With New Year’s Day just behind us, many of us will start to set our intentions and resolutions for 2022. At Cola Solar our resolutions are simple, to help Victorians both save money and our planet!
Last Year’s Savings
In 2021 a nationally representative Finder survey of 1,004 Australians found that 42% of respondents wanted to save money/spend less in the new year. But how did we actually do? In 2021 Australia’s spending decreased steadily throughout the year, showing a conservative trend down towards the mid-year mark. Good effort Aussies!
We are projected however to spend considerably more as a nation in 2022 than in the previous two years. With the world re-opening post-lockdowns many of us will be tempted to spend more money as our lives return to their pre-covid normal rhythm.
2021 Environmental Efforts
In the past year we have seen a 5% drop in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions with renewable energy displacing coal-fired power. While this sounds promising we are expected to see a trend upwards in our overall emissions post-lockdowns as energy use increases nationally in 2022.
With 2022 projected to be a year where extra care is needed in regard to our national emissions it’s a great time to set some environmental and financial goals for your household in the new year.
Keep scrolling to read our list of 50 Ways to Save Money and the Planet!
50 Ways to Save Money and the Planet
Doing the right thing by the environment often times saves you money too. Here are some tips for living a cheaper, greener life and fulfilling those 2022 New Years goals!
Use calico or re-usable shopping bags when buying groceries. Did you know the average Australian uses 170 plastic bags every year? 150 million plastic bags end up as litter and only 3% of them are being recycled. Keep your re-usable shopping bags in an easy to access place, such as your car boot where you will be able to easily grab them on the go. Forgetting your reusable bags often means you need to buy new bags every time you shop. At 70 cents a bag assuming the average household goes shopping once per week and requires an average of 5 bags per trip, that’s $130 spent annually on shopping bags! You will also accumulate 260 re-usable shopping bags a year – that’s a lot of boot or cupboard space to dedicate to Woolies green bags.
Use green or environmentally friendly cleaning products. Vinegar makes an amazing all-purpose cleaner and general superhero of the all-natural cleaning world. Armed with some baking soda, lemon juice and water, you’d be surprised at what you can’t clean with this simple kit! At $1.40 per 2L bottle it is a much more economic option than a 500ml bottle of multi-Purpose cleaner priced at $3.00 for popular brands.
Learn to read your energy bills! Compare usage patterns, months, quarters or years. If you find anomalies call your energy retailer and find out why. Having a free Powerpal installed at your home is a great way to start tracking your electricity usage patterns and comparing these with your power bills. At Cola Solar we install a free Powerpal as part of our pre-installation site-visit service for all compatible customers’ homes.
Have a once-a-week TV and device free evening. Read a book, play a board or card game or do a jigsaw instead. Earth Hour is a worldwide event, held at 8:30pm local time on the 26th of March 2022, where millions of people across the world show their support for our planet by switching off their electricity.
Switch to paperless receipts, bills and statements. Many companies now offer paperless digital bills, statements and receipts that can be sent directly to your email rather than physically mailed to your letterbox. Jump onto your providers app or website or call to opt-in to paperless statements.
Turn off your lights when they are not needed.
Change to energy efficient globes. LEDs and CFLs last longer and can use up to 90% less energy compared to standard incandescent globes.
Make the most of natural light. Some homeowners have replaced sections of metal roofing on verandas with ‘laserlite’ or similar products.
Consider installing skylights in kitchens and bathrooms. These lights can increase light and reduce water vapor (reducing condensation).
Keep lights and fittings clean. Dust on globes, shades and reflectors reduces energy efficiency.
Switch appliances off at the wall. Over a year a microwave can produce more greenhouse gases by running the clock rather than cooking food.
Install window films on north facing windows. This works well for summer but decreases winter warmth from the sun.
Seal gaps around doors. Hardware stores have a range of sealant products for use with different materials. Use a draught sock at the bottom of doors.
Use natural breeze paths to cool the home. Install a thermometer indoors and outdoors to monitor cool changes.
Close of unoccupied rooms that do not require heating or cooling.
Don’t overheat the house. Every degree above 20 C adds around 10% to your heating bill.
If it’s cold, place another layer of clothes on rather than turn the heater on.
Don’t over cool rooms. Set your air-conditioner to 23 C.
In the Laundry
Make your own natural DIY laundry detergent using Epsom salt, baking soda, washing soda, sea salt and essential oils.
Wash your clothes in cold water to save in water heating costs. Washing in cold water also helps reduce color fade and shrinking of fabrics.
Consider changing to a front-loading machine. They use less water and less energy. They also have higher spin cycles that dry clothes.
Use the clothesline to dry washing.
Clean the filter on the clothes dryer regularly.
Use the clothes dryer on off-peak tariffs.
Iron in large batches, reducing heat-up energy wastage.
In the Bathroom
Take shorter showers. Timers are available from hardware stores.
Install water saving shower heads.
Replace washers on dripping taps.
Insulate hot water pipes.
When replacing your water heater upgrade to energy efficient models. Consider solar hot water or a heat pump.
Avoid battery operated devices (toothbrushes, razors, and radios) that require recharging or battery replacements.
Move the hot water service closer to the most used taps. Energy is lost and water wasted if there is a long run from the water heater to the tap.
Install a recirculation water pump that draws water from the heater and pushes the cold water back through the lines, rather than run it down the drain.
Purchase some re-usable makeup removing pads rather than using single use cotton rounds and balls.
Use a bio-degradable toothbrush made of bamboo or compostable material.
In the Kitchen
Upgrade your appliances when necessary. New models are generally more energy efficient.
Check your fridge door seals. They should be airtight. To check, close the fridge over a piece of paper – if you can pull the paper through the seal either the seal needs replacing or the hinge of the door needs adjusting.
Clean and defrost your fridge regularly.
Check the settings on your fridge. Temperatures 2.5 C – 4 C for the fridge and -15 C to -18 C for the freezer are optimal.
Fill the dishwasher. A half full dishwasher uses the same amount of energy and water.
Get rid of the ‘beer fridge’. Generally, these are older, less efficient models and they often have minimal beer in them.
Use economy settings on devices.
Clean gas burner jets on cook tops often. The small holes can be blocked by spills and food particles.
Connect your dishwasher to cold water.
Pressure cookers cook more efficiently than ovens.
Outside the Home
Don’t leave the security lights on all night or day. Have a motion detector fitted.
If you heat your pool and don’t have solar, consider solar powered heating.
Fit retractable blinds to north and west facing windows.
Mulch your trees, shrubs, and garden beds.
Install a water tank to collect rainwater from your roof. Use this on your garden or plumb the tank back to the toilet/s (usually requires a pump).
Thanks for reading our list of 50 Ways to Save Money and the Planet. Make sure to follow our Cola Solar blog for more tips, tricks and updates!