Energy efficiency advice for home

Family in the kitchen

Heating and cooling your home can be the biggest contributor to your energy use. The following ideas can improve your energy efficiency and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions too.

Cool ideas for heating efficiency

  • The most energy efficient choice for heating large areas is a gas heater or a reverse cycle air conditioner.
  • Space heaters are usually more efficient than central heating as you are only heating one room, not the whole house.
  • Up to 70% of heat can be lost through ceilings and walls and up to 10% through elevated floors. Insulating your home can help to reduce your energy use and increase the temperature by up to seven degrees in winter.
  • Up to 10% of heat is lost through windows. Hang close-fitting, heavy curtains (preferably with pelmets) to make a significant difference.
  • Draughts can also put the heat on your energy use – by as much as 25%. Seal gaps around your doors to help you keep cosy and be more energy efficient.
  • The optimum winter temperature inside a home is between 18 and 20 degrees, every degree higher can increase your energy use.
  • Use a ceiling fan even in winter to keep your room at optimum temperature by pushing rising hot air back down into the room.
  • On sunny days, open curtains on north-facing windows to let the sunshine in – inviting free heat into your home.

Hot ideas for staying cool

  • On hot days, keep windows and doors closed and blinds and curtains drawn to help keep heat out. In the evenings, open windows and doors, on opposite sides of the house if possible, for a cooling cross-breeze.
  • Shade your windows, particularly those facing east and west. This can dramatically reduce the amount of heat entering your home, by as much as 80%. Consider awnings, external blinds and trees or shrubs to provide shade. If you’re building a new home, consider deep eaves or verandahs.
  • Read your stars – check energy efficiency star ratings before you purchase an air conditioner, heater or any other appliance. The more stars it has, the greater its energy efficiency – four to six-star ratings are best.
  • The optimum summer temperature inside a home is between 23 and 26 degrees. Every degree lower can have a big effect on your energy use.
  • Insulation not only helps you to stay warm and more energy efficient in winter – it can potentially keep your home up to 10 degrees cooler in summer too.
  • If you use an air conditioner, clean the air filters regularly and ensure that outside units are free from obstructions to help them run at their most efficient.