Saving Energy and Money

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					  Chapter 17:
  Saving Energy and Money
Saving Energy
There are a lot of reasons to save energy in your home and on your property. These include:
       Saving money on power bills,
       Doing your bit to reduce climate change by reducing carbon or ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions,
       Making the most of limited power (especially if your power is generated on site).

There are a number of ways you can reduce the costs of your energy—a combination of which is generally the
most effective way to save energy and create financial savings in both the short and long term.


Energy Efficiency
The most effective way of reducing long term energy use and costs is to incorporate passive solar design principles
when first designing and building your house and other structures on your property. Passive design is design that
does not require, or significantly reduces the need for mechanical heating or cooling. Passive design principles
include maximising cooling air movement (eg windows on both sides of a room to promote cross ventilation) and
excluding the sun (eg through shading or reflective building materials) in summer. In winter it involves trapping and
storing the sun’s heat (eg indoor and outdoor living areas facing north) and minimising heat loss (eg double glazed
windows or insulated walls). Not only does passive design reduce heating and cooling bills and greenhouse gas
emissions, but it can significantly improve the comfort of your home.

If your home, sheds and other buildings are already built however, there are still a number of easy, free and low
cost actions that you can take to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. Using LPG or natural gas for heating
and cooking; washing clothes in cold rather than hot water; swapping incandescent light globes for compact
fluorescent ones; buying energy and water efficient electrical appliances; and turning appliances off rather than
leaving on standby, can all add up to substantial savings in electricity use. Other options such as the installation of
lighting and climate sensors, solar hot water systems or ceiling insulation, or amending building design (eg shading
windows) can all have a significant impact on reducing energy consumption and power bills.

A simple way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by your energy use is to buy Green Power. Green
Power is electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and water power. As
a result it does not produce greenhouse gases. Most electricity companies now sell Green Power, so it is worth
shopping around to get the best deal.




  Also see:                                                               Key Contacts:
       Chapter 4 - Planning your Property                                      NSW Department of Water and Energy
       Chapter 6 - Water - Collection and Recycling                            NSW Department of Environment and
       Chapter 8 - Managing Waste                                              Climate Change
                                                                               Australian Greenhouse Office
                                                                               Local Energy Supplier
                                                                               Local Council

A Guide to Rural Residential Living in the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast                 www.ruralresidentialliving.com.au
                                                                     Chapter 17 Saving Energy and Money


Off Grid Power
On-site power supply systems generate electricity separate to the main power grid. These systems can
provide a cost effective alternative for areas with high electricity connection fees, or allow excess electricity
to be fed back into the main power grid system. All remote area power supply systems consist of several
basic components:
       Generation equipment such as photovoltaic modules (solar panels), wind turbines, micro-hydro
       generators, petrol or diesel generators, or ‘hybrid’ combinations of these types of equipment
       Control and regulation equipment—devices (such as circuit breakers) which control the flow and
       charge of electrical current
       Energy storage (batteries are a common storage device)
       Inverters which convert electrical current (between AC and DC) so that common household
       appliances can be used
       System voltage for example; 12 V DC or 240 V AC
       Wiring and electrical accessories including fuses.

The most common on-site power supply system is a mechanical generator—powered by diesel or gasoline.
These can be noisy, and are also subject to the changing price of oil. Biofuels such as bio-diesel and
ethanol have become available in recent years and are an alternative to fossil fuels. Some of these can be
used as a direct substitute, others require some modification of equipment. Systems relying on renewable
energy sources are also emerging. Although these renewables often require a higher initial investment,
the increasing price of oil and electricity is reducing the time taken to recoup such investment. The use of
biofuels and renewable energy have the added advantage of reducing carbon emissions that contribute to
climate change. There are a wide variety of renewable energy supply systems to choose. Some of the more
common types are summarised below.


Solar Power
There are two main solar technologies—photovoltaic systems (solar panels), and solar hot water systems.
Solar panels take light from the sun and make electricity, while solar hot water systems take heat from the
sun to heat your hot water supply. Solar systems should be orientated to the north and tilted to generate as
much heat or electricity from the sun as possible. Both solar technologies have a number of benefits— they
are quiet, clean and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from your household. In some areas, your
electricity company will also buy back power from you that is generated by these systems. Rebates for
installations of photovoltaic systems are available from the Federal Government—so check with your Local
Council and energy retailer for more information.


Other Renewable Power Technologies
Other power generating equipment such as wind turbines do not emit any polluting gases. Wind turbines
harness the energy of the wind to turn a turbine to generate electricity. Wind turbines can produce noise
pollution, although a number of recent models are much quieter, and have moving parts that require
maintenance. They can produce electricity at a lower initial cost than solar power—so are worth considering,
depending on your location, particularly as they can operate at night. Hybrid solar and wind power is a good
option for off-grid systems.

Remember to speak to your neighbours before installing your off-grid power supply. Apart from making
sure you won’t get them offside with your choice of power supply—they may have gone down this path
themselves, and be able to give you some good advice, about suppliers and helpful contacts.



