Tips for Energy Smart Living

You can start using less energy today. There are many simple things you can do.

Tips to reduce your heating and cooling

On average 38 percent of our home power use is for heating and cooling. This is not surprising considering Alice Springs has extreme climate conditions, with frosts in winter and a long hot summer.

We all want our homes to be comfortable - but it is possible to maintain our comfort level without having to run air conditioners and bar heaters all year round.

Here are some heating and cooling tips to make you an energy champion.

  • Have your evaporative system serviced regularly to make it run as effectively as possible
  • Install insulation to reduce internal heat gain or loss
  • Install shade on external windows and walls to prevent solar access in summer and allow access in winter. Look at adjustable awnings, roller shutters or removable shade sales
  • Install thick curtains with backing and pelmets to reduce heat loss in the winter or gain in the summer
  • In Alice, we have a very reliable southeasterly breeze. Harness cross-ventilation on summer nights and use cool breezes to purge hot air from the house
  • Reduce the number of hours or days you run the air conditioner
  • Contol the temperature on your air conditioner thermostat - every 1°C of heating in winter or cooling in summer equals 5 to 10% energy load increase. If you run your air conditioner in the low 20s when it is 40°C outside, your system will have to work very hard
  • Shade the external parts of your air conditioner from the hot summer sun

Download the heating and cooling fact sheet for another take on this important aspect to your home's energy efficiency.

Tips to make your home energy efficient

Alice Solar City is not just about solar power: it's also about using energy in smart ways.

Improving energy efficiency has many benefits, including reducing the impact on the environment, saving money on energy bills and preventing the need for more investment in expensive energy infrastructure.

You can make your home more energy efficient by:

  • Painting the roof white or replacing it with a light coloured product
  • Installing roof ventilation devised such as whirlybirds
  • Installing or replacing insulation in ceilings and walls
  • Purchasing low-energy light bulbs
  • Replacing halogen downlight systems with low-energy options
  • Installing motion sensors on external lighting
  • Tinting windows or installing double-glazed windows
  • Installing "one shot" relay for solar hot water boosters
  • Servicing solar hot water systems
  • Servicing evaporative air-conditioners
  • Replacing perished fridge seals
  • Replaceing your old refrigerator or freezer with new energy efficient model

For more information about the incentives available on selected products and services, download our summary of incentives.

 Your appliances and energy use

switch off standby powerThe appliances you buy and how you use them have a big impact on how much energy your household will use.

When it comes to appliances, it’s not hard to make significant energy savings. Understanding how we use energy and making informed choices every day can make a difference.

There are many small changes you can make to the way you use your current appliances to reduce your overall energy consumption.

  • Turn off your extra fridge (the beer fridge?) and save up to $200 or more a year
  • Switch appliances off at the powerpoint so they don’t use standby power 
  • Only use lights, fans and air conditioners when you’re in the room – switch them off when you leave 
  • Change your lightbulbs to compact fluoroscent lamps (CFLs) to cut your lighting energy use by 50% to 80% 
  • Turn your hot water system thermostat down to 60ºC 
  • Put your hot water system on a timer, so it only generates hot water when you need it (usually morning and evening) – and turn it off when you go on holiday 
  • Install water efficient shower heads, taps and fittings to reduce the amount of hot water you use. 
  • Run your air conditioner less 
  • Check your fridge seals. If there are gaps or cracks they may need replacing and, if dirt has built up, clean the seals with soapy water 
  • Shade any windows that get summer sun – this will help lighten the air conditioner load 
  • Run the pool or spa pump for an hour less per day – you could save $50 a year 
  • Replace your electric hot water system with a solar hot water system, and take advantage of the available rebates 
  • Use fans instead of air conditioners whenever you can 
  • Choose the economy cycle option when you use the dishwashers and washing machine 
  • Avoid using clothes dryers – our dry environment is the perfect appliance

Buying new appliancesNew energy star rating

When you buy new appliances it is important to be aware of recent changes in the energy rating system.  New standards for energy efficiency were introduced in 2010 and all fridge/freezer models were given new star ratings to reflect these more stringent standars.  However, some display models may still carry the old star rating lable.

 Old labels carry a green bar at the base while new lables carry a white bar which inlcudes the enrgy rating swebsite address.  To find out more abou the energy rating system or the star rating of a particular appliance, click here.

The information on the labels is also very useful for you, as you can easily compare the energy efficiency of different makes and models. When you are considering the cost of an appliance make sure you take into account the initial outlay and the running costs in the long term. While a more efficient appliance may cost you more in the first instance, it will most likely be cheaper to run, reducing the cost of your power bill.

Save Water - Save Power

You have already made the step to save energy around your household but what about water? Alice Springs' water supply is pumped from150m below the ground and then pumped 15km to town and your household.The energy used adds up to 0.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas per household.

Alice Springs households are the highest water users in the countryand we use 2/3 of that water on our gardens. With some simple changes to irrigation and watering schedules you could be saving up to 75,000 litres per year, not to mention savings on your next water bill. It can be hard to know what to steps to take to save water and that is where the Alice Water Smart Homes project can help.