Whether you’re across the state of climate change and the impact of your carbon footprint or not, doing your bit could help the planet and see you generate significant cost savings at the same time.
We look at six areas where ‘going green’ may save you thousands of dollars each year.
- Using energy efficient appliances can save you hundreds of dollars in running costs each year, with home appliances accounting for about one third of household energy consumption1. The Energy Rating App can help you crunch the numbers.
- Replacing standard light bulbs with energy-efficient ones will use less energy and last you three to 25 times longer2.
- Installing a solar power system will incur an upfront cost but it will generate free electricity. About 1.5 million roof top systems were installed across Australia as of last October3. Solar-powered garden lights can also reduce outdoor electricity as they only require the sun’s rays to operate.
- With approximately 40% of energy in homes used for heating and cooling, using thermostats and timers to make sure you're only heating or cooling a room as much as you need it will also save you considerable money, depending on your usage4.
- Install water-efficient showerheads, washing machines and toilets. The government estimates this could save Australians more than $1 billion in water and energy bills by 20215.
- Reduce outdoor water usage by choosing native and indigenous plants that require less water and consider a rain water tank.
- Wash your car on the lawn so you’re watering the grass at the same time.
- Do full rather than half loads of washing and check out the My Water Diary app to help you track where you use most of your water and where you can make the biggest savings.
Watch your food wastage
- Australians throw away more than $8 billion worth of food every year, most of which ends up in landfill6, so avoid over-stocking your fridge and pantry, and write a shopping list to help.
- Turn waste, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, into compost which you can use as fertiliser.
- Consider your own vegetable garden. More than 50% of Australian households are now growing some of their own food7.
- Quit it with the bottled water and buy a reusable drinking canister. One in ten items found on Clean Up Australia Day were related to plastic bottles8 and they generally cost over $3 a pop.
Use less paper
- Each tonne of paper that’s recycled saves almost 13 trees and 4 cubic metres of landfill9 so reduce, reuse and recycle to help the environment and save you money.
- Paying bills online and sending emails can eliminate postage costs, and printing double sided can reduce the amount of paper you use and need to buy.
- Also use washable cloth napkins instead of going through packets of paper towels each week.
Reduce car emissions
- Each bus trip has the potential to take around 50 cars off the road10 so take public transport, save on fuel and parking, and cut down the amount of pollution that’s associated with commuting.
- Alternatively, cycle, walk or carpool. The MyCarPooling app has a range of options.
- Service your car regularly. An engine in good form will save fuel and minimise pollution.
Salvage electronic devices
- The disposal of electronic items, which typically contain toxic and hazardous materials, is the fastest growing area of waste in Australia today11, so ask yourself if you really need the tablet, laptop, desktop computer and smartphone.
- Opt for long-lasting, durable technology products and give your old devices to friends, family, local schools or charitable organisations. Alternatively, look out for electronic manufacturers and groups who offer technology recycling programs.
There are big and small steps you can take to save the planet and save you money. If you want to investigate further, why not give Black Google a go? It’s like the Google you know so well, but it’s run on renewable energy.
A holiday at home can save you money and open your eyes to a world of possibilities.