Every day the TV, Radio and our News Feeds are getting more and more full with Governments and big business talking about how they are reducing their carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable.
But, how can you have an impact? These three hacks will help you significantly reduce your very own home’s carbon footprint and become more sustainable for the future.
1. Use an Energy Monitor
Understanding what is using all of the power in your home is the first step in becoming a much more sustainable household. In Australia, most of the power we use from the grid still comes from fossil fuels. While, as a country, we are making good progress towards a more renewable grid we aren’t there yet. Mitigating your overall power use will not only save you some money, but it will also mean reducing you and your home’s carbon footprint.
The best place to start is to buy an energy monitor. Energy monitors are a cheap and effective way of understanding what is using all of your power.
They work simply by telling you how much power you are using at any given time. A lot of modern energy monitors can be installed without an electrician and cost as little as $50 – $150.
Once installed, you can download the energy monitor’s app and right at your fingertips, you will have live and historical energy usage for your home. It can be fun to watch your usage as you go about your day and begin to understand the big energy consumers and the surprisingly low energy consuming devices in your home.
Things to consider when you are looking at ways to reduce your energy usage after you have your monitor. Try turning on a fan and reducing your aircon usage for a day. Then compare it with a similar day you purely relied on aircon. Fans use much less energy than air conditioning so when you get the balance right, you can achieve great savings!
When a standard ceiling mount fan is used in conjunction with air conditioning you can generally reduce your aircon temperature by 2 – 3 degrees with no impact on your comfort!
2. Make the Switch To Renewable Energy
One of the more powerful things you can do to make your home more sustainable is to make the switch to renewable energy. The most common and most financially viable option in Australia is to install rooftop solar.
We are very lucky to live in a country like Australia where we get so much beautiful sunshine. Whenever it is sunny, you can be generating your own clean, green renewable energy!
Solar works by taking the sun’s rays and turning them into electricity your home can use. During the day, any power you use from your solar system is the power you didn’t have to pull from the grid. If you can’t use all of the power you are generating from your home solar system, it will get sent back into the grid for someone else to use. Plus you will even get paid for this power you send back to the grid and this is known as a ‘Feed-in Tariff’.
In Australia, there are even national and Government based schemes to help you pay for solar.
Jonathan Green from Teho, an Australian Renewable Energy Broker that specialises in Solar Systems for residential homes said that Government incentives have been vital in helping the growth in renewable energy.
“Government-backed financial incentives have been imperative to the growth and affordability of solar in Australia. They can really have a big impact on the total cost to the end-user which means more Australians can get solar. A reasonably sized residential solar system can attract over $3,500 in incentives alone.”
3. Reduce your Single-Use Plastics
It is not a secret, single use plastics are still a big problem. It is estimated that of our plastic usage over 130,000 tonnes will end up in our oceans. While big businesses are slowly making the change it is people on the front line that can have a meaningful impact today!
It is quite easy to begin reducing the amount of single use plastics that gets consumed in your home. Some good places to start are:
Say goodbye to cling wrap. Beeswax based wraps are a great alternative that is cheap, reusable and biodegradable at the end of their life. They work by molding to the side of the bowl you are covering with the warmth of your hands keeping your food covered and safe. They are generally made from cotton and then covered in natural beeswax which can be blended with things like Jojoba & Eucalyptus Oils.
Buy fresh produce bags. Before your next grocery shop, instead of reaching for the free, throw away produce bags, buy some cheap, easy to reuse fresh produce bags. They can be used again and again meaning much less plastic going into the bin and are cheap as chips!
By implementing these small steps in your life, you’ll have a massive impact on the environment every single day.