Around 80% of our power in New Zealand is generated by renewable sources, making New Zealand one of the lowest carbon dioxide emitting countries in terms of electricity generation.
This is a great start for a renewable future! However, our electricity demand has grown by an average 1% per annum since 2000. Installing more hydro damns would put pressure on the ecosystem by reducing riverflows downstream. The bulk of the remaining electricity is generated by burning gas which is increasing our CO2 emissions.
In order to avoid these negative consequences, reducing our electricity use makes good sense; plus it leads to savings on your power bill.
12 free ways to save money on your electricity bill
- For power savings, turn your appliances off at the wall when not in use. They still use power on stand-by mode.
- Turn lights off when not in the room. Relighting them doesn't use as much power as leaving them on.
- Make sure you put your extractor fan on in the kitchen before you start cooking to reduce excessive moisture - wet air takes more energy to heat.
- Run only full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher. Use cold washes if you can.
- Reduce the temperature on your hot water cylinder to 50° at the tap (usually 55 to 60° on the hot water cylinder thermostat).
- Close your curtains once dusk falls to keep heat in. Visit the Curtain Bank for free curtains if you don’t have any.
- Use timers on your heated towel rails and don’t use them if not required.
- Reduce the thermostat on your central heating control or heat pump to 20°C.
- Set your fridge temperature to 4°, your freezer to -16°. The less you open the door, the better. Try to place the fridge in the coolest possible position, away from heaters or stoves.
- Line dry clothes as much as possible.
- Place lids on pots and use the appropriate sized pot for your element.
- Keep an eye on your electricity bill and agree to some reduction targets with your family.
Eight energy saving investments at a low cost
We say “Investments" because they involve spending a little now in order to save more later.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy saving new generation LED bulbs (toxin-free and long-lasting).
- Check the air-seals on your fridge door and replace if they're perished and leaking air (you can find out by closing a piece of paper in the fridge door – if it drops, you need new seals). If your fridge is running a lot, have the thermostat checked.
- Seal any gaps in glazing and panelling around window frames and the exterior doors. Make sure you air your house twice a day by opening all windows wide for 10 minutes, then closing them again. Install extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Insulate your hot water cylinder and hot water pipes. Adjust your thermostat again if you find hot water arrives hotter at the tap.
- Line curtains and install pelmets or covers over curtain rails. Consider using plastic film to 'double glaze' windows, especially south facing ones (NRL supplies film kits). or you can check out the Sustainability Trust website.
- Install a low flow shower head if your shower uses more than nine litres a minute. It could save you up to $100 a year with no decrease in comfort.
- Use EECA subsidies to upgrade your ceiling and underfloor insulation.
- If you find yourself using the air-conditioning in summer, consider using deciduous trees in the garden for natural summer shading.
High-cost energy saving measures
For independent information and advice on energy saving measures during major building or renovations, such as:
- Solar water heating
- Double glazing
- Wall insulation
- Passive solar design
Contact our Eco Design Advisor on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04 570 6666.
Check out our Eco Design Advisor Info sheets or attend one of our sustainability workshops or book your own energy reduction workshop.
Download our information sheets on Insulation, Windows and Curtains, Mould, Passive Solar Design and Building Materials.