If you’re already feeling the cold this winter, then your looming electricity bill is bound to give you even more chills. However there are ways of keeping costs down, simply by making energy smart changes to your home.
Whilst winter is the most expensive time for everyone electricity wise, on the upside the government recently pledged $41.5 million over seven years in the May 2018 federal budget to ensure secure, reliable and affordable energy.
As a result, the National Energy Security Board estimates yearly power bills will be slashed by $400 for the average Aussie household under the government’s national energy guarantee.
The bad news is this won’t be in effect until 2020.
In the meantime, you could always do some timely renovations. Not only will they add value to your place, and make it more user-friendly and easy on the eye, they should also reduce your energy usage.
Warm up with these energy efficient tips
1. Use light-coloured paint
If your place could do with a new lick of paint, choose light-coloured shades such as creams and whites to reflect and maximise natural light bouncing off the walls. Paint trims with a high gloss paint to further reflect sunlight. These measures should reduce the need to switch on lights during the day.
2. Insulate new flooring
If the house has usable timber flooring, you could pack insulation material in between the joists of the floorboards if you can get access to the space underneath. If you need or want to replace the flooring material entirely, you could install a thin insulating material between the floor base and the new floorboards or carpet. This should make the room feel warmer, reducing the need for heaters.
3. Keep new rooms warm
You may want to create an extra internal room by erecting new walls. This is a good chance to add insulation to keep heating and cooling costs down. Insulation materials can be blown into the space between double brick walls. You can also insulate plasterboard walls with insulation batts.
4. Treat and position windows to keep out the chill
Around 40 per cent of heat loss in the home is through windows. To improve the draughtiness of existing windows, consider double glazing. Or you could install heat-shrink film. This film can also be removed when the weather gets warmer.
If you’re installing new windows, face them northwards if possible. During winter they’ll get the sun for the longest part of the day. Multiple windows on more than one side of a room will also allow for cool breezes, and skylights or high windows will help eliminate rising hot air.
5. Make your garden work for you
Are your yards more shabby than chic? If so it’s time for a make-over. However pay careful consideration as to how many plants and trees are the right balance for your home throughout the seasons. If you have too many bushy trees in either your front or back yard it could restrict the amount of natural sunlight which comes into the home, making it feel colder. If this is the case then consider a severe pruning or having some trees removed. Or else choose trees that shed leaves in autumn which will allow the sun to shine through, warming your home.
On the other hand if you have too few trees which don’t provide your home with any shade at all, this can make your place feel like a furnace in summer and have you racing to the air conditioner. If you’re not sure what to do, consult a landscape gardener who can advise you.
6. Keep extensions in check
Finally, if you’re considering adding an extension, question its necessity. For example, do you really need to create an extra family room at the back of the house or will one lounge room suffice your family’s needs? If you’re still keen on extending, don’t go larger than you need to. Remember, the bigger the house, the more it’ll cost to maintain as far as lighting, heating and cooling go.
See if you qualify. To get a more accurate idea of how much you can borrow with State Custodians,