Blog Post Friday 10 February 2017
Moving house soon? There’s no better time to look at ways to improve the energy efficiency of your new home. Before you start unpacking the boxes, take stock and look at ways you can take advantage of a clean slate to go greener, leaner and cheaper in your energy usage.
Before all the furniture is moved into position, it pays to think about layout and cabling in your home. Rooms that have a lot of electrical appliances, such as the kitchen, living room, rumpus and study, could benefit from a standby power switch like the eco power switch. Installed in the power outlet, a powerboard is then connected to the eco power switch. You now have a single point of control for turning off all electrical appliances in the room. Best of all, it isn’t located behind furniture or in an out of the way place.
Here’s a fun and easy energy-saving tip. Insulating your hot water tank will prevent heat loss from the exterior and make it look like you’ve got a rocket ship right in your basement. Insulation is cheap and easy to install. GreenStu’s EcoWrap is a good example. If your hot water tank has an R-value of more than 4.0, you don’t need to insulate it. If you don’t know your tank’s R rating, put your hand near it or, if it’s not too hot, touch it. A warm tank will benefit from insulation.
If your new home has solar panels, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most energy out of them. Consider installing an energy monitoring system to track energy use and production from your solar panels if the home doesn’t already have one. And don’t forget to take a look at Click Energy’s choice of solar plans. If your new home doesn’t have panels but you’re interested in installing them, doing so before you move will will mean less disruption to your life.
If the toilets and cisterns in your new home were installed prior to the mid 1990s, then you will want to consider installing low flow toilets, which will drastically reduce your water bill. Upgrade the taps and faucets while you're at it to provide more control over water flow for even more savings.
Nowadays, technology gives us the power to revolutionise the home using network-connected apps and devices. Controlling everything from the fridge and oven to home heating and lighting from your smartphone is fast becoming a reality. Before moving in, you’ll want to look at the existing ‘connectivity’ of your home. Where are the ports for your modem? Can you easily connect devices around the house via WiFi? Wires, cabling and ports are all easier to manage if you plan before the furniture is moved into place.
If you have plans to stay for the long term, planting trees is the perfect environmentally-friendly way to provide cooling shade on your property. In a few years, you’ll have plenty of leafy shade around the exterior and backyard, not to mention the pleasantness that comes with strolling around your leafy estate.
Did you know around 90% of energy in incandescent bulbs is wasted as heat. LED bulbs are not only energy efficient, they can last a lifetime, with ratings from 20,000 to 50,000 hours. Check the lighting situation before you move in. It’s a lot easier and safer to change globes in an empty house, and the savings are well worth it in the long term.
Moving house is also a good time to clean out the junk. That includes kitchen appliances and other electrical goods that have poor efficiency ratings. While it might seem like a waste of money to replace a working toaster, over the long term, these less-than-A-grade appliances will end up costing you more in electrical bills. Taking action before moving in also gives you the best chance to coordinate new appliances with the size, shape and interior design of your new home.
Cross-ventilation is when windows and doors are opened at opposite sides of the room or house to allow cooling breeze through the home. You won’t be able to move the locations of windows and doors in a pre-existing structure, but you can use them to inform how you decorate your home. If you know that the lounge and kitchen windows are going to be open all summer, planning now to position your furniture means you won’t have to move couches and chairs around later to take advantage of the breeze.
East-West sunlight on windows and glass doors is among the biggest causes of temperature increase around the house. You can’t change the orientation of your new home, but you can combat exposure to East and West sunlight by installing shade extensions on the exterior to block sunlight on windows and common walls before the move. This can come in the form of awnings, canvas sails, marquees or roller shutters attached to the windows. These new fixtures can come in handy for entertaining as well, providing shade on the deck or in the backyard for when you’re enjoying a summer lunch outside with the family.
Storage rooms like the attic and basement are often neglected when it comes to insulation and energy saving. Check for drafts, holes in the roof, windows that don’t close properly and other breaches in the home perimeter that can lead to wasted energy.
Taking the time to make small changes can have a dramatic effect on the energy efficiency of your home. Making sure that the electrics, plumbing and heating are as energy efficient as possible, as well as being up to date with the latest environmental technology, can save both the environment and your money.