5 ways to save energy (and money) while you're on holiday
Saving on your energy use is probably the last thing on your mind before heading off on holiday, but putting a few minutes aside before you walk out the door can actually have an impact on your power bills. Add these 5 easy steps to your holiday check list and relax in the knowledge you’re saving energy, and money.
1. Turn off and tune out
There’s absolutely no reason any of your appliances need to be plugged in while you’re lying on a beach somewhere, so pull out those plugs and flick the switches off too.
Why unplug? Well a little known fact is that some appliances, such as TVs, phone chargers and computers, continue to drain electricity even when switched off at the wall. And there’s no doubt that unplugging your appliances makes your house safer, which means a more relaxing holiday for you.
2. Switch off the fridge and chill
Why not use your holiday as an opportunity to clean out the fridge? Switching off your fridge for two weeks will have an impact on your energy bill and, if you clean it once you’ve emptied it, you’ll come home to a nice fresh fridge (a definite improvement on returning to rotten vegies and mouldy yogurt). Leave the fridge door slightly ajar and put a small container of bicarb soda on the bottom shelf to absorb any remnant smells.
3. Timing out
Make sure appliances that run on a timer, such as heating or air-conditioning, are turned off and unplugged. If you want to leave some lights on for security purposes, use a timer so they only come on when needed. And don’t leave lights on all night. Nothing says ‘we’re not here’ more than a brightly lit lounge-room at 3am on a weeknight.
4. Turn down the heat
One of the big energy users that people rarely think about is hot water. According to the Australian Government’s Your Home guide to environmentally sustainable homes, water heating is the second largest segment of household energy use in Australia. So turning your hot water booster off when you’re on holiday makes good sense. If you’re on gas hot water and you’re hesitant about re-lighting the pilot, turn the temperature right down so a minimum amount of energy is being used while you’re away.
When you get back, make sure that the water is heated to above 60oC for at least 35 minutes before you use it – this kills any bacteria that might have grown in the tank. Note that heating the water could take a few hours, so think about asking a neighbour to turn the booster on the day before you’re due to get home.
5. Holiday at home
If you’re not going away, school holidays can mean more people at home and increased energy usage. So it’s a good time to educate the kids about some basic energy saving practices that can translate into all year ‘round.
Turn off or unplug all those ‘vampire’ appliances overnight, or during the day if you’re heading out. Rug up rather than run the heating and use a hot water bottle instead of the electric blanket. And why not get the slow cooker out and try a few energy efficient recipes.
Whether you’re at home or away, you’ll soon discover that being more energy efficient is very satisfying, given you’re not only saving money but reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.