It’s good for your wallet, and the climate
While 80%-85% of electricity is generated from renewable sources like wind and hydro, the rest comes from fossil fuel generation. This means electricity generation still makes up just over 6% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the equivalent of about 1.4 million petrol cars.
Using less electricity, and shifting electricity use to off-peak times where possible helps to reduce fossil-fuel generation needed to power the grid. It will also save you money.
Tackle the big energy users first
On average, hot water and heating each use about a third of your electricity, so making nips and tucks to their use can have a big impact. Read on for tips on getting the most out of your hot water and heating, and then look into other areas, like lighting and appliances.
Don’t waste hot water
Around a third of the energy used by the average household is from hot water. So one of the easiest ways to lower your energy bill is to cut back on any hot water you don’t need to use, freeing up more cash for keeping warm and other things.
Around a third of your household energy goes to hot water
Save around $50 by switching to cold water washes
Save up to $80 by reducing water flow
Ways to save:
- Use a cold water wash cycle when you wash clothes. Making this change could save you around $50 per year, based on 4 washes per week, and modern washing machines and detergents clean well using cold water.
- Cut down the long showers to save money. A 15-minute shower costs about $1, while a 5-minute shower costs about 33c.
- If your shower fills a 10 litre bucket in less than a minute, it's wasting water. Replacing your shower head for one with a more efficient flow rate of 9 litres a minute or less could cut your hot water use significantly. Even reducing the flow rate by 1 litre per minute could save a household of four around $80 per year.
- Dripping hot taps could cost you hundreds of dollars a year (depending on how bad the leak is). Replace the washer or fitting - a new washer only costs a few dollars.
- If you own a dishwasher, wait until it’s full loaded to run it – and put it on ‘eco’ wash setting if available. If you rinse your dishes before loading the dishwater, use cold water.
Hot water: Tips to Use Hot Water Efficiently at Home
Keep warm for less
Minimise heating bills by insulating, draughtproofing, and choosing an efficient heater. Then optimise your heating habits to keep bills low while keeping your home warm and healthy.
Insulation is like wrapping a warm blanket around your house – so start there, if you can.
- Insulation is the first place to start. You may be eligible for a grant for 80% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation. Grants are available for eligible homeowners – check out Warmer Kiwi Homes grants below.
- Draughtproofing can make a big difference. Check your doors and windows for draughts on a cold and windy day, and then visit your hardware store to get the right products to seal the gaps.
- When it starts to get cooler in the evenings, close your doors and pull your curtains across.
- When the time comes to replace your heater, consider fitting a heat pump if you haven’t already got one. They’re a great choice for larger rooms, while electric resistance heaters are good for smaller rooms.
- You may be eligible for a grant for up to 80% of the cost of a heat pump. Grants are available for eligible homeowners – check out Warmer Kiwi Homes grants below.
- Only heat the rooms you need to. Leaving your heat pump running 24/7 will use more energy than only heating when you need to.
- For a healthy living environment, set your heater thermostat for between 18 to 21˚C. If you have older people or young babies at home, it might need to be a little higher.
Insulation and heating grants
Warmer Kiwi Homes offers grants of 80-90% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation, and up to 80% of the cost of an energy-efficient heater, to eligible homeowners.
Find out more and check your eligibility:
Other areas to save
Your heating and hot water are high-impact areas to make savings, but there are plenty of other things you can do to be more energy efficient at home:
Old fashioned downlights suck electricity. Twenty 100-Watt old fashioned downlights may cost you more than running a heater or heat pump – replace with modern downlights.
LED lightbulbs use 85% less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. For each incandescent bulb you replace with an LED, you can save between $100 and $300 over its lifetime (depending on the wattage of the bulb you replace). What’s more, most LED bulbs only cost between $3 and $10 each and can be found at supermarkets, hardware stores, and specialty lighting stores.
Modern appliances are becoming more and more energy efficient, and should use next to no energy while they’re not in use.
And don’t forget things like the beer fridge in your garage. They’re normally left on constantly, even when they’re not used as often as your kitchen fridge, and they tend to be old, energy inefficient models, too.
If you have appliances that are on standby, switch them off at the wall when they’re not in use – every little bit counts. You can even buy smart plugs that help you control this, through your wifi.
In future, our homes will become far smarter at managing energy use: read more: