It's been called "the hip pocket pandemic", with experts predicting a huge hike in Australian home energy bills this winter as more of us work from home. But there are evidence-backed and guaranteed ways to keep those bills down, and House Rules' Jamie Durie is all over them.
Jamie, appearing in a video for the Climate Council, shared five tips he guarantees will make a big impact on energy bills - and you won't have to sacrifice keeping warm.
"I know it's getting chilly out there and our first instinct is to just crank up those heaters, but there are a lot of things you can do before that to insulate your room. And if you do this properly, you could save up to 25% on your energy bill," the celebrity horticulturalist says.
Here are his five main tips to help you start saving now.
1. The temperature you set directly hits your bill
"Every degree higher can add up to 10% to your energy bill," Jamie says. And that's a big impact on your bill if you have your heater or air-conditioner set to 30 degrees, as so many of us do.
He recommends setting the heating to no more than 20 degrees Celsius - and suggests even 18 degrees.
2. Spend wisely on your heating device
"Around 40% of energy consumption goes towards heating and cooling," he says, adding that "modern reverse cycle air conditioners and heat pumps will outperform gas heaters any day".
But the main heating device he warns against for those who want to save big on the electricity bills - and also on their carbon footprint - is the electric blow heaters.
"Although you might pay a little less for them in the beginning, will actually blow out your energy costs in the end. You'll be paying for it," Jamie says.
More money-saving tips after this video.
3. Easy ways to draught-proof your rooms that can save 25% on your bill
So much of a home's heat is lost through windows and gaps under doors.
Jamie recommends you draught-proof the rooms you plan on being in by closing doors and windows - drawing the curtains or blinds at night if you have some -and also getting out the door snakes (or a "rolled towel" is just as good, says Jamie). Having rugs or carpets also helps keep the warmth in.
"If you're feeling super handy, you could grab a bit of 'No More Gaps' and start to plug up all the gaps around the windows," he suggests.
"If you do all this, you could shave up to 25% off your electricity bill," he says.
4. Dress for winter, even when inside
When it comes to putting on more clothes, the former Manpower Australia exotic dancer knows what he's talking about.
He says we can prolong the period before the heater even goes on each day by popping on a jumper., slippers, and warm socks.
5. Check your lighting - these savings are big
Here's a big incentive to do a household lighting audit - it could cut your lighting energy use by a huge 80%.
Jamie says swap out your old light globes for LEDs which use about 80% less energy than halogens and last up to 10 times longer.
Electricity generation is the biggest contributor to climate change in Australia, because the majority of our electricity is made by burning fossil fuels like coal and gas, says Australia's climate change communications organisation, the Climate Council.
Australians are also among the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases on the planet (both in total and per person), which means there is a lot more we could be doing at home to try and reduce our energy consumption. Here is more information about how you can cut your energy use and save more on power bills.
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