Use less energy

Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, live in a house or an apartment, are a resident or business owner, saving energy is something we all can do to respond to the climate emergency – and save on our energy bills.

Borrow an energy efficiency kit

Energy efficiency kits are now available to borrow from Yarra Libraries. The kits contain easy to use tools and information to help you learn about your home's energy efficiency and plan how to save energy, reduce emissions and save money.  

In each kit you will find:  

  • A Power-Mate™ Lite Energy Monitor that measures how much electrical power is being used by an appliance  
  • An Energy Saving Thermometer to check whether the temperature of your rooms, fridge and freezer are set to the most energy efficient ranges
  • A Non-contact Thermometer measuring the temperature of an object or surface using an infrared sensor
  • A Water Flow Measuring Cup to calculate flow rate and help save water 

A separate FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera is also available to borrow. This easy to use but sophisticated tool helps identify less obvious areas where your home may be leaking heat.  

Contact your nearest Yarra Library to find out more and borrow an energy efficiency kit or thermal imaging camera

Victorian government rebates and incentives 

Your home may be eligible for a free PowerPal through the Victorian government’s Energy Upgrades scheme. The PowerPal smart energy meter shows you the energy you use in real time on your phone, so you can see what’s using excess energy and reduce your use. Visit PowerPal for more information. 

The Victorian Energy Compare website can help you find the cheapest electricity deal. Look for a 100% GreenPower plan to reduce your carbon emissions when you switch. 

There are a wide range of energy concessions, rebates and other government financial support available, particularly for people living on low incomes. Download this factsheet to learn about the range of support available.

Webinars about energy efficiency:

Save without spending

There are many things you can do to save energy that don’t cost anything:

  • Turn off appliances at the switch when you’re not using them. Turn off lights and heaters when you’re not using the room. Keep your thermostat set at 26 degrees or higher in summer and 18-20 degrees in winter. Every degree can add 10% to your heating costs in winter. Heating costs can make up as much as 30-40% of your energy bill. 
  • Switch to LED light globes. You could save 80% on your lighting costs.
  • Wash clothes in cold water and hang them up to dry. Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full.
  • Set your fridge at 4-5 degrees, and your freezer at minus 15 to minus 18 degrees. If you have a second fridge or freezer, switch it off when you don’t need it.
  • Use fans instead of air conditioning to cool your house when practical.
  • Use curtains or blinds to keep the indoor temperature comfortable. During a heatwave, close the curtains during the day to keep the heat out, and open windows at night to cool down your home. In winter, open the curtains during the day to let the sun warm the room naturally and close curtains at night to keep the heat in.
  • Close doors to avoid heating and cooling rooms that are not in use.
  • Seal up any gaps around doors and windows, to keep the indoor temperature comfortable. Up to 25% of winter heat loss is due to draughts.
  • Save energy in the kitchen: Only boil the kettle with as much water as you need. Use a smaller appliance where possible – the microwave uses less energy than the oven, and the toaster uses less than the grill.

Improve your home’s energy efficiency and save more

To save even more, consider improving your home’s energy efficiency:

  • Upgrade your appliances to a more energy efficient model. You may be eligible for a Solar Victoria rebate to upgrade to a heat pump or other efficient electric hot water system. 
  • The state government’s Victorian Energy Upgrades program provides discounted energy saving products including lighting, heating, insulation, hot water and appliances. Households can save an average of $110 a year on energy bills by upgrading energy-guzzling appliances through this program.
  • Insulate your ceiling. Ceiling insulation can save you up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. For even better thermal comfort, insulate your walls and floors as well. Fully insulating your home can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 50%
  • Improve your window treatments. Windows can be a source of significant heat loss during winter. If you are replacing your windows, consider double glazing.
  • Close-fitting curtains or blinds, combined with pelmets covering the top of the window, can help reduce winter heat loss. There are also less expensive glazing films available that can be installed and removed easily, and can be as effective in reducing winter heat loss as double glazing. External awnings or blinds significantly reduce heat gain during summer.
  • Look at the stars. Choose energy efficient appliances when you need to replace old appliances. Look for a higher star rating to save energy and reduce running costs.

You can find more information on saving energy through the Victorian Energy Saver website or Sustainability Victoria

Visit Green it Yourself for tutorials and information on simple DIY ways to improve energy efficiency and save energy around your home.