For homeowners looking to make upgrades, a professional energy assessment can be a good place to start, said Dr. Fiona Gray, executive director of nonprofit sustainability group Renew.
“You have tools to find out where your building is leaking… and then you can do things like go to Bunnings and get door seals,” she said. “Put covers over your vents…put self-closing exhaust fans in the bathroom to keep heat from escaping.”
The next step was heavier curtains and drapes – and moldings over them – and an increase in exterior shading over the windows, either with blinds or by planting deciduous trees.
Ceiling fans could also make a big difference, using a fraction of the energy of older air conditioners, experts say. A new reverse cycle split system air conditioner would be more efficient to operate but would use more energy than a fan.
A step further would be heat pump hot water systems, double glazed windows and solar panels.
When Sydney couple Jason L’Ecuyer and Sophie Duxson moved into their first apartment last year, they knew they wanted upgrades to make their north-facing unit more comfortable.
They have installed a ceiling fan and new air conditioning, new double glazed windows and glass doors for their balcony and retrofitted some existing windows with magnetite to make them double glazed more cost effectively.
They swapped out their gas range for an electric one and installed honeycomb blinds to block heat in the summer and retain it in the winter.
Cheaper upgrades included LED lights and $9 door weather strips that made “an amazing difference.”
Her bills dropped about 30 percent as a result, and the temperature in her unit improved significantly, L’Ecuyer said.
“People living in apartment units in Sydney are used to this rise and fall in outside temperature due to poor insulation. When it was cold and damp outside, it felt cold and damp in here, and when it was hot outside, it felt hot in here [but that’s changed].”
Duxson said exterior blinds, window tinting and solar panels were also on her wish list but were harder to approve in a shift complex.
“Of course you can’t do everything financially either,” she added.
Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Davina Rooney said there could be a 75 per cent difference in energy bills between a highly energy efficient home and an inefficient home. But smaller measures like LED lights, more sustainable faucets, draft excluders and ceiling insulation could still save money.
Rooney recommended those looking for major investments like solar panels work with a specialist provider to ensure their home has the right orientation to take advantage of it.
Electric cooking and electric vehicles were also among the major upgrades homeowners could make.
Those looking to embark on a major renovation could upgrade their home’s orientation and opt for a lighter-colored roof, the experts said.
While retrofitting an existing home might feel overwhelming, Rooney said it’s important to start sooner rather than later.
“We experience quite a variety of weather conditions… and Australian homes weren’t designed to be very climate controlled [making your home more energy efficient] is a really fantastic thing for your bills and the environment, but it’s also a really important thing to make you feel more comfortable in your home.”
https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/how-to-save-money-on-your-home-energy-bills-in-2023-20221221-p5c84g.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_property Here’s how to save money on your home electricity bills in 2023