• Top eco-smart hacks for your home

    Top eco-smart hacks for your home

    Make the planet and your bank balance a whole lot healthier with these smart eco-friendly home hacks.

    It’s no secret that global warming is having an impact on our planet – the good news is, there are plenty of simple ways to reduce our individual carbon footprint in the home. These small changes can add up to huge savings for the environment – and the savings to your bottom line can be just as impressive.

    #1 Appliances

    The appliances we choose for our homes can have a profound effect on the environment as well as your budget. Electricity prices have risen significantly year on year, to the point that it's the primary cost-of-living concern for many Australians – so it pays to purchase appliances that are energy efficient. 

    Every new appliance you buy will display an energy star rating, the higher the star rating, the more efficient the product will be. Every extra energy star on a dishwasher cuts running costs by up to 30 percent. The most efficient dishwashers use half the water of average models, so you save on both your water and power bills.

    Inefficient washing machines can also have a huge impact on energy and water consumption, but every extra energy star can cut 27% off your running costs. Look out for models with load sensing technology and choose a front loader which uses about half as much water as a top loader does.

    Fridges are also expensive to operate because they are always running. When buying a new fridge, choose the appropriate size, if it’s usually half full then it’s probably too big for your household. You can also save up to 23% on the running costs of your fridge with every extra energy star.1

    #2 Heating/cooling

    The cost of heating and cooling adds up quickly, but there are many simple ways you can maintain a comfortable year round temperature in your home. The most efficient heating and/or cooling system is a well designed home, so if you happen to be building or extending, pay close attention to the orientation of your living areas in order to control the amount of sunlight entering your home; as well as the placement of windows to optimise natural cross-ventilation. 

    Be aware that up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost, and up to 87% of its heat gained through glass,2 so it’s worth looking into the thermal performance of your home’s windows. Double glazed or low emissivity glass can significantly minimise heat transfer. 

    A simple way to maintain a comfortable temperature is via insulation, which reduces heat flow into and out of your home. You can cut heating and cooling costs by up to 40% by insulating the ceiling in your home, even more so if you insulate the walls and floors.

    Finally, landscaping can be a really effective way to protect your home from seasonal temperature extremes – large trees do a great job at blocking out the harsh summer sun whilst shielding your home from cold winds, in turn reducing the need for excess cooling and heating. 

    #3 Lighting 

    With lighting costs consuming between 8 and 15% of the average household electricity budget,3 it pays to look into smarter lighting choices. If you are building or renovating, begin by designing your home to capture as much natural light as possible, to reduce your overall lighting requirements. This can be done by strategically placing windows and skylights to capture light and direct it into dark areas of your home.

    LED lighting is generally the most efficient lighting technology you can buy for your home and offers a useful alternative to traditional halogen lighting. Whilst LEDs are more expensive to buy upfront, they are 4 to 7 times more efficient than the typical incandescent or halogen equivalent, meaning greater overall savings when considering lifetime energy costs. LEDs also last 5 to 10 times longer than a halogen bulb.

    Solar powered lights are an energy efficient way to light outdoor areas such as driveways and garden paths. Solar garden lights store energy from the sun during the day and turn on automatically at dusk. The light provided is not as bright as mains-powered garden lighting, but they’re easy to install as they don’t need wiring and come in a range of styles. 

    #4 Water

    Australia is the driest inhabitable continent on the earth, and with a steadily growing population, our water supply is precious. There are a couple of systems you can install in your home to conserve water and reduce your water bills. 

    Rainwater is a free source of fresh water. Installing a rainwater tank will provide you with a personal supply of water to use during water restrictions and can help you save on bills. 

    Greywater is waste water from sources including the bath, basin, laundry and shower (it doesn't include ‘blackwater’ from toilets). A greywater system enables you to re-use water around your home, with the average Australian household able to use around 1,500 litres of greywater each week. 

    The easiest place to utilise greywater is in the garden. Using greywater can significantly reduce your overall water bill and also allows you to water your garden during restrictions. Your household may be eligible for government assistance or rebates to help with the cost of installing a rainwater tank or greywater system.

    1 www.environment.nsw.gov.au, 1 August 2018. 

    2 www.yourhome.gov.au, 24 August 2018. 

    3 www.yourenergysavings.gov.au, 24 August 2018

     

     

    About the author

    • Raymond

      Raymond A Ram is the RAMbassador for RAMS Financial Group. Raymond works with the RAMS team to bring simple, helpful and expert information on home loans and savings accounts to life with his down to earth and cheeky personality. He enjoys seeing everyday Australians turn their dreams of saving for a goal or getting into a home a reality. 

      Growing up in Goulburn, NSW, Raymond was brought up with good old-fashioned Aussie values of hard work and a fair go. It soon became apparent that Raymond wasn't content for the conventional path of grazing, producing the very best wool, and finding a nice sheep to settle down with. So it wasn't long before his passion for performing and his talent as a likeable larrikin shone through - landing him a few roles such as 'RAMlet'. He was even tipped to play RAM-bo at one point but chose to become star of the small screen instead as RAMbassador for RAMS. He now finds this role so much more rewarding.

      Contact your local RAMS Home Loan Centre about your home loan options.

      Raymond A Ram
     

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  • Disclaimer:

    The information here is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute financial or tax advice. You should consult your professional adviser, accountant or taxation expert for advice specific to your personal circumstances.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of RAMS Financial Group Pty Ltd ABN 30 105 207 538 (RAMS),  Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (Westpac) or their related bodies corporate. This article is strictly for information purposes only and neither RAMS, Westpac nor any of their related bodies corporate make any representation as to the accuracy or completeness of the information in this article or endorse the views expressed in it.