Energy use is the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions from Australian households. The average household produces about 8 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Many of these emissions can be avoided by adopting sustainable energy practices at home. An added advantage is that energy costs can also be reduced.
TYPES OF ENERGY AND EMISSIONS
- Conventional electricity from the grid produces the largest amount of carbon emissions. In WA most conventional electricity is produced from coal and natural gas which are not renewable;
- Renewable energy such as solar or wind does not produce any emissions after it is installed.
MINIMISING ENERGY AND COST
In WA homes most energy is used for heating water and for air-conditioning or heating. Minimising energy use in these areas will reap the greatest rewards for the environment and the wallet. Reducing energy use in the home can be easy and cheap. Below are some suggestions:
- Purchase a solar or instantaneous gas hot water system. These systems may seem expensive initially, but will pay for themselves within 5 to15 years. There are often government rebates available to offset initial costs. See www.livinggreener.gov.au for current rebate information;
- Use passive design principles to increase comfort and decrease the need for excess heating and cooling and embrace natural lighting. Check out the passive cooling and passive heating tabs;
- Replace existing incandescent globes with energy saving lamps. Check out the Australian Government’s globe conversion table if you’re unsure about the wattage of compact fluorescent you should use: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/what-you-need-to-know/lighting.aspx;
- Turn off lights and appliances (at the wall) when not in use. This can save over $200 each year;
- Buy appliances that have a high energy star rating and a low kWh (kilowatt hour) use per year. To compare appliances and find out more visit http://www.energyrating.gov.au;
- Once you’ve reduced the amount of energy you use, reduce emissions even more by buying renewable energy instead of conventional electricity. Synergy provides a number of affordable options. Find out more at http://www.synergy.net.au/at_home/gogreen.xhtml;
- You can also produce your own energy at home with solar panels (photovoltaic’s) or urban wind systems which will pay for themselves over time.