, you’re directly supporting efforts in Australia to increase renewable energy sources.
- You use energy.
- You buy GreenPower from us using your online account
- We buy extra renewable energy certificates.
- More money is invested in renewables, encouraging more renewable energy to be added to the grid.
- Australia’s renewable energy industry is helped to develop and expand..
- (It’s really that simple!)
4. Get educated about your food
Today, we can pluck ingredients from all over the world straight from the grocery store shelf. The items in a typical Australian food basket have travelled 70,000 km to make it to your table. Luckily for us, the local food movement is gaining momentum, offering us options that are delicious, affordable, and far less environmentally damaging.
- Buy your ingredients from local sources whenever possible.
- Eat only in-season fresh produce.
- Limit processed foods.
- Grow your own food.
- Examine the packaging on the food you do buy. Can it be recycled or composted?
5. Think about your transportation
Unless you’re a hermit, you most likely rely on some sort of transportation. Choosing a more energy efficient transportation method can go a long way towards fighting climate change.
- Instead of driving to work try public transportation, biking, walking or carpooling.
- When you do have to drive, be as smooth as steady as possible. Road raging can lower your gas mileage by 5% in town and a whopping 33% on the highway.
- If it’s time for a new car, consider buying a green vehicle. The better fuel economy will help both your wallet and efforts against climate change.
- Keep up with routine maintenance on your car. A well maintained vehicle is more efficient. Regularly check your tyre pressure and be sure to use the recommended grade of engine oil.
- Combine your errands into one trip.
6. Do you really need to buy that?
While retail therapy is fun (and sometimes necessary), it’s not good for your wallet or the environment.
- Before you go shopping — any kind of shopping — make a list and stick to it.
- Do a thorough check of what you already have. Chances are you already have a good black sweater, pasta for tonight’s dinner, a box of crayons, or any number of items buried deep in the house.
- If you fall in love with an item that wasn’t on your list, try waiting for a bit. Anywhere from 20 minutes to a week ought to determine whether you really need it.
- Ask around. Friends, family or neighbours might be able to lend you whatever it is you were about to buy.
- Don’t buy more groceries than you and your household can eat.
- Find the most effective ways to reduce your use of unnecessary items more broadly across nearly every aspect of your home life.
7. Think before you throw
Reusing an item stops something new from being manufactured, packaged, transported, and prevents the replaced item from reaching landfill.
- Think carefully about something before you throw it away. Can it be repurposed into something else? Can it be fixed, cleaned up or repaired?
- Check out these websites that are devoted to reusing old materials. The recent popularity of turning old shipping pallets into stylish furniture is a great example of a way to repurpose something that would have been discarded.
Recycling is an easy way to ensure your used items don’t end up in landfill. Australia has a good track record, with 98% of households claiming to participate in some level of recycling.
- Sort through recyclable paper, aluminium, plastic, glass, cardboard, and plastic bottles and bags and make sure these items end up in the recycle bin.
- Consider composting your organic material at home.
9. Conserve water
Water conservation is practically ingrained at birth in Australia, where we experience frequent drought. Remembering to keep water conservation at the forefront of our daily actions can have a very positive impact on climate change. After all, it takes a lot of energy to get water to your house.
- Install low flow toilets.
- Fix leaky taps and save up to 20,000 litres of water each year!
- Only run your dishwasher and washing machines with full loads.
- Turn off your taps while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Keep your showers under five minutes.
- Water outside in the early morning or late evening to lessen evaporation losses.
10. Get informed, get involved and get sharing
While incorporating even a few of the above suggestions will help your household do its part to fight climate change, the more who join in the better. And if your friends and family don’t appreciate a soapbox speech, show them your energy bills. Everything we do to fight climate change together is also good for our household budgets.
- Be proud of the changes you’re making at home and share your wins.
- Challenge someone you know to produce a more efficient household than yours.
- Get involved with local organisations that can make a big difference, like schools, hospitals, or your office.
- Support local organisations working to make a difference in your area, either by donating or volunteering.
The thing we love most about adopting green habits? Practicing the steps suggested above is, more often than not; also better for your wallet. Follow all or pick and choose — the choice is truly yours. Happy New Year!
To find out more about Powershop and our green credentials click here.