Ever since I left my parents home I have been looking into ways to save water and use less electricity and gas.
In part it is a cost saving measure, as well as being an environmental issue.
In Australia we famously are living on the driest habitable continent in the world, so saving water is imperative. It has been brought home to me living through several extended droughts.
In my state, Victoria , we burn brown coal using decrepit power stations like Hazelwood for our electricity so I really have some incentive to reduce my power use.
I live in a very solidly built 90 year old house but it was not at all built with our relative extremes of weather extremes in mind.
When we first moved in it was icy cold in winter, there were the gaps around the walls and windows and the place leaked like a sieve.
The hot water ran out during a short shower.
I’ve spent the last 20 plus years dealing with the above. Happily methods to address our glorified tents have been evolving rapidly in this time.
I have recently updated my water saving showerhead with this a very efficient type. this has reduced my water usage by 23%. I had the happy surprise of discovering it has also reduced my gas bill by 23% from the same time last year.
We use natural gas for the stovetop and hot water. The stove top use has not altered and the time spent in the shower has not decreased.
This was such a low cost way of saving money and resources. I had only installed it to save water, I didn’t even consider that it would also save on the cost of heating water.
I have had double glazing installed on the big south facing window – my most expensive fix to date but well worth it as this room was the coldest one.
The double hung east facing windows have 2 sets of curtains as well as pelmets to retain heat in winter and I’ve sealed all the gaps around the skirting boards and sealed up the 3 chimneys.
Double glazing is expensive but curtains don’t have to be. Op shops often have 2nd curtains for very little cost.
The large north facing windows are shaded in summer by the veranda and have heavy velvet curtains.
We’ve installed 3.5kw of solar panels on the roof and these are generating a surprising amount of power; more than I thought probable for our tiny roof area.
We also installed a 7 star efficient reverse cycle air con unit to heat and cool the 2 main room which are semi open plan.
My electricity bill has reduced an amazing 600% since installing the aircon – and this is during the coldest winter in around 25 years. The house is now the warmest it has ever been since we have been living there and at a fraction of the electricity use.
The aircon will have paid for itself in 4 years with this sort of electricity saving.
We had ceiling fans installed in the main living area and bedroom and summer was very comfortable; I don’t think we used the (old) aircon unit at all last year.
It’s an ongoing project but one that is paying off in comfort levels and lower bills – all whilst helping to save the planet a little.