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Saving Electricity

Power Meters on Loan at Libraries

Did you know your dryer could be costing you $60 a year in electricity costs and could be releasing up to 500kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year! Residents now have free access to Power Usage Meters providing the tools to help households conduct a home energy assessment.

The assessment will help you pinpoint high energy consuming appliances and provide you with information on how much each appliance costs to run. By better understanding your energy consumption you can learn to make simple changes, potentially saving several hundred dollars a year and tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Power Usage Meter is a simple handheld devise used to measure the electricity consumption and running costs of electrical appliances. The device calculates how much money it costs you to run your appliances for every hour, quarter or year

The unit can even calculate the power used by appliances, like TV’s, that use standby power. Standby power is nearly 10% of household energy consumption. Just by turning appliances off at the wall, households can save around $100 per year.

FOCUS on Energy Reduction kits free to borrow from Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries. 14 Local Government Areas within the Hunter, Central and Mid North Coast are participating in this initiative which will see 123 kits available within 68 branch libraries and 2 Council Customer Service offices.

Energy Saving Hints

Free tips that cost nothing:

  • Turn down water heater thermostat to 55C (if the thermostat dial is sealed you'll need an electrician to do it for you)
  • Turn off lights, heaters and air conditioners when you go to bed or when you're away. If you're away for an extended period, it's worthwhile to turn off your water heater as well.
  • Use energy-saving settings on washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Only use dishwashers and washing machines when you have a full load.
  • Wash clothes in cold water and air dry your clothes.
  • Clean your refrigerator's condensor coils once a year
  • Close drapes (and windows) during sunny summer days and after sunset in winter.
  • Set heating appliances to 18-21 degrees celsius during winter and cooling appliances is 23-26 degrees celsius during summer.
  • Turn electrical appliances off at the power point.  Leaving them in standby mode will allow them to continue to use electricity.

Simple and inexpensive tips that quickly pay for themselves in lower energy bills:

  • Clean or change air filter on your air conditioning units
  • Wrap extra insulation around your water heater tank
  • Insulate the first meter of hot and cold water pipes on your water heater
  • Insulate hot water pipes in unheated basements or crawlspaces
  • Install compact fluorescent light globes in the fixtures you use the most, including exterior lights
  • Make insulating shades for your windows in winter, or shade sunny windows or add solar gain control films in summer
  • Depending on your heating and cooling expenses, it may be cost-effective to add insulation to your ceiling, walls, and floors. Get a professional house audit, or ask an energy expert
  • Plant a tree to shade your largest west window in Summer. You won't save any money for years, but you'll get an A+ for long-range vision.
  • Purchase appliances with a high energy star rating and of an appropriate size for your family.  Using appliances that are too large for your family size may be costing you more money than you need to pay.
  • Ensure the seals on fridges and ovens are efficient in preventing the loss of hot and cold air.  If your seals are damaged it could be costing you money as appliances cut in more regularly.
  • Consider purchasing Green Power as an alternative to your current energy supply to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases your energy use produces.  For further information visit www.greenpower.nsw.gov.au.

For further information on how much it costs to run your different energy using appliances visit the Energy Australia website at www.energyaustralia.com.au and download a copy of their Energy Usage Guide.  Alternatively visit the Origin Energy website at www.originenergy.com.au and put your current energy use to the test using their on-line energy efficiency calculators.