Energy bills seem to be designed to be difficult to understand. That way, we just pay the bill and don’t ask too many questions! Understanding our energy bills are the first step to reducing them, and ringing your provider to ask them to talk you through it can be helpful. For New Zealand, Canstar Blue has prepared a resource to understanding energy tariffs and Powerswitch helps Kiwis find the energy provider that will be most cost effective for their household.
Below is a diagram from EECA that offers some useful first steps to reducing energy use.
Approximately a third of the energy a household uses is on heating (and/or cooling). To reduce your need to heat or cool your home, this post about Passive Solar Design and this post about making warm and dry homes can help.
Another third of our energy goes to providing us with hot water. To reduce this component of our energy use, check out Cool Ways To Save On Hot Water.
The final third of our energy use is associated with lighting and appliances.
The Lighting section of the EECA website offers great support for all things relating to lighting, including choosing the right bulbs, looking at down lights, and making the most of natural light.
Each programmable appliance (dishwasher, microwave, computer, etc) or appliance that uses a remote control (TV, stereo, etc) uses approximately $20 NZD a year in standby mode. That is for each appliance. Conducting a simple appliance audit (i.e. walk around your home and note how many electrical appliances you have, and also how many of those are on standby) can help identify sources of electricity inefficiency and wastage.
Tip: Stand up and walk around to do the audit, rather than sitting in one place and trying to do it from memory – it will be much more accurate this way!
And finally, if you want to learn how to monitor the electricity consumption of different appliances or your home in general, check out this video:
Remember: increasing energy efficiency and reducing waste is often about taking a lot of small steps, rather than a few larger ones. But the small steps accumulate into big effects!