Sustainability at Home – How to reduce your energy use and your bills

With extra time at home these days, your usual sustainability efforts on campus might be on pause, so the La Trobe Sustainability team will be sharing fortnightly tips and tricks to boost (or even kickstart) your green journey at home.

Every week we’ll focus on a different topic and include a mix of easy, medium and harder tasks that can help you make a positive difference to the environment, right from the comfort of your own home.

First up – energy!

Spending more time at home with our nearest and dearest is great, but one downside is that we’re increasing our energy use which can ultimately mean higher costs come bill time.

La Trobe has embarked on a Net Zero program to reduce energy use and cut emissions, and with the below energy saving ideas, you can do the same at home.

Simple energy saving tips to get you started:

  • Dress for the weather: Are you starting to feel those winter chills? Time to layer up! Put on extra jumpers, scarves and even your puffy jacket when indoors.
  • Stay in the zone: In winter, set your thermostat between 18-20 degrees – anything higher will increase your bills by 10 percent per degree.
  • Stop those energy sucking draughts: Close your windows and curtains to help keep the heat in and the cold out. You can even use a door snake to seal any draughts.
  • Work your electricity rates: Cold wash during the day or economy wash overnight if you have off-peak rates.
  • Watch the weather: Skip the dryer by line-drying your washing when there’s some sun or a breeze, or hang clothes inside on a clotheshorse.
  • Kill your phantom usage: Switch appliances off at the plug to save on standby power use.

For more energy saving tips like these, visit Victorian Energy Saver.

Up for a challenge?

If you’d like to go one step further, why not take Sustainability Victoria’s ‘TAKE2’ Climate Change Pledge. By signing up to the pledge, you’ll become part of a growing movement working towards two important targets by 2050 – achieving zero-net emissions and keeping global temperature rise to under two degrees.

Want to go the whole nine yards?

If you want even more of a challenge, make the ‘switch’ to LEDs at home. Here are a few reasons why LEDs are better for the planet:

  1. LEDs use 75 per cent less energy than halogen lights.
  2. They provide a better quality of light which means less lights are needed.
  3. LEDs last five to 10 times longer than halogens so they need to be changed less frequently, reducing waste and maintenance costs.
  4. They can be recycled as they’re free from toxic materials.
  5. LEDs can save you money with the pay payback time being less than a year.