A Guide to Rural Residential Living in the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast   www.ruralresidentialliving.com.au
                                                                         Chapter 17 Saving Energy and Money

Key Resources
Reference Name: Solar Power - Your Questions Answered and Solar Power for your Home (2004)
         Agency: New South Wales Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (currently DECC)
 Contact Details: PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW, 1232. 1300 361 967. info@environment.nsw.gov.au
       Comment: Commonly asked questions related to solar power with topics including; how do they work?, installing
                a system, cost, maintenance and safety, solar power technology and how they can be applied in the
                home.
         Website: • http://www.deus.nsw.gov.au/publications/Solar%20Power%20FAQ%20-%20April%202004.pdf
                  • http://www.deus.nsw.gov.au/publications/Solar%20Power%20Case%20Studies%20-
                    %20April%202004.pdf

Reference Name: Remote Area Power Supply (2002)
         Agency: Energy Smart Information Centre (currently DECC)
 Contact Details: PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW, 1232. 1300 361 967. info@environment.nsw.gov.au
       Comment: Overview of remote area power supply systems including installation, workings and typical costs,
                system size, components and features, and examples.
         Website: http://www.energysmart.com.au/brochures/remote_area_power_supply.pdf

Reference Name: Global Warming Cool It! - A home guide to reducing energy costs and greenhouse gases (2006)
         Agency: Department of Climate Change
 Contact Details: GPO Box 787, Canberra, ACT, 2600. 02 6274 1111. communications@greenhouse.gov.au
       Comment: Overview of hints and tips that you can easily implement in your home and lifestyle to reduce energy
                use and green house gases. Topics include; transport, water heating, electronics and appliances, home
                heating and cooling, building and renovating, cooking, lighting, food, garden packaging and material,
                green electricity, and a greenhouse calculator.
         Website: http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/gwci/pubs/gwci.pdf

Reference Name: Energy Usage Guide (2007)
         Agency: Energy Australia
 Contact Details: GPO Box 4009, Sydney, NSW, 2001. 131 535. www.energyaustralia.com.au
       Comment: A listing of how many watts common household appliances use. It is an easy to use list to calculate
                average energy your household uses and how to reduce your energy usage and costs.
         Website: http://www.energyusage.energyaustralia.com.au/ea_energysaver.pdf

Reference Name: Your Home Technical Manual - Batteries and Inverters, Wind Systems, and Micro Hyrdo Systems (2005)
         Agency: Department of Climate Change
 Contact Details: GPO Box 787, Canberra, ACT, 2600. 02 6274 1111. communications@greenhouse.gov.au
       Comment: • Overview of batteries and inverters as they relate to complete renewable energy systems, including battery
                  types, installation, maintenance and disposal, inverter installations and grid connections, and generator
                  installation.
                • Overview of the installation of domestic wind systems as they relate to complete renewable energy systems,
                  including siting and installation, turbine controls, and tower design and installation.
                • Micro hydro units convert the energy of flowing water into electrical energy. This document provides an
                  overview of typical micro hydro systems including design and siting, installation, and DC and AC micro hydro
                  generators.
         Website: • http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/technical/pdf/fs410.pdf
                  • http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/technical/pdf/fs48.pdf
                  • http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/technical/pdf/fs49.pdf

Reference Name: How to Save Money on Your Energy Bills (2005)
         Agency: Energy Smart Information Centre (currently DECC)
  Contact Details: PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW, 1232. 1300 361 967. info@environment.nsw.gov.au
       Comment: Overview of simple tips that you can do in the home to save money on your energy bills.
         Website: http://www.energysmart.com.au/brochures/How_to_save_on_your_energy_bills.pdf



A Guide to Rural Residential Living in the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast                            www.ruralresidentialliving.com.au
                                                                         Chapter 17 Saving Energy and Money

Other Resources
Reference Name: How to Live Energy Smart
         Agency: Energy Smart Information Centre (within DECC)
 Contact Details: PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW, 1232. 1300 361 967. info@environment.nsw.gov.au
         Format: PDF            Cost: No        Publishing Date: 2002
       Comment: Provides a number of tips on saving money in your home and helping the environment, including
                heating and cooling your home, kitchen, insulation, lighting, building and draughts, electronics
                and your home office, green power, and the energy smart home audit of energy use.
         Website: http://www.energysmart.com.au/brochures/how_to_live_energy_smart.pdf


Reference Name: How to Save on Your Energy Bills
         Agency: Energy Smart Information Centre (within DECC)
 Contact Details: PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW, 1232. 1300 361 967. info@environment.nsw.gov.au
         Format: PDF / Brochure                Cost: No              Publishing Date: 2002
       Comment: Overview of typical running costs of hot water, heating and household appliances, broken down
                into living room, kitchen, laundry and bathroom, bedrooms, garage and workshop, other fuels
                and appliances, and buying new appliances.
         Website: http://www.energysmart.com.au/brochures/energy_bills.pdf




  Websites:
       New South Wales Department of Water and Energy www.dwe.nsw.gov.au
       New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change www.environment.nsw.gov.au
       Live Energy Smart www.energysmart.com.au
       Federal Department of Environment and Water Resources www.environment.gov.au
       Australian Greenhouse Office www.greenhouse.gov.au
       Energy Rating www.energyrating.gov.au
       Biodiesel Association of Australia www.biodiesel.org.au


A Guide to Rural Residential Living in the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast                    www.ruralresidentialliving.com.au
                                                                             Chapter 17 Saving Energy and Money

Notes




A Guide to Rural Residential Living in the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast          www.ruralresidentialliving.com.au
                                                                     Chapter 17 Saving Energy and Money

Notes




A Guide to Rural Residential Living in the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast   www.ruralresidentialliving.com.au