Aucklanders are discovering new and simple ways to lower their carbon footprint and save money using tools from Live Lightly.
Each home is different, but everyone can save money by making their place more energy efficient. There are surprisingly big savings in simple changes like LED lightbulbs or using cold water to wash your clothes. Or, more long-term options like choosing the most energy-efficient heating source.
James Raea and his family changed all their lights to LED’s and saved $400 per year on power bills. James was surprised how, “simple things can make big savings.” His daughter’s school also made to make the same switch, and now they’re saving $3000.
Stop draining money in water bills
Gareth Shute and his family found that one of the big impacts they could have was through conserving water. This small change added up to big savings in both the water and power bills. Up to 90 per cent of the energy used in a washing machine is heating the water.
The average three person Auckland household could save $270 per year on water by reducing shower times from 10 minutes to 4 minutes. Plus, additional savings on your power bill of around $35 per person for every minute you shorten your shower. It’s also saving 99kg of CO2e emissions per person per year - that's like burning 46 kilograms of coal.
Gareth is using a kitchen timer to motivate his son to save water. He says, “It’s turned showering into a game for our son; now, he challenges himself to keep shower times under four minutes, which is a win for us in terms of saving water, money and time.”
You could cut your water bill by $100 each year for a three-person household just by changing your showerhead. It’s also 123kg of CO2e per person per year, and savings of up to $90 per person on your energy bill, depending on how long your shower time is.
Similarly, dropping your hot water temperature from 70 degrees to 60 degrees could save 20kg of CO2e emissions per year - that's like driving return from Manurewa to Torbay in a medium-size petrol car.
According to the EECA calculator, washing your clothes in cold water saves $80 or more every year on power and 37kg of CO2e emissions. Washing on cold will keep clothes just as clean as a warm wash, and they’ll last longer.
Find out what your home needs
Graham and Sadhvi used a free Home Energy Audit Toolkit (HEAT kit) from their local Auckland Library to figure out where the biggest savings might be for their new Northcote home. Graham’s advice to people is to, “Do your research first to find out where you can make the biggest gains to get the best bang for your buck.”
Heat pumps were the first purchase they made and they, “noticed the warmth and comfort immediately, especially in the bedrooms.” They added more insulation under the house and secondary acrylic glazing (3mm) was added to the windows using a magnetic style strip. Graham shares, “We would do a few windows at a time in the evening or weekend. We knew it was going to be worth it seeing the instant difference the glazing achieved with cutting condensation.
“To keep costs down, we use the ‘free hour of power’ from our electricity supplier at low-peak times. We set the dishwasher and dryer to run between 9-10pm which means it costs less and uses more sustainable power sources.”
Visit the Live Lightly website to get more ideas of where you can make your home more energy-efficient and save money.
Get started with Future Fit
You can calculate your carbon footprint in under 5 minutes using the Future Fit tool from Auckland Council. Then, sign up for carbon-saving ideas to keep you going. Already the initiative has saved an estimated 1800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. This is the equivalent of driving from Auckland to Wellington in a medium-sized car around 14,000 times.