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Savings Guide

The nuts and bolts of saving money through energy efficiency

Save energy to save money
One of the most important aspects of the campaign to save energy and be more energy efficient is the link between our homes and the financial savings that can be realised when you reduce electricity usage. This not only acts as a reward for those of us who take the time to make our home life as energy efficient as possible, with things like a standby power switch and energy efficient appliances, it also acts as motivation for those of us who are not terribly concerned about the environment or the growing energy crises, but are certainly concerned about the size of our latest electricity bill.

Reduce energy to save

The recently released Low Carbon Lifestyles report, ordered by Origin Energy and created by ClimateWorks and CSIRO, aims directly at the wallets of everyday consumers in Australia, seeking to demonstrate the clear relationship between a more energy-conscious lifestyle and lower energy bills. The further implication, of course, is that lower energy bills means more money in each person’s wallet for other things.

The report takes the promising route of practical nuts-and-bolts information about what each home-owner can do and what their reward might be. For individuals who own their home, the report lists possibilities such as:

  • Switching to energy efficient light bulbs, which can potentially cut emissions due to energy consumption by 4% – and save the home-owner about $130 a year.
  • Changing old shower-heads to energy efficient models can save the home-owner anywhere from $160 to $315 a year, depending on where they live in Australia.
  • For home-owners who enjoy a pool, installing a new energy-efficient pool pump can save them anywhere from $260 to $500 a year.
  • Investing in a new, efficient water heater can save home-owners anywhere from $650 to nearly $1000 a year.
  • For the ambitious, installing a solar panel system on their roofs can save nearly $500 a year while reducing emissions generated by energy use by an astounding 23%.

Added together, potential savings from these relatively simple adjustments to lifestyle can equal almost $2500 a year, while also reducing pollution.

Renters not forgotten

The strength of this report lies in its practicality. Not only does it tie a clear financial value to each investment, allowing people to judge the initial expense and time investment against a yearly return on that investment, it also give people options to consider. If having solar panels installed in the home is simply not a possibility, there are plenty of smaller changes that can be made and which will have a significant impact on that individual’s personal carbon footprint and electricity bill.

While many of these reports and initiatives concentrate on home-owners, renters are not forgotten here. Everyone can make changes in their life to increase their energy efficiency and reduce their costs. Those who do not own their living space can still choose any number of money-saving actions, including

  • Installation of efficient shower-heads.
  • Switching to efficient light bulbs.
  • Installation and use of an EcoSwitch to eliminate standby power.
  • Discussing more involved changes with the property owner or landlord.

It would be nice to think that people all over the world understand the crisis that is rising around them and would voluntarily do their part to ease energy consumption and protect the environment in which we all live. For many, however, the stress on the financial rewards of being more energy efficient are the most significant factor. By educating the world as to the savings they can enjoy – significant savings that can be invested in other aspects of their lives – reducing energy usage can become a favourite activity for everyone, regardless of their motivation. This is one area where the reasons for people’s actions do not matter, as long as the result is lower pollution and lower energy use.