Reducing carbon emissions but keeping the power {A $500 giveaway!}

Whether running a business or a household, we can’t escape the currently hot, sometimes confusing topics surrounding carbon tax and climate change.

From an environmental and economical perspective, reducing carbon emissions is now necessary.

Thanks to Digital Parents, I was given the rare opportunity to take part in the Empower Campaign, a program that uses the Low Carbon Growth Plan to explain how a low carbon future is not only achievable but beneficial.

It meant having David, an assessor come over and review my home as well as our energy consumption.

I know. I didn’t think it was going to be much fun at first, either.

There was the initial fear that the 2 hour meeting would be filled with lots of heavy critique.

Instead,  it was an opportunity to talk to an expert and pick up some important tips.

After all, what’s the point in moaning and groaning about how high our winter bills are every year, if we don’t do anything about them?

First stop was the backyard.  Its lack of sun was an issue that David spotted immediately.  No wonder doing laundry’s a pain!

David made some simple suggestions on where I could move the clothes line to get maximum sun exposure and to ultimately do more of this:

 

 

And use less of this:

 

 

Next was a lengthy discussion about how to decipher electricity, gas and water bills.  Yikes!

Have you ever tried reading one?  It’s like slogging away at a rocket science degree.  Seriously.

Eventually I got my head around what “Kilowatts per hour” means.  It’s about how many electrical appliances are running concurrently in my home.  Then, I take into account how much energy each appliance potentially consumes.

An energy bill shows the daily consumption of how many kilowatts per hour are used.

The washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher seem to be our big ticket items.

But the big surprise was our little 2400 watt space heater.  During these winter months, it actually takes up a tenth of our daily electricity consumption!

With David, we worked on some realistic and doable steps that will make a significant difference.

“Turn it off.  Completely off.”

We discovered that by leaving it on standby mode, our telly takes up a whopping 13 watts per hour !!!  So, the new house rule is to switch it off at its power switch every night.

“Here comes the sun…”

To maximize the winter sun in our sunroom, I’m going to leave the blinds open during the day.  All day.

“Mind the gap”

This house is forever cold!  With a few simple insulation tips and relevant websites about draft proofing, we’re going to fix our front door seal as well as fill in the gaps of the skirting boards along the corridor.

“Easy on the shower…”

Time to replace our showerheads with eco-friendly and reduce the flow of water.  (An average 7-8 minute shower can take up to 90 litres of hot water !)

While writing this post, I’m letting that glorious winter sun pour into our home.  That naughty little space heater has been left switched off for a solid two hours.

It’s one small step.  But it’s heading towards a bigger, far more important change in mindset to reduce carbon emissions.

You can also show your support for Climate Works Australia and the awesome work their doing by liking their Facebook page.

Through Digital Parents, one of my lucky Australian based readers will win an Energy Efficiency Opportunity Assessment and retro-fit bonus (to the value of $500).

To enter:

  1. Watch the above video about the Low Carbon Growth Plan and meet ‘CP’!
  2. Leave a comment on this blog telling me:  From the different types of renewable energy sources that CP mentions, which one would be beneficial in your home and why?

The important stuff:

1.Please read the Terms and Conditions for entering this competition.

2. Only Australian residents can enter.

3. The competition will run from 1st of August to 1st of September, 2012.

This is a sponsored post for Climate Works Australia. All opinions expressed are my own. Participating sponsors do not have editorial control. I received compensation for this post as a member of Digital Parents Collective.

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Comments

  1. says

    We rent so it’s kinda hard to go solar but the energy efficient thing is good. I’m hoping hubby buys a more fuel efficient car cause at the moment he keeps using mine!!

  2. says

    The power points are always off in our house. It you’re not wathcing or using something, it must be turned off at the point. The only ones that stay on are the fridge, microwave, and HD recorder, for obvious reasons. I’m a bit of ap power nut, I don’t want to waste any money on it unecessarily! Really can’t be bothered moving the washing line though, it looks so nice and out of the way where it is ;-)

  3. says

    Being a would-be greenie, I try to make us more efficient by following the family around and switching off lights, power points and closing doors (to heat the house). I hardly ever use the drier and my washing rule is if it isn’t really dirty or if doesn’t smell, you can wear it again another day (saves on my washing time too!). I can’t believe the number of Aussies who use driers (don’t even get me started on how many in the USA don’t have clothes lines!) in this climate, unless you have twin toddlers you don’t really need one! ;)

  4. says

    Whoa, Al Gore has nothing on you! Don’t you feel good about taking control of your energy consumption – and who could resist a sunlit room. Still love that picture, which I now see is a toy truck. Hmrph. It looked like a sailboat in the thumbnails…

  5. Bachelormum says

    U r a good lady mama grace. I’m scared to look at my carbon footprint as I’ve bought a new heater this season and havt got the bill yet and it’s been on a lot. It’s so warm and cosy. But it’s gas so hopefully it won’t be too bad. My backyard isn’t v sunny either but I’m in an apartment and don’t want to share the communal dryer so I jus persist with the line. Luckily the sea breeze is strong. And yes, I’ve bought a few of those breeze snakes for the ape. Makes me feel like a nana but it works x

  6. says

    I am so glad that I don’t have to worry about heating. While cooling is a different matter, we don’t really have an airconditioned house so that is also not much of an issue though it would be nice some days. We already have solar hot water but I would love to be using solar energy for all our electricity. Sigh one day.

  7. says

    Some great ideas / tips in there – thanks so much for sharing !
    Have a great Friday.
    Love, hugs and positive energy.
    Me

  8. says

    Well, I think I kinda know what kilowatts are and am actually inspired enough after reading your wonderful post to fish out my bill and take a look! I’m counting myself amongst the extra fortunate, living in QLD and having solar panels. We don’t own a dryer or a heater and our quarterly bill is really quite good, BUT I’m sure I could afford to take a few minutes at night to turn off a lot of our appliances.

  9. says

    I haven’t used my dryer for about 5 years. Which is amazing and I’m very proud of myself. :P

    I went to use it the other day, in an emergency, and it’s bloody not working anymore! So pfffft to that. The universe is obviously sending me a greenie message.

    I’m typing this on my sofa covered in a nanna blanket :) Very energy efficient if I do say so myself!

  10. says

    I am a big fan of wind farms and I live in a windy part of the world. I believe there should be more of them. Solar is good, but I believe that the panels don’t last for long, say 10 years and are then a disposal problem. Thanks for explaining how the bills work. I had no idea. xx

  11. says

    Well I’m about to give my 15 year old a razzz for the 18 minute shower he had this morning. Ummmmahhh. Timely reminder and great tips, Grace!! x

  12. says

    Excellent tips, Grace! Winter is such a costly month, isn’t it? But the cost to our planet is much dearer. Thankfully this winter has blessed us with plenty of glorious sunshine, perfect for hanging the clothes outside instead of feeding hungry Mr Dryer. x

  13. Karlene says

    Making sure my next car is fuel efficient – we’re in the market for a new car now and it’s a real consideration as petrol is so expensive.

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