The big buzzword is sustainability these days, but what exactly does it mean? Sustainability could be defined as
“..an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself.”
It’s about taking what we need to live now, without jeopardising the potential for people in the future to meet their needs. It also requires you to make environmentally-conscious choices about the way you live. It’s not really plausible for most of us to have a completely sustainable home, one that uses only nature’s infinite resources with no effect on the environment around us.
However, fortunately for all of us keen to make a difference, there are some measures we can all take to make your home more sustainable and energy efficient.
Some simple steps you can make are:
- Recycle rubbish.
- Turn off lights when not needed.
- Fit low energy globes (LED for example).
- Change from paper bills to electronic.
- Lower the Thermostat a few degrees through winter and raise it a few degrees in summer.
- Wash in cold water whenever possible.
- Turn power points off when appliances are in standby.
- Open your shades or install a skylight to avoid the use of lighting during the day.
- Fit water saving showerheads.
- Fix leaking taps.
These are just a few of the simple ways to embrace sustainable living.
Another way is by installing rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (PV); it’s a great way to reduce your homes impact on the environment and saving you some money along the way.
With the reductions to feed-in tariffs in Victoria, the main benefit of solar is in offsetting consumption rather than maximising exports of electricity to the grid in order to receive a feed-in tariff. This means that the ideal system size would be one that closely matches your electricity usage while not exporting excessive amounts of energy back into the grid.
So a good place to start when considering solar is to take a look at your energy use and ask yourself if you would use the electricity generated by the panels during the day. Personally I run 2 pool pumps during the day so my answer to this question is a big yes. For those that are home a lot during the day or maybe run a home business, Solar would be a benefit for you also.
Also with Solar take a moment to check out your roof, some roofs are going to provide a better return than others. Generally speaking, it’s ideal if they’re North or North-West facing and not blocked by trees or shade from other buildings.
Having said that every roof receives light during the day, so even if your roof is not angled directly towards the sun you can still put a solar system on your roof and enjoy the benefits, it just may produce a bit less power.
As the environment becomes more and more jeopardized and the cost of energy is always on the up (and not likely to come down) more and more people are turning towards green energy to meet the energy requirements of their home. Solar energy is unarguably the most popular choice in renewable energy today.