Hot and cold | Zero Emissions Sydney North
June 15, 2020

Hot and cold

As it’s getting colder, we’re spending more time inside and our energy bills are going up. The perfect time to make some changes to reduce our energy consumption.

The Australian Energy Foundation recently ran a helpful webinar with a special focus on the top 2 energy vampires: Heating & cooling your house (40%) and hot water (23%). AEF’s top tips range from do-it-yourself fixes to investing in big-ticket items – such as reverse-cycle air conditioning for heating and heat pumps for hot water.

In our last post we covered the easy behavioural changes that you can use straight away. Now, some ways to make a big difference – to your bill and your carbon emissions.

Heating & Cooling

How to heat your house?

Reverse-cycle split-system air conditioning is now the most efficient and cheapest system to use. If you’ve got solar on your roof or are buying your power from a renewable electricity retailer, you can feel even better about your environmental footprint. Gas heaters are now second place with a bleak future: gas prices are going up and, as a fossil fuel, gas produces carbon emissions.

Find out more in AEF’s air con guide.

What about insulation?

Properly insulating your house can cut your heating/cooling bills by 40-50%! If your house was insulated before 2010, you should re-visit the roof space and see if you need to upgrade to better materials. Insulating your walls is expensive and only recommended as part of a reno project – you can do one room at a time.

Find out more in AEF’s insulation guide.

How do I prevent heat escaping from the house?

The average old Aussie home has cracks and gaps that amount to the equivalent of a football-sized hole in your wall! Get cracking and start fixing those cracks. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Seal door gaps with products from your favourite hardware store or a door snake
  • Close off your air vents – could be as simple as a piece of cardboard and duct tape
  • Use ‘No more gaps’ products to fill in the gap between your floorboards and skirting
  • Buy a ‘chimney sheep’ to seal your unused chimney

Need inspiration? Just follow the step-by-step videos “Green It Yourself” with Lish, Queen of Green.

And windows?

10-20% of heat escapes through windows, unless they have double-glazing. Some easy fixes:

  • Thick curtains that touch the floor with pelmets at the top.
  • Do-it-yourself double glazing: Put adhesive film on your window (check out Lish again) or even cheaper, use bubble wrap.

Hot Water

If your existing hot water system (gas or electric) bites the dust, replace it with a heat pump. Heat pumps can use up to 80% less energy than a standard electric tank. Start doing your research when your existing electric tank is about 8 to 9 years old (check age on the compliance plate on your tank) – they last about 10 years. Know exactly what you are going to buy when the old tank stops working.

Find out more in AEF’s heat pump guide.

Also check out simple behavioural changes that won’t cost you a cent but will reduce your heating and hot water costs.

You can view a recording of the recent AEF webinar or check out the presentation. Both are available online until 30 June.

If you’d like to share stories, volunteer, or just find out more about what we do, please contact us at hello@zerosydneynorth.org or sign up for our email newsletter.

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