Sydney councils team up to reduce household energy bills

Sydney’s eastern suburbs councils – Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick – have teamed up on a program designed to cut household energy bills by at least 10 per cent.

The 10% Challenge provides access to a free home energy assessment where an energy efficiency expert will help identify ways to cut home energy use. The first 600 households to register will also get a free energy saving power board.

The program is the brainchild of charity group DoSomething, and has the backing of the councils.

“It’s free of charge, so if you want to reduce your energy bills, it really makes financial sense to get involved,” DoSomething founder Jon Dee said.

“The energy expert can walk around your home and help you to identify where you can save money. Implementing the written recommendations of this home energy assessment can make a really big dent in the size of your energy bills.

“The aim of this is to make it far easier for people to cut their energy bills.”

Mr Dee, who is the author of energy saving guidebook Energy Cut, recommended six tips to cut energy use in the household:

  • Thermostats: In winter your thermostat should be set between 18-20°C. Once you go above 20°C, every degree you raise your thermostat by can increase your heating bills by up to 10 per cent. If your household sets the heating thermostat at 25°C, your winter heating bills can be 50 per cent higher than they need to be.
  • LED lighting: Switching to LED lighting can reduce your lighting costs by up to 80 per cent. LED lighting also lasts for up to 50,000 hours, so you don’t have to change lights as often.
  • Switch it off: Turn unused equipment off at the plug. Leaving equipment on standby can be responsible for up to 10 per cent of your electricity bills.
  • Hot water: Installing heat pump or solar hot water systems can reduce your water heating bills by 60-70 per cent.
  • Fridges: Turning off an unused “beer fridge” can save up to $220 a year. Many retirees have old fridges that are over 15 years old. These can use up to 40 per cent more energy than modern fridges – where possible old fridges need to be replaced.
  • Solar power: Solar PV panels now generate electricity on more than 1.41 million Australian rooftops. Solar is a great way to future-proof your household against rising energy prices.


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