If environmental sustainability and energy savings are top of mind, there are some helpful home improvements you can make. Fortunately, you don't need to break the bank and hire professionals; armed with some basic DIY skills, you can take matters into your own hands and embark on energy-saving projects right at home.
1. Install Window film on your windows
By applying window film to your windows, you can significantly reduce energy loss and heat gain in your home. Up to 40% of a home's heating energy can be lost, while 87% of its heat can be gained through windows alone. However, by installing window film, you can effectively lower your energy bill and experience noticeable savings.
Window films can be easily applied to your windows. Start by cleaning your window with an ammonia-based clear, wiping it dry. Fill up a spray bottle with water and a few drops of baby shampoo, which will help the film stick to the window and allow you to slide easily to adjust to fit. Then, Measure the dimensions of the window and add an extra inch to each side to ensure proper coverage. Peel off the backing, align and apply the film, squeegee out bubbles, and trim the edges for a neat finish.
During the colder months, window films can help reduce heat loss, while also preventing heat from entering your home during warmer months. This simple investment can result in decreased reliance on heating and cooling appliances, ultimately leading to lower energy bills.
2. Cut cooling costs by creating natural shade in the garden
Choosing and planting trees in strategic places (particularly on the south and west sides where the sun is strongest) will shade your property wonderfully. Deciduous trees (leaf-shedding ones) with a wide canopy and dense foliage are a top choice as they provide shade in summer and allow warming sunlight in the winter.
When you’ve found your perfect spot, dig a hole that is wider and slightly shallower than the root ball or container of the tree. The hole should be two to three times wider than the root ball and just deep enough so that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the ground. Add in some rich organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility, structure and drainage. Then, carefully place the tree in the centre of the hole, ensuring it is upright and at the desired height, then backfill gently with soil.
As well as plants and trees, outdoor curtains or blinds for outdoor spaces can be drawn to block direct sunlight and provide shade when needed.
3. Conserve energy by sealing draughty gaps with caulking
Did you know up to 25% of winter heat loss from houses is caused by air leakage? Sealing draughty gaps around doors and windows will save both energy and money–and you can do it yourself. Once you’ve identified where the air is escaping, purchase a caulking gun, high-quality silicone or acrylic caulk, a putty knife and a rag or sponge for clean-up.
Start by cleaning the area around the window or door frame by removing any existing caulk or dirt using the putty knife. When the surface is clean and dry, hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle and place the nozzle against the joint or gap you want to seal. Start at one end and slowly squeeze the trigger to apply a continuous bead of caulk. Maintain a steady pressure and keep the gun moving along the joint to ensure even coverage. Use your finger to smooth, wiping excess off and allowing 24 hours to dry.
4. Get creative with soft furnishings and save
From cosy rugs to shade-giving curtains, integrating more fabrics and upholstery into your home can help you stay warm in winter and cool in summer. To prevent cold air from entering living spaces, hang heavy curtains or fabric panels across doorways leading to unheated areas like garages or basements. You can make a no-sew draught excluder by simply taking an old duvet and tying ribbons around it to keep it in a tube shape.
Thick rugs act as a barrier and can save up to 12.8% on heating costs. Place area rugs or carpets on hard flooring surfaces to provide insulation and reduce heat loss in colder months. Consider re-augmenting your living space furnishings so that your heating and cooling devices don’t have to work as hard to circulate the air.
- Save up to 16% in water heating costs by insulating your water heater with a blanket or jacket.
- Plant deciduous trees with dense foliage in your garden to shade your home in summer and allow sunlight to access it in winter.
- Seal draughty gaps around doors and windows using quality caulking.
- Hang curtains, make draught excluders and throw down rugs to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
ActewAGL's energy saving tips are designed to help you take control of your energy use, while reducing your bills and environmental impact. Save with great value energy plans backed by our sustainability promise, supported by 100% local, award-winning service - so you can LIVE A Good Life now and into the future.
For more information about how you can transition to an energy-efficient home visit the SolarHub & ActewAGL Smart Energy Hub today.
Disclaimer: These Energy Savings tips and articles are for information purposes only. Please ensure you are aware of any safety precautions before operating appliances or products.