I’m not generally known as a “save the planet” kind of guy, I suspect because of my fierce opposition to the carbon tax. That’s not to say I am against being kind to the environment; I make great efforts to ensure that every single one of my empty beer tinnies and stubbies are placed in the correct recycling bin.
I just don’t agree that the carbon tax is the way to deal with environmental issues.
Reducing carbon emissions though, by way of your own efforts is, in my view, highly recommended. Not only does it save the Earth’s valuable energy resources like coal, gas and electricity, it also saves you money.
We all like saving money, don’t we?
Climate Works Australia
So when I was contacted by a company representing Climate Works Australia, asking me if I would like a free home assessment (value $250) that would help me save money, I of course said “yes”.
When they went on to say I could offer the same value assessment to the lucky winner of a competition (details below) that I could hold here on my website, I said “well yes, sure!”
When they then added that the lucky winner would also receive a free retro-fit (additional value of up to another further $250, more details below) I said “where’s my free retro-fit?”
I wasn’t getting one, they said. Never mind.
The home assessment.
My assessor arrived at about 1.30 pm and after a bit of friendly chat asked me for my most recent electricity bill. He went out and took a meter reading, and then estimated that our household usually uses around 30 kWh per day, but during winter, when we use the heating in the evenings, it’s about 40 kWh per day.
Yes, even in Brisbane, it does get rather chilly in the evenings.
My assessor then systematically went around the house looking at every appliance and estimating weekly, monthly and yearly running costs of each.
The pool pump takes around 1 kW per hour, so as it is on for an average of six hours per day, that’s 6 kWh at a cost of about $1.40 per day, or $42 a month. The TV takes up another 4 kWh per day, so between the two of them account for another 10 kWh.
So that leaves 20 kW per day to be used, around six of those are for the fridges, plus two computers on all day long at about 250 watts the pair, is another 4 kWh.
The 10 kWh we now have left over run the dishwasher, the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine and the tumble dryer, hairdryer, cooker, oven, microwave, kettle, lights and whatever else we might have left.
After about an hour and a half, my assessor left promising to send me a full written report within the week. Two days later, it was in my inbox.
What were the recommendations?
Before that, did you know SE Queensland is reported to be the region with the highest per capita electricity consumption on the planet? That’s how his report started, I wasn’t sure I believed it.
“On a per capita basis, Australia produces more greenhouse gases than any other country. In fact, around 30 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions come from just one state, Queensland. This is a shocking statistic when you consider that Queenslanders only account for around a fifth of the nation’s population.”
Queensland, we have a problem.
No cost solutions:
- Check integrity of roof insulation.
- Check leakage of warm air through air con ceiling vents using an incense stick.
- Turn off solar hot water booster.
- Turn off power to air con when not in use to eliminate potential standby power drain.
- Keep fridges mostly full for greatest efficiency.
- Reset mean temperature of fridges (mine were too low).
- Set power save modes on desktop computers and TV.
- Relocate air con thermostat to the living area for better performance.
- Replace halogen down lights with energy efficient bulbs.
- Install curtains or blinds to reduce heat loss at the windows.
- Connect the pool pump to a low rate electricity tariff.
High cost solutions:
- Buy solar power.
My assessment of his assessment.
There were some no-cost solutions he mentioned that I haven’t included in the above list which, according to his calculations, would have reduced my energy consumption by 929.7 kWh, reducing my CO2 emissions by 775 kg and saving me $232 per year.
Impressive, yes, but the downside was the solutions simply involved using stuff less. For example, watch one hour less of television per day. What goes then? My football highlights show? Mrs BobinOz’s Masterchef? Or Elizabeth Wizards of Waverley? Should we fight over it? Every day!
Turning the heating off during winter for an extra three hours each evening simply leaves us cold for three hours in the evening. Can’t see that working. The suggestion to use our tumble dryer 3.3 hours less a week is a no go, we don’t think we even have it on that much in total.
But maybe we would get away with one hour less per day on the pool pump, that would save us around $90 per year.
On the low-cost solutions, I really liked the idea of replacing my down lights with energy saving bulbs. I have 14 down lights at 50 watts a pop, it would cost me an absolute maximum of $140 to replace these lights with 4 W energy saving bulbs that give out the same light, but I could get them for as little as $60 on eBay.
Estimated energy saving would be $172 and a massive 575 kg of CO2 per year. Now we’re cooking!
As for the, high cost solution, we already know I have taken the plunge and invested in solar power.
I’m quite savvy when it comes to the running costs of electrical appliances. Savvy, but also slow. For example, I had a 500 W halogen bulb lamp in our lounge which used to be switched on at around seven o’clock in the evening, every day. It would stay on until I, a serious night owl, went to bed.
So I ditched it and replace it with a 10 W energy-saving bulb in a different lamp. That one change saved me over $50 per quarter in electricity. Unfortunately, it took me two years before I realised the stupidity of the old lamp.
That’s about $400 wasted and probably something like 1300 kg of unnecessary CO2 over that period.
So doing a carbon emissions exercise NOW does make sense, whether you get someone round or you do yourself. And you don’t have to do it to save the planet; you can do it simply to save money.
Win an Energy Opportunities Home Assessment valued at $250, plus another $250 retro-fitting for a total value of $500!
Sorry, this competition is now closed, Nicky was our lucky winner.
This competition is open to anyone living in Australia. You can have your home assessed just like I did, except you will also get up to $250 worth of retro-fitting.
What does that mean?
Here’s a good example; I would have got 14 energy saving light bulbs for free, and still had change. Maybe enough change to relocate the air con thermostat! All paid for and done for me.
But of course, I didn’t get a retro-fit.
You can though, and it’s very simple to enter:
- Go to ClimateWorksAustralia.org
- Watch “Case Study: A Household”, and while you are there, why not check out some of the other videos too.
- Then come back here and place a comment below answering the following question…
What would you do with the money you save by following the tips on the Empower website?
The winner will be announced one month from today. Good luck and don’t forget to add your answers below…