Back to basics: reducing your energy use and saving money

Cover of 'Guide to reducing your energy use and saving money'

Along with the Victorian Council of Social Service and with the support of the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the ATA is publishing a guide to energy efficiency on a budget. Laura McLeod gives us a preview.

With energy prices set to rise considerably over the next few years, now is the time to seriously consider inexpensive technology items and behaviour changes that could make a significant difference to your energy bills. No matter whether you’re a home owner or a home renter, and whatever your income level, you can make changes to your home to make it more comfortable, save energy and money, and reduce your environmental impact.

Here is a preview of some of the guide’s top energy efficiency tips.

Switch off lights when the room is not in use and change to energy-efficient light bulbs to make a big difference to your electricity bills.

Replace incandescent light bulbs: Replace your old-style light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Both CFLs and LEDs are much cheaper to run—they can reduce running costs by up to 75% and 90%, respectively, paying for their higher purchase price in a few months. They also last much longer than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are becoming more readily available; despite their higher shelf price, they are generally more efficient than CFLs and can last for up to 50,000 hours—that’s over 22 years at six hours’ use per day!

Don’t use halogen downlights: If your house is full of energy-hungry halogen downlights, replace them with good-quality LED bulbs or complete LED fittings. Halogen downlights are a very inefficient type of lighting, with 90% or more of the energy used by the globe lost as heat.

Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling are among the most energy-hungry aspects of running a home, but it doesn’t take much effort to reduce their impact.

Use heating and air conditioning wisely: Reducing the temperature on the thermostat of your heater or increasing it on your air conditioner by just 1°C can reduce the energy used by 10%. In winter, set the heater thermostat to a maximum of 18–20°C; in summer set your air conditioner to a minimum of 26°C.

Read the full article in ReNew 120 or download the guide here.

Renew-logo-white-on-blue 534px

The Alternative Technology Association has rebranded as Renew!

Very soon, we will be launching our new Renew organisation website at this address,, full of latest news and useful information on sustainable living.

In the meantime, please choose where you’d like to go:

 Simply close this box for the Renew magazine website

Click here for the Renew/ATA organisation website