6 tips to save energy at home for a sustainable lifestyle

As the festive season rolls in, it’s time for family friends and festivities. The Christmas lights are put on, the home lights stay on a bit longer and the oven is put to more use than usual. While these are the small things that make this time of year extra special, please keep in mind the bigger picture – doing our part to create a sustainable future.

Climate change and its impact on everyday life continues to be high on the global agenda. However, we can all do our bit to save energy at home and adopt a sustainable lifestyle. Here are 6 tips from our sustainability ambassador, leading environmental scientist and award-winning conservationist Tim Jarvis AM:

Tip 1:  Use less energy

There’s various ways to save on energy usage: turn off the lights when you’re not using it, use LED bulbs, better insulate your home and set your air conditioner at between 20-22C. When shopping for appliances, look for the “Energy Star” rating – it will tell you which are the most efficient.

An interesting fact, did you know that fridges use the most power in your home, followed by things left on standby?

Tip 2:  Avoid wasting water

Cutting down on water usage not only helps our rivers, but reduces carbon pollution, too. That’s because it takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat your water. Take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving, and switch to water efficient fixtures and appliances.

Tip 3:  Travel thoughtfully

Around a quarter of all energy used in Australia is from driving cars. Not only does it increase traffic congestion, carbon monoxide emissions are largely responsible for rise in temperatures around the world. Choose to take the public transport, cycle, walk or car-pool to work. Cycling or walking also makes you fitter. When you do fly for work or holidays, buy carbon offsets (they only add 1-2% to the cost).

Tip 4:  Change your dietary habits

Research shows that reducing your meat intake can have a positive impact on the environment. A vegetarian diet will save a tonne of CO2 emissions a year compared to an omnivorous diet, as cattle take up a lot of land and produce a lot of methane. Also, you could buy locally produced food and drinks that haven’t travelled great distances to reach your plate. This saves on the environmental issues from transportation. Most importantly, as much as possible, try not to waste food. Australians throw about 40% of the food we buy into landfill.

Tip 5:  Invest in environmentally conscious initiatives

Invest your money or super in an ethical fund that doesn’t invest in environmentally damaging activities. They are some of the top performing funds these days as they invest in growth areas like technology and renewables – a trend that is set to continue. Now you can earn a better return on your investment while saving the planet. A win-win. Australia has the 5th largest super pot in the world at over $2 trillion which is a lot of purchasing power.

Tip 6:  Waste not, want not

Lowering our consumption means less power and raw materials used to produce new things. It takes 2,600 litres of water to make a t-shirt (and a lot of power) and Australians throw away 6 tonnes of clothes every 10 minutes to landfill! Plus, rubbish in landfill produces methane emissions and methane is a potent greenhouse gas, 24 times worse than CO2. If you use plastic, make sure you reuse the items before choosing to dump them. That way, plastic waste can be reduced a great deal and our planet can breathe a bit more freely for a while longer.

To find out more about how PICA Group is driving sustainability, click here.