Power smarter, not harder: Maximising energy efficiency at home and work

As we become increasingly conscious of our environmental footprint, finding ways to reduce energy consumption is more important than ever. From simple, everyday habits to strategic upgrades, many ways exist to reduce energy use, save money, and contribute to a greener planet.

A radiator with a little wooden house sitting on top, wrapped in a blue scarf

What is ‘normal’ energy consumption?

The truth is there is no universal ‘normal’ regarding energy consumption. Every household and business has unique needs and habits, such as lifestyle behaviours, appliance efficiency, home size and the number of occupants.

One family or workplace may leave devices constantly powered on, lights blazing, and heating or cooling always running. The next could be far more conservative—dark rooms when not using them, heating only when needed, and mindfulness about passive energy waste, such as switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.

Yes, switched off appliances still use energy, but turning everything off at the wall is impractical. Imagine a morning where you sleep in because you forgot to plug in your alarm clock, or your mobile died overnight because the charger wasn’t plugged in. Or going to work with furry teeth because the electric toothbrush was flat. We’ve got more moderate approaches available… read on.

Rather than trying to gauge ‘normal,’ focus on what’s reasonably possible for your family and employees to reduce consumption and costs. Even small adjustments can lead to energy savings over time.

Simple energy-saving tips

Timers are an effective way to manage your energy usage. You can use a manual timer connected directly to a lamp or appliance or a smart timer to control your home and office appliances and heating remotely. Instead of returning to a dark and chilly home, you can have the assurance of returning to a warm and inviting space without wasting electricity. 

Bedroom with a smart screen attached to the wall

Similarly, if you notice all the lights left on in the office, you can turn them off remotely. This helps to prevent unnecessary energy usage and costs. Adopt a ‘last out, lights out’ policy at home or work to encourage your family and team to turn off switches when leaving a room. Before going to bed or leaving work, walk through the house or office and unplug your devices. From TVs and computers to coffee makers and phone chargers, these energy offenders can use electricity even when they’re on standby.


The big energy culprit: Hot water heating

One of the biggest residential energy users is hot water heating. We all enjoy long showers and steamy baths, but inefficient hot water systems can silently deplete your household budget.

With simple upgrades, you can enjoy all the hot water comfort you desire while slashing energy costs. Take a moment to examine your home’s hot water heater. If it’s an older model without updated insulation, you’re paying to heat the surrounding air rather than just the water itself. Don’t neglect those pipes either – insulating hot water lines minimises wasteful heat loss.

And speaking of showers, investing in a water-efficient showerhead multiplies your savings. A conventional showerhead can burn through over a dollar’s worth of hot water in just 10 minutes. A WaterSense certified 3-star model cuts that cost by two-thirds while delivering the same invigorating flow. For larger households, those savings accumulate quickly.


Energy audits  – greater efficiency

An office energy audit can enhance efficiency for businesses aiming to reduce costs and environmental impact. A thorough assessment identifies operational blind spots and hidden energy consumption.

The auditors will first analyse your climate control systems to ensure that the heat pumps and AC units function at peak performance. They will check for any dust buildup that could hinder airflow and ensure that the temperature settings aren’t too high – 21C degrees is ideal. By making a few simple adjustments, you could reduce energy waste while maintaining an ideal workplace environment.

Modern office space with rows of desks

But heating and cooling are just one piece of the puzzle. Retrofitting with LED bulbs pays exponential dividends. They consume far less electricity, and their extended lifespan drastically reduces maintenance costs.

Smart switches automatically extinguish lights in unoccupied spaces while providing intuitive manual overrides. No more blazing lights in empty conference rooms and hallways.


Demystifying appliance efficiency ratings

Those bright energy-rating stickers may catch your eye as you look at appliance upgrades. But are those flashy stars just empty marketing or legitimate guides? The answer: they’re legitimate and worth your consideration.

Behind each starred rating lies rigorously tested data on the appliance’s annual energy consumption based on typical usage patterns. More stars equate to greater energy efficiency over the product’s lifespan. When comparing models in the same category and size class, those ratings provide a direct comparison for identifying the most efficient option.

A clear kettle of boiled water being poured into a glass mug with a teabag in it.

When comparing different types or capacities of appliances, the process isn’t as straightforward. In those cases, it’s best to rely on the estimated annual kilowatt-hour consumption to determine the most energy-efficient choice. Every appliance has a label that shows how much power it uses (in watts). For example, a kettle may be rated at 2.4 kW. If it takes four minutes to boil, it will use 2.4 kW x (4 ÷ 60) hours = 0.16 kWh. This means boiling a kettle costs around 4¢ (0.16kWh x 25¢).

So, don’t underestimate the long-term compounding impact of an energy-efficient appliance, especially for those always-hard-at-work models like refrigerators. An Energy Star-certified fridge can save over $300 during its productive lifespan versus one built 15 years ago!

Want to find out more about how you can make simple changes to your energy use? We can help save you money in the long run and reduce your energy usage. Click here to get in touch.

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