We’re on the verge of a really exciting energy revolution. Renewable energy will rapidly replace coal as we increasingly realise the effects of burning fossil fuels. And we will experience ‘peak oil’ – when the demand for this limited resource truly outstrips supply, and the price of oil skyrockets.
The benefits to our health and wellbeing, and that of all life, from this revolution will be huge – if we embrace the changes now. We can improve the energy efficiency of our homes by 50% without even really trying by putting in insulation, switching to energy effecient lighting and changing to solar hot water. For a serious look at some inspiring plans to shift Australia to a renewable energy future, check out http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org/
We’ve reduced our energy useage to only 2.5kWh a day. The average for a 2 person household is 14kWh a day.
The things we do to make our home more comfortable and energy smart that cost us nothing are:
- Wash the clothes in cold water
- Dry clothes on the clothes line
- Sweep the wooden floors rather than have to vacuum carpet
- Switch off appliances at the power point when not in use
- Minimise electrical gadgets in the home – less clutter, more peace!
The one off things we’ve done that make a big difference are:
- Installed a solar hot water system
- Installed insulation in the roof and some walls
- Selected a small fridge/freezer that’s energy efficient (no point having a fridge that’s efficient when it’s the size of a small deli!). Our fridge is kept in a well ventilated, cool, dark spot
- Installed an efficient wood fired combustion heater that will run off our fruit tree prunings
- Kept a ceiling fan in the lounge room for cooling in summer
- Put an awning with white shade cloth in front of the western window. This keeps the heat out and still lets the light in
- Installed a 1kW grid connected solar power system, that provides 4kwh of power a day on average – almost twice as much power as we use
- Changed from incandescent to CFL light bulbs
- Selected a cooker with a gas cook top and electric oven
- Put up heavy hemp curtains over the windows
- Strategically planted deciduous trees to shade the house in summer and allow the sun in winter
- Switched to Greenpower
And of course looking at the big picture, the most important thing we do to reduce our energy usage is growing food in the backyard and supporting sustainable food production.