Power bills! No one wants them, they are always going up and yet we can’t really live without power. But – I think anyway – that the nicest feeling about power bills is when you actually pay less than the last one. And there is only one way that we know of to do this – reduce the amount of electricity you are using.
In this article, we look at what we think are the 5 main things you need to consider to reduce the power consumption in your new home. So, read on to find out about some practical measures to drop those power bills!
When you’re thinking about decreasing your electricity consumption you really need to clarify the main user of electricity in your new home. We have found that the following four areas are generally the biggest drains to your power consumption:
HOT WATER SYSTEMS – THE BIG HEAT SINKS OF POWER CONSUMPTION!
To start off – an obvious one- water heating. My tip for this is….DO NOT USE ELECTRIC HOT WATER!!! Yes, you can put electric hot water systems on a separate tariff which give you cheaper, off-peak power pricing but the simple fact is you’re still consuming power.
GAS HOT WATER SYSTEMS
Most builders now days will specify instantaneous gas hot water systems. With the new 7-star models these are the most cost-effective way of reducing your power bill and you get a really great hot water system that NEVER runs out of hot water. The downside for this is that you still have to pay for gas!
SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEMS
So, if you can afford the extra $5,000 you could really want to go the “whole hog” and reduce your power bill – choose a solar hot water system. But there is one big catch here! DO NOT GET A BOOSTER! Most clients think, let’s go solar hot water to reduce their power bills and then add on an electric or gas booster for peace of mind. We recommend that our clients get a good quality solar hot water system that doesn’t need a booster. Or alternatively has a control system to ensure the booster is only used when absolutely necessary. Now, watch your energy bill plummet!
LIGHTING – CHOOSE LED!
Another area of energy consumption is the lighting in your home. With lighting in your new modular prefabricated home, we have a one really simple tip – go LED. Make sure all your lights are LED. If you can do without heater lights in your bathrooms, put LED lights in your bathroom.
You might be thinking: well I don’t like the light colour, there’s less choice, isn’t LED a bit gimmicky, etc. LED lights have improved dramatically over the past few years. From basic options to high-end premium architectural fittings there is a large range of fitting available in all shapes, colours and sizes. Most good quality lights have an option to change the colour ‘temperature” on the back to give you “Cool White” or “Warm White” colour options. Check out Beacon Lighting to see what is available!
YOUR NEW APPLIANCES. FREEZE YOUR POWER BILL!
With fridges and freezers, ovens, stoves and other appliances in your home make sure you get the highest “Energy Star” rating you can afford. Honestly, spend a little bit extra to get that extra half a star and you will repay yourself 10 times over the life of the appliances!
And above all, do not use your 10-year-old, second-hand fridge – you will just chew up any power savings you’ve just made!
HEATING & COOLING FOR YOUR NEW RELOCATABLE HOME.
With heating and cooling for your new home, there are a lot of options, tips and tricks you can consider. In fact, we could do a whole article on this point alone!
Suffice it to say the biggest tip we can give our clients here is thinking about is not so much the heater or air-conditioner needed but insulation and windows. You can really cost-effectively boost the thermal performance of your home just by adding extra ceiling or roof insulation. Look at upgrading your windows to a “Comfort” type treated glass. Also, consider a verandah to increase shading of your new prefab home!
GRID-CONNECTED SOLAR POWER
And finally, one fo the best investments you can make on your home is to install a grid-connected solar power system. These systems work by feeding power back into the power grid. The energy provider will then give you a rebate on this power which is deducted from your power bill. So, in summary, a grid-connected solar power system will lower your power bill without you even trying.
So, in conclusion, when designing your new home, it really pays to think about how much it’s going to cost to run your home down the track! Remember a dollar spent on reducing your power bill BEFORE you build the home will pay itself back to you many, many times over down the track! Check out these tips from Ergon Energy for further ideas!