5 easy ways to save power
Making it your mission to save energy at home is a no-brainer: spend less, and tread lighter on the environment. Here’s a bunch of practical tips and tools to make it happen.
- Not using it? Switch it off at the wall. If the wall switch is on, you’re still using a bit of power.
- Look for efficiency when you’re buying. Large appliances will have an energy rating from one to six. The more stars, the better.
- Calculate how much your appliances use so you can identify the worst offenders.
- Make a habit of turning off the light as you leave a room. It’s a simple way to save.
- Pick LED bulbs, instead of incandescent ones. They’re slightly more expensive to buy, but they last 10 to 20 years – and use way less electricity. We’re talking 85% less.
- Think outside the bulb. If you don’t get much sun or have a few dark corners in your place, a mirror can be a great way to reflect the light you do have, and brighten the place up.
- If your windows and doors don’t quite fit the frames properly, draught stopping tape works a treat in keeping the breeze out. You can pick it up at most hardware stores.
- Got crying windows? You’re not alone. Luckily, there’s a cheap fix for that: insulation film. It has a similar effect to double glazing, but without the price tag. You can cover five windows for around $30, which will keep the heat in way better and get rid of condensation. Again, most hardware stores stock it.
- Choose a shower over a bath and make it snappy. Showers use about half the water, energy and cost that a bath does.
- Put your washing on a cold setting. It cleans just as well, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says it saves up to 10 times the power.
- If you’ve got a dishwasher, run it on the ‘eco’ setting.
Timers and sensors are a cheap and cheerful way of turning off things that aren’t being used.
- Group your appliances (for example the TV, gaming console and decoder), with one timer. It'll sense when the primary load, such as the television, is switched off – and turn off all the rest. Clever, and cheaper.
- Heated towel rail timers will cost you about $30, but save you way more every year. Those things chew through the power when they’re left on.
- Keep path and security lights on only when they’re actually useful – in the dark.
This calculation will help you work out how much power each of your appliances use, and what that costs.
- Find the watts of your appliance (on the appliance itself, or the tag)
- Multiply that by the hours used per day
- Divide that by 1000 to get the daily kilowatt per hour (kWh) usage
- Multiply that by the cost of your power.
- Use a per kWh cost that includes Electricity Authority levies but excludes daily charges. You can find this on your power bill under ‘total electricity rate’.
- 1000 watts (average clothes iron)
- x 0.25 hours per day
- ÷ 1000 = 0.25 kWh per hour
- x 27 cents per kWh (example power price)
- = 6.75 cents per day / 47.25 cents per week / $1.89 per month.
Warmer Kiwi Homes
If you own a home and have a Community Services or SuperGold card, you could be eligible for Government funding for heating and insulation.
If you receive a benefit or superannuation, you’ll automatically receive a Winter Energy Payment during winter months to help pay the power bill.
In case you’re wondering how you can save energy during the warmer months; we’ve got five hot tips for keep you (and your bills) cool over summer.