The most creative ways to save on electricity

With just a few changes and a few dollars spent up front there are six creative ways to save hundreds on your electricity.

Sam Bendat

Apr 14, 2023

Giant battery crashing into earth

One of the easiest ways to reduce and save money at home is by lowering our consumption of energy, especially as the price of energy continues to fluctuate wildly.

In this article, I'll provide some cold hard facts about tried and true ways to put some creativity into how you can conserve energy and inevitability spend less.

The six most creative ways to save on electricity are:

  1. Cover your windows to shade them from the sun

  2. Use high energy efficiency rated appliances

  3. Use natural light in the winter months to warm rooms

  4. Turning off electronics and powerpoints when not in use

  5. Use LED lights instead of fluorescents

  6. Use cold water when possible and try to conserve water

Now let's break down each of these points to see how they can improve our lives and our bank accounts. Using six creative ways to save electricity, you will save hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bill.

1. Be strategic with covering windows from the sun

In summer, up to 87% of a home's heat can be gained through windows

To combat that kind of massive heat gain would require an A/C to be running full blast most of the day. Running a 4 to 6kW air conditioner for six to eight hours a day throughout summer would add several hundred dollars to your energy bill. 

A far more affordable and creative solution is to cover sun-exposed windows to keep heat out. Some of the most effective methods are placing shades or sails outside your house above the windows.

In particular east-facing windows in the early morning can get the full brunt of the sun. There is an excellent explanation of understanding window shades and the direction of the sun from the Victorian government. 

Additionally, if you can’t use an outside shade, then consider choosing cellular shades for your windows, as it captures air between the honeycomb cells and reduces the heat passing through the shade. Insulated cellular shades are known to be one of the best types of shades to protect your home from heat gain.

2. Identifying the energy ratings when buying appliances

We all have seen the energy rating symbols on white goods at the shops. Although we mostly walk past them these days, those energy ratings can truly be a wealth of information if you take a minute to do some quick math. 

The star system itself is normally out of six stars (it can go up to ten) and gives a quick idea of how efficient the appliance is. Though directly underneath the star system is the kWh rating of the appliance which gives the real clue about what you’re buying.

It really depends on the white good and how often you run the thing. For example, a dryer that uses 550 kWh of energy vs one that uses 230 kWh would be a difference of $80 a year if they were run exactly the same. Extrapolate that out to ten years, and it's now become an $800 difference in the cost to run the two.

This also goes for older appliances you might be holding on to. They might still work but who knows how much you might be spending on energy to run them. Every few years white goods become more energy efficient and affordable so it could be high time to check out replacing that dinosaur of a dryer you inherited.

You can learn more about the energy labels on white goods straight from the energy rating site.

3. Go with LED instead of fluorescent light bulbs

On average, 10% of energy is used specifically just for lighting in an Australian home. Always opting for LED lightbulbs could amount to some massive savings over time. LED lights consume 80% less energy than fluorescent bulbs.

Plus, as LEDs can last significantly longer than fluorescents, it would mean less waste in your household and less money spent on having to buy more bulbs. 

To save money, you don’t have to replace all of your bulbs at the same time. You can do it gradually – replace one as it goes out. Change them out until the whole house has been replaced and you're fully on LED.

4. Make friends with natural light

Flipping the coin on the first point during the winter months using the sun could save you a lot of money. In the winter, installed cellular shades can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 40%, which overall is equal to about 10% in heat savings.

Additionally, using natural light day will help you save electricity bill as you won’t keep the lights on during the day. A single bright window has the capacity to illuminate a room up to 20 to 100 times more than a conventional light bulb.

Roughly 30% of a home’s heating energy is consumed through windows. In cold seasons using, the sunlight that falls on the standard double-pane windows can be converted into heat.

Strategic decorating can make your home office seem spacious and bright. Save energy and make the most of natural light. Light-coloured walls, pale-painted ceilings and floors, mirrors, and bright decor pieces can brighten up the room during the day. 

5. Plug off electronics

This is the most obvious yet hardly practised – unplugging electronics you aren’t using and making sure powerpoints are switched off when nothing is plugged in. About a quarter of all energy usage is from devices sitting idle says the New York Times.

Some gadgets like computers, printers, chargers, and gaming consoles consume electricity even when they are not being used. Even keeping a laptop plugged in all day can use 235 kWh of energy a year. At 22¢ a kWh that would cost you an extra $53, for literally nothing.

A good practice is when you’re done working for the day, do a quick scan around your office or home office to unplug these electronics and lights that are turned off. It could mean some big savings over time.

6. Conserving water or using colder water when possible

Without us realising it, the bathroom is a place where a lot of energy can be wasted or unnecessarily overused. If the air conditioning and heating account for over 40% of your electric usage, heating hot water increases can take up to 14%. 

If possible, try and cut down on the hot water use. Skip your bath and have showers instead. Showers, on average use considerably less water than filling up a whole bathtub. There are also water-efficient shower heads that increase pressure and use less water at the same time. Less hot water used means less energy spent.

Heating water up is a very energy-intensive process and could save you big money if you cut back on your use every now and then.

One last note, avoid using the hot water setting on your washer. Instead, opt for cold water to wash your laundry. Your clothes will come out softer, and you'll end up saving on the hot water too.

The overall savings

Using each of these creative ways to save on your electricity could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Each point is good on its own but together, they help create a lifestyle of savings and good practice for cutting down on your energy bill.

Once your energy bill is on its way down, so too are your greenhouse gas emissions, and doing good while saving money is surely a double win.


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