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Five Ways To Save Bucks And The Planet

By Nicola Saltman (Snr Environment Officer, Waverley Council) on March 26, 2014 in Other

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Earth Hour is on again later this month, so it’s time to stock up on candles and gather your loved ones for some dancing in the dark in the name of Mother Nature.

For those of you who have been living on another planet for the last several years, Earth Hour is not a deep forest rave party, but rather a worldwide community campaign held each year on the last Saturday night of March. For an hour, people and businesses across the world turn off their lights to raise awareness about climate change, its impacts and solutions.

According to scientific records, global warming cannot be ignored. Recent global temperature analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that the year 2013 tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. Last year marked the 37th consecutive year since 1976 that the yearly global temperature was above average.

So why not take Earth Hour a step further and make a few lasting positive changes to your carbon footprint and energy use at home? You can make huge cost savings whether you rent or own without having to resort to indefinite candlelit festivities (though no one can deny the romantic appeal).

Here are five ways you could potentially save hundreds of dollars each year on your energy bills, whilst helping to reduce carbon pollution…

1. Light it up
Around 10% of your energy bill comes from the way you light your home. Simply switch off lights in rooms that are not in use and you could save $120 a year. You can also replace lights simply with energy efficient compact fluorescent light globes or LEDs. These are available at hardware stores, supermarkets and specialty eco-product stores. Even keeping lights and fittings clean can save you pennies, as dusty or dirty globes and fittings can reduce light output by up to 50%.

2. Turn it down
The biggest energy guzzler (40% of the average electricity bill) is heating and cooling your home. As the colder weather tickles your toes, try not to overheat your house. Every extra degree increase in temperature can add up to 15% to your energy bill (equivalent to around $150 for the average home). Set the thermostat to between 18-21°C. Air leaks can account for 15% to 25% of heat loss, so dust off your DIY skills and install draught excluders on your windows and doors. They are cheap and available from most hardware stores.

3. Switch it off
Did you know that you could be throwing away $100 a year without doing anything? Appliances still consume electricity if they are turned on at the power point, even while idle. Switch your TV, computer, phone charger or hair dryer off at the wall when you are done using them.

4. Cold water love
Water heating accounts for about a quarter of most household power bills. Having shorter showers helps keep dollars in your pocket, as does using cold water for washing. It’s just as good as a warm wash and it can save you $35 or more each year off your power bill.

5. Say goodbye to the second fridge
Old fridges are one of the biggest energy users in the home, consuming up to three times the energy of new fridges. While it keeps the beers cold, it’s got to be sobering to know that running a typical second fridge adds an average of $300 a year to your power bill and puts one tonne of carbon pollution into the environment. Yikes. Getting rid of fridge two is free and easy through the Fridge Buyback Program (www.fridgebuyback.com.au).

Earth Hour Starlight Picnic
Join other Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick council residents plus VIPs on Saturday, March 29 for a special Earth Hour picnic at Centennial Park. For more information visit www.reduceyourfootprint.com.au.

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