Save Costs With Sustainable Design
Since the pandemic arrived we are all spending more money in, and on, our homes than ever before. And while working from home, staycations and online shopping can save us money, it can also cause our power bills to rocket upwards (and wipe out the savings we’ve made by staying home) if we’re not careful.
If you’re building now, choosing sustainable design is a great way to keep your living costs down. You can find out more about sustainable house designs in Queensland here. And, if you’re already in your dream home then some simple changes will help you to be both energy efficient and benefitting the environment.
The four main areas of energy usage in an average Australian home are:
- Heating and cooling
- Water heating
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling account for roughly 40 per cent of the average home’s energy usage, which makes it a great place to start when you’re looking into your energy efficiency. We know that Queensland gets hot and humid meaning your air conditioner will often need to be on 24/7. When you’re building from scratch you can ensure you choose an energy efficient model for aircon, whether it be ducted or split system. And after you move in, there are some additional small changes you can make to reduce costs:
- Stop the sun from blazing in by closing curtains and blinds in sun facing rooms to keep them cooler, allowing your aircon to work a little less hard and cost a bit less money!
- Conversely, when it is cold open blinds and curtains to welcome the sun in to warm your home naturally, but keep them closed on the shady side and at night to stop heat escaping
- In spring and autumn (let’s be honest in Queensland fans just don’t cut it on hot summer days) utilise a ceiling fan rather than an air conditioner
- Seal gaps around doors, windows and fireplaces where there is a draft
Lighting accounts for another 10 per cent of the average home’s electricity usage, so give these little tips a try to save some $$$:
- Don’t use lights if you don’t have to (i.e. well positioned natural light is often enough and if you’re building, this is an important sustainable design consideration), and don’t forget to turn them off when you leave the room. You could also consider installing sensors and/ or timers and dimmer switches
- Energy-saving LED light globes use up to 75 per cent less energy than halogen or incandescent lights and last 5-10 times longer
- Solar lighting for gardens has dramatically improved, and the light bulbs are much brighter than they used to be, so no need to use electric lights in the garden
Household appliances account for another 30 per cent of our energy usage, and while you’re home 24/7 this figure can rise much higher. Watching your favourite shows on a large TV screen for extended periods can burn more energy than a fridge, which is a pretty big power sucker in its own right. And while no one is expecting you to do without a TV (the humanity!), there are a bunch of things you can do to save your wallet some pain:
- Choose new appliances energy wisely. Check energy ratings before you buy, all new appliances have stickers giving you a star rating
- Adjust settings to maximise benefit, such as making sure the fridge temperature and thermostat are on the right temperature, setting aircon at reasonable temperatures
- Use eco settings wherever possible, and if you don’t have solar panels, use things like dryers (if a clothes line won’t do) at night when electricity is cheaper
- Many appliances continue to draw power even when you’re not using them – look out for appliances that have standby power modes which help to conserve energy usage
Heating water uses around 20 per cent of an average household’s energy usage, and even more if you have a big family and enjoy long showers! Save money with these quick tips:
- Use cold water for the washing machine where possible; today’s washing powders and machines are very capable of a great wash at cold or low temperatures, this also saves on fabric meaning your clothes will last longer
- Only run the washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load
- Lower your water heater thermostat to between 60°C and 65°C
- Install a water-efficient showerhead and keep showers to four minutes or less
- If you want to look long term, you can install a solar hot water system, heat pump, or gas hot water system, all of which are more energy-efficient than electric
If you’d like to learn more about sustainable design in Queensland, Moreton Bay Regional Council has an excellent resource on their website here with heaps of great ideas for building and living in Moreton Bay.
Find North Harbour
North Harbour’s Sales and Information Centre & Display Village is open seven days a week, 10am-5pm. Located on Buckley Road in Burpengary East, the Display Village showcases beautiful display homes with sustainable design for Brisbane from some of Australia’s best home builders. To find out more about North Harbour living including our regular events, sign up for our email updates and find us on Facebook and Instagram (@northharbourliving).