Cheap to buy, easy to find, and saves you dollars in the long run — why wouldn't you use energy efficient light bulbs? There are different kinds available so make sure you have a look around or talk to an expert when you're out and about. You can find these bad boys in supermarkets or in hardware stores.
Sounds simple right? Well we don't just mean turn them off when you're not home, we also mean turn them off when they're not in use. Get into the habit of turning off your lights when you leave your bedroom to go to the bathroom for example, and think about if you really need multiple lights on in one room at the same time.
Not only do dimmer switches let you set the mood but they're also a great way to save electricity if you don't have to run your lights at full power all the time. You might also want to think about motion activated lights near your front door or carport if you don't have them already, rather than leaving a light on all night until you get home.
Unplugging devices and appliances you're not using or even just turning off the power points will help you save your precious moolah. Even little things like leaving your phone charger plugged in all the time make a difference so check out your house and see what you can switch off or unplug.
This is so important and often such a big offender we're saying it twice — turn off your TV at the power switch or unplug it. Simply using your remote doesn't actually turn it off, it only puts it on standby which can chew energy.
We're not saying go out and buy a new things right now, but the next time you're in the market for a replacement make sure you look for ones with good energy ratings. Our fridges (which are necessary) often chew a lot of unnecessary power if they're an older model.
Being healthy (or pretending to be healthy) relies a lot on meal prepping, and so can saving electricity. Rather than using your oven and stove separately, one at a time or turning them on and off, it's actually best to cook a bunch of things at once so you only have to spend energy warming them up once. Make sure you've got everything you need organised before turning them on though or this strategy could backfire.
Keeping the heat in means you don't waste as much energy — easy right?
Seriously, do you know how much energy a heater uses? It's actually ridiculous. If you're only a little bit cold, save some dollars by putting on a cozy jumper and some fluffy socks, or wrap yourself up in a snuggly doona. Obviously if you live somewhere super cold this isn't always an option, so talk to an expert about heating solutions for your home outside of central heating. Maybe you can use a portable space heater that just warms the room you're in or a programmable system — you never know, there might be better options for you.
Is your house insulated? This will help save you heaps on air conditioning and heating in the long term. If not, talk to an expert about your options (it can be an expensive outlay so you'll definitely have to weigh it up against any potential savings). If you are insulated but you find spots in your house particularly cool or breezy there are a few DIY options you can try out. Try putting a rolled up towel at the back door, or if you're feeling really handy, try putting caulk in any gaps around your windows.
Close your curtains and blinds when it gets darker to help keep the heat in (especially when they're thick — they work in a similar way to insulation) and open them first thing in the morning. There are two positives here, the natural sunlight will help heat the room and you won't have to turn a light on!
You've probably got a clothesline so use it unless you're desperate or pushed for time. Dryers use a bunch of energy and if you cut your usage you'll thank yourself when your next power bill arrives.
While we're on the topic of clothes, wash them in cold water when you can. We promise they'll be just as clean as if you'd used warm or hot water, and you'll save electricity (or gas) if you don't have to heat the water. Plus, washing clothes in cold water is often better because it stops the colours from running as much (just make sure you check the care instructions on your clothes first).
If you're on a student budget this can be hard, but fridges and freezers are actually most energy efficient when they're full. If you do have big gaps, try storing water bottles and ice trays (not a cool doggo) in there to take up some extra space.
The best tip out there is to keep track of your usage and be acocuntable. There are a bunch of apps and other ways you can keep track of your energy usage including wireless home energy and power monitors.
Find out more about the electrical courses on offer at TAFE Queensland by visiting our electrochnology study area page.
Ben Neideck has more than 25 years of experience in the electrotechnolgy industry. He's a qualified electrican who initially started with a pre-apprenticeship course and has since completed further study in electrical and civil engineering. He's been teaching for over three years and is continuing to advance his career with a Bachelor of Education.