C & G's Guide to an Energy Efficient Home

Making your home an energy efficient abode isn’t just good for the planet; it can save you money, add value to your property, and improve your health and wellbeing. It doesn’t matter whether you own a home or rent one–there are plenty of things you can do to make your home a bit greener and save money on your energy bills.

From choosing the right materials during a build to optimising your device use, here are some of our top tips.

For homeowners

Make use of small-scale renewables.

As non-renewables get more expensive, solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and small hydro systems are proving an increasingly wallet-friendly energy option for the long term.

There are plenty of financial incentives out there to help get set up, like the federal government’s Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which offers a range of financial benefits, such as upfront discounts and monthly ongoing cost-savings.

Know your insulation.

You might not be able to see it, but you can certainly feel the benefits of great insulation: it helps trap heat in winter, keeps your home cool in summer and reduces the workload on your heating and cooling systems all year round.

There are a lot of different insulation types to choose from–foam boards, loose-fill and reflective to name a few–and each method has its own different benefits and drawbacks. We recommend talking to an experienced and knowledgeable tradesperson about your options, as your needs may differ from your neighbours’.

Good window design will go far…

Just like with insulation, windows play a pivotal role in regulating your home’s indoor temperature. Investing in high-quality windows, preferably with double glazing, means that you keep your home’s energy where it needs to be - on the inside. Plus, by making sure there are no leaks or draughts, you’ll likely find yourself spending far less money on those air con bills.

…and good blinds will do the rest

It’s probably one of the last things you think about as a homeowner, but good blinds, shutters, and awnings are worth the investment, especially during our hot (if temperamental!) Melbourne summers. They don’t just keep out the sun, either; they can also act as an extra layer of protection against the winter cold.

For everyone

Create smaller spaces by shutting doors and using dividers.

It may seem obvious, but closing the doors to rooms that aren’t in use can amp up the effectiveness of heating and cooling in a particular area. If your home is built around an open-plan, dividers and hanging blankets can work to confine heat or cold to the areas where you need it most.

Don’t underestimate the power of a fan!

Have you ever looked at your weather app and seen the ‘feel like’ temperature? As we’re writing this, it’s 25 degrees outside, but it “feels like” 23 due to a combination of temperature, humidity and wind speed. Using a fan in your house doesn’t actually change the temperature of the air, but it does circulate it better.

Using a fan to replace or supplement other heating and cooling measures will evaporate sweat and eliminate body heat, making the inside of your home feel cooler than it is.

Switch standby for off.

Most modern devices these days come with a ‘standby’ mode, and while we might think it’s saving us energy, the only way to ensure an appliance isn’t costing us (or the environment!) anything is to switch it off. You’d be surprised how quickly the costs of running devices can add up. A gaming console, for instance, might cost a household an extra $193 a year if kept on standby.

So, if it’s not an essential 24/7 device like a fridge or medical equipment, consider unplugging it before you go to bed or leave the house.