With a rapidly changing climate and the resulting severe weather patterns becoming increasingly common in this country and throughout the world, legitimate efforts at transforming Australia into a sustainable and environment-conscious nation are more important now than ever before. While government-led initiatives and policies are vital, every day people must also play their part in mitigating the effects of climate change by aiming to lead their lives in a sustainable way. In other words, we need to balance our consumption of products and methods of transportation that produce excessive amounts of greenhouse gases with practices that reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible. The first and possibly easiest way to do this is to make a few simple changes at home to ensure our households are as energy efficient as they can be. Generally reducing how much energy we use not only alleviates our individual greenhouse footprints but also lowers any energy-related bills and taxes we have to pay. In that sense, energy efficiency is as much of a win-win situation for our wallets as it is for Australia's incredibly unique but fragile ecosystem. Here are a few straightforward things you can do to make your home energy and environmentally friendly.
1. Keep a check on your habits
While it may not seem harmful as small and individual acts, little habits such as leaving lights, TVs or other appliances on in rooms that no one's using or heating up an entire kettle full of water if you're only making a single cup of coffee add up in terms of energy consumption. Being aware of tendencies like this and talking to your family about ways you can hold one another accountable will reduce your energy use a surprising amount.
2. Use the sun
It's no secret that your gas or electricity bills can be incredibly expensive over time. Installing solar-power panels, like many Australians have been doing in recent years, automatically makes your home more environmentally friendly and frees you of the headache of paying for and maintaining complex gas or electricity systems. In a country like Australia where there's plenty of sun, you'd be a fool not to harness its power.
3. Invest in insulation and efficient windows
Excess use of our air-con and heating systems during the hotter days of summer and colder days of winter can turn into a big expense and is particularly bad for the environment. Insulating your walls, ceilings and floors with the help of a professional and investing in window films or double-glaze windows to have greater control over the indoor temperature at any time of the year is a smart move.
4. Change your hot-water system
The systems we use to heat up our water often consume more energy than all of our other household appliances combined. Checking your system and updating it to a more contemporary and energy-friendly alternative will save costs in the long run. Reducing your shower time works in the same way.
We all have a responsibility to our planet and the future generations to do everything for our environment that we can. Instituting just a handful of easy changes such as these can have positive and powerful effects.