Committing to sustainability around the home might feel like a challenge, but there are easy ways to reduce your impact on the environment without making it a chore. Simply being aware of your household habits and making some small changes can make a big difference. When you choose sustainability, you’ll not only save money now but you’ll also invest in the next generation’s future.
When you use natural gas, you’ll not only save more, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint, too. How? Gas hot water systems will still meet your household needs, while contributing up to 80 per cent less carbon emissions than the electric alternative, based on comparable emissions of electricity and natural gas, according to the 2016 National Greenhouse Gas Factors Report (Australian Dept of the Environment).
Once you’ve chosen the right natural gas system for your needs, there are many ways you can further reduce your impact on the environment and save.
Benefits of natural gas
Your hot showers will be that much more enjoyable when you know they’re greener than the alternatives. Reduce the length of your showers by a few minutes to save water and be even greener.
Running costs can be reduced with a simple thermostat adjustment, too. Every additional degree your heating goes up or cooling goes down adds 10 per cent to the running cost. To keep your heating and cooling more efficient, set heating to 18 – 21 degrees and cooling to 24 – 27 degrees.
To ensure you’re minimising your environmental impact when you’re heating and cooling your home, close off rooms that aren’t in use or install zoning systems. You can also dry your laundry by putting your clothes rack over a vent, instead of putting them in the dryer.
Be a star
When choosing natural gas appliances and other household items that consume energy, be sure to consider those with a high energy star rating. While items with five or six stars are likely to be a bit more expensive than two or three-star alternatives, the long-term running cost savings will outweigh the initial investment.
LED: a bright idea
Next time you need to replace a lightbulb, choose an LED option. LEDs will reduce your household lighting electricity consumption by approximately 50 per cent. Unlike regular bulbs, LED lights beam light in one direction instead of all around, which helps to reduce energy wastage. LED lights can also last for more than 50,000 hours if the quality is high, so you’ll save on the cost of bulbs in the long run.
Switch it off
One of the simplest things you can do to reduce your energy wastage is switch off the television and devices you’re not using. Technology has become an essential part of life, but LCD screens generate more greenhouse gas than traditional monitors. Even reducing the brightness can make a big difference. Choose new products that come with an energy rating that’s high in stars to ensure the products you use at home are lower in emissions – for example, a fridge with four stars will consume less energy than a fridge with two stars.
If you’re able to keep your house cool, you’ll reduce the cost of air-conditioning and keep the environment happy in the process. Consider installing sunshades, particularly on the west side of your home, which will be hit by the harsh afternoon sun. It’s also worth ensuring that your insulation is doing its job. Quality insulation will help to keep your home cool during summer and warm in the winter months.
Every time you throw something that could have been recycled in the bin, you’re making an unnecessary contribution to landfill. Take the time to ensure your rubbish and recycling are separated correctly. The first step is knowing what is and isn’t recyclable, though. If it’s aluminium, steel, plastic, paper, glass or cardboard, make sure it lands in the recycling bin. Check your local council’s website to learn more about recycling management in your area.