Nickel Energy’s Winter Energy Saving Tips
Electricity bills can be a nightmare for everybody. It’s no surprise that with rising energy costs, they are continuing to put pressure on families and businesses. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your comfort in winter just to save some money on your bill. Nickel Energy is here to give you some energy saving tips that will help you get through the colder months without having to sacrifice comfort for you and your family.
First Place to Start?
The most sustainable suggestion to consider is making the switch to renewable energy. The switch to renewables will provide a long-lasting benefit for your wallet as well as the planet. With so many options to consider when looking at renewables, the preferred three to consider are Wind, Hydro, and Solar. You are not restricted to only one source of renewable energy, so consider choosing to one, two or all of them depending on your energy needs. Solar energy has emerged as a leader in renewable energy, especially for commercial and residential projects.
Solar technology has become more advanced and affordable than ever. Solar panels and battery storage are the most preferred option for renewable energy as they are readily available, convenient and allow you to generate and store your own clean energy.
Although there is an initial financial cost involved in securing solar energy, this can often be managed through payment plans and there may even be government subsidies or loans available for you. To access these, you may need to check with your solar energy provider. Your energy bills will decrease as you are paying back the cost of your solar installation. This is because you will be compensated at a rate agreed on by your solar energy provider for any excess solar energy fed back into the grid. Choice (2018) estimated that in Brisbane, the average time taken for a 5kW solar system to essentially pay for itself is 4 years. Once fully paid off, your solar system will continue to save you money for its entire lifetime. The amount you save will vary depending on different factors such as your energy consumption, the time of day you consume most power, and whether your solar system has the capacity to store solar energy.
Simple Energy Saving Tips Around the Home
These changes will show you that even the smallest changes can make a big difference to your energy costs.
Find out what consumes the most… target and reduce your highest energy users first. You can conduct your own energy audit with a wattmeter (these may be available either from your local council or at an electronics store)
Review your Tariffs… identify the best tariff choice for you heating/hot water to reduce your costs. Start by inspecting your electricity bill or contacting your electricity provider to access more information regarding Tariffs.
Rethink your schedule… for solar systems without battery storage, consider running most of your bigger appliances during the day. Run your dishwasher, do your laundry, or consider using time delays for the oven, slow cooker, laundry, etc. As solar energy is only generated during the day, try getting the most out of your solar panels during this time. Utilise free solar energy during the day and potentially save money by using less energy during expensive peak times (which most commonly are the early morning and evening). To receive more information regarding off-peak times to better consume less expensive energy, check your electricity bill or contact your electricity provider.
Close… ensure your house is closed and secure to seal off draughts. Closing doors and windows are the first step. You can even go further by installing draught excluders, weather stripping doors and sealing any holes or cracks with silicone.
Monitor your hot water… take shorter showers (1 minute less can equal up to 9 litres saved on most newer showerheads) and even wash your clothes in cold water.
Lower your Thermostat… save approximately 3% on energy use for each degree you lower your heating system
Rug up… combat the cold whether through more sustainable methods such as warm PJs, slippers and bed socks. Ensure you still get a good night’s rest by using extra doonas or blankets. Don’t forget to layer your clothing (thermal leggings, tops, a down jacket or vest).
Think Full… use your appliances when they are full! It is more efficient because you will need to use these less often, saving energy.
Monitor… ensure you are always on top of your energy usage by checking your solar monitoring software. Don’t have solar? Look around for an appropriate monitoring system to install.
Invent New Habits… Shower at work or the Gym if they have the facilities available. Open the fridge less often. Consider hanging clothes on the line or inside on a clothes horse rather than using an electric clothes dryer. Ensure you turn off heating and lights while you are not at home. Do not leave appliances in standby mode as they still consume energy.
Follow the Sun… Make use of the sun’s location during the winter months. Keeping South facing windows covered and opening blinds/curtains on North facing windows will allow the sun to reduce the need for heating through energy use.
Maintenance… To maintain efficiency, ensure you arrange a solar panel clean regularly and have a professional service on your reverse cycle air conditioner. Clean Have your filter cleaned and serviced regularly by a qualified professional.
Bigger Energy Saving Tips
Consider these measures if you want a larger impact on your energy usage.
Storage: Capitalise on your solar or other renewable energy by storing your excess energy made possible with battery storage.
Windows: Look at installing double glazing, honeycomb blinds. You can even consider double cell, or heavy curtains with pelmets.
Hot water: Install an efficient reverse cycle hot water cylinder and automate it to heat while your solar panels are producing the most energy.
Insulate: Ensure your ceiling, floor and walls are at the highest R value R7.0.
Home Automation: Set up a timing system (Smart Things software or similar) to switch heating off at bedtime and switch on again in the morning. Automate your blinds/curtains to close during colder months and at night.
Appliances: Match your appliances with your needs. Ensure you purchase the correct sized fridge, freezer, washing machine, dryer or oven for your household. Purchasing appliances that are too large will result in higher energy costs. Replace inefficient appliances with appliances carrying high energy star ratings.
Creative Energy Saving Tips
These tips are a little less practical but might be useful if you are running out of energy saving ideas.
Lights out! Commit to turning out the lights once a week and light candles, use torches or candlestick holders. Use this to enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner. Or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, get out the tarot cards, grab the glow sticks, dust off the Ouija board, tell ghost stories or play a spooky board game together by candlelight. Monopoly works just as well!
Reduce TV and devices consumption… Engage in activities that don’t use these appliances, such as reading a book, meditating, arts and crafts, sharing a jigsaw puzzle, playing music and enjoying a sing along to your favourite tunes. You can even play a family cards tournament (bet using chocolates, lollies or household chores).
Create your own ways to save energy this winter that work for you!
Any measures you take to reduce your energy use will have a positive impact on your electricity bill. Whether big or small, ensuring you make more conscious decisions regarding energy usage will help your wallet and the environment long-term. Whilst the best method of energy usage is still installing a solar energy system, any of these tips will still help you. Begin with one change and see where it takes you!
For every kWh of energy saved, you are saving money. Not only that, but you are improving overall air quality, while reducing your carbon footprint. Using these energy saving tips will improve your own bottom line and will help to slow the harmful effects of climate change. You can take pride in knowing that you are protecting your own welfare and that of future generations by reducing your energy consumption today.