As conscious consumers in 2018, many of us have sustainability and energy-efficiency front of mind when making decisions relating to the design and fit out of our homes. As well as reducing your carbon footprint, the greener solution often goes hand in hand with the most cost-effective solution in the long term, helping you to keep costly electricity bills to a minimum.
On average, electricity makes up over 50% of energy use in Australian households and is by far our biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as a country. This would suggest the quickest, most effective way we can look to do our part in the quest to lower emissions in general, is to seek ways to improve energy efficiency in the home. But how? Large ‘everyday use’ whiteware items, such as kitchen appliances and heating or cooling systems are likely to be the biggest energy users in your home, so let’s look at the most sustainable approach to take when selecting these big-ticket items for your house.
Making White Goods Green
Whether fitting out a new build, renovating, or just looking to update your appliances, making the decision to invest in sustainable, energy efficient appliances now could help you make significant savings in the long term.
Of course, handy regulated guides such as the energy star rating systems will help you to quickly understand where your options sit on the efficiency scale, but there are some fundamental considerations you can make yourself to ensure you’re making the greener choice.
When it comes to fridges and freezers, ensure you research what size is right for you – getting the storage size right will mean you’re not paying to power a large appliance you don’t realistically need every day. You should also consider additional features such as thermostat control, and door alarms, which help to ensure your fridge/freezer is running to optimal efficiency.
Look for dishwashers and washing machines that are efficient in their water use also. Half-load settings and economy, low and cold-water settings will save on water use, running costs and come in handy when you don’t need the full power capacity of your appliance – which is probably more often than you would imagine! Many washing machines nowadays have a multitude of different wash settings with efficiency in mind, so do your research and look to select a model that’s going to work best for the household. Generally, front loaders are more sustainable than top loaders – being smaller, they typically require less power to run and use less water by design.
Heating and Cooling for Less
On average, 40% of the energy we use at home is for heating and cooling – and this doesn’t include heating hot water! So it goes without saying that your choice of heating system will have a large impact on your home’s carbon footprint.
When searching for a central heating and cooling system, you’ll likely be after a ‘one-stop’ system that will both heat and cool your home when you need it, making your house the comfortable living space you desire all year round. Like when selecting your appliances, the number of options on the market is vast, and the decision can be overwhelming.
When looking at energy efficiency, the following comparative breakdown may be helpful:
Central Heating Systems Comparison
|System type||Running Cost||Greenhouse Gas Emissions|
|High efficiency ducted natural gas||Low||Low|
|Hydronic zoned natural gas||Low||Low|
|Hydronic zoned heat pump||Very Low||Very Low|
|Ducted reverse cycle or heat pump||Medium||Medium (low with green/renewable electricity source)|
|Hydronic zoned with wood/solar heat source||Low||Very low (if from a renewable resource and seasoned wood)|
|In-slab high off-peak electric||Medium–high||Very high (low with green/renewable electricity source)|
While there are a wide variety of system types on the market, hydronic heating is by far the most sustainable and energy-efficient option for a complete central heating and cooling system in your home. Gently warming objects rather than air by natural convection and radiation, hydronic heating provides a comfortable, clean heat for your space.
Many central heaters have high energy losses from the heat distribution systems, usually through ducts. With no ducts or vents, hydronic heating lets you avoid these inefficiencies, and has the added benefit of requiring little upkeep, for a low maintenance option.
Hydronic leads the market in Europe and is gaining increasing popularity worldwide – and it’s easy to see why, as more and more households are looking to improve their efficiency and lower carbon footprints.
Hunt’s range of hydronic systems, with temperature monitoring capabilities and room-by-room control, give you space heating control many other approaches to central heating don’t allow for and see that you can ensure your system is operating at its highest possible efficiency. Our systems have fully flexible temperature control capability, providing refreshing, cool climate control on hot days also.
To learn more about the benefits of hydronic heating, and how Hunt can help you to improve the energy efficiency of your home, get in touch with us today.