This post is sponsored by Origin Energy.
I always feel a little funny about writing an “authoritative” type post – as in a “this is the way you do it!” type post. Because basically, I never really feel I have much authority on anything. Perhaps how NOT to do housework? How to get your house into the biggest mess possible?
But after I was invited to a day at Origin Energy to learn about the changes they are making I did some research. Unbeknownst to me it seems our family has a bit of authority on how to save energy.
It may not seem like we should with the amount of electrical goods we have, the fact that we leave the lounge room light on all day (as it’s dark in there), or how we are not over vigilant about turning lights and power switches off. Which was why I was so surprised to discover what I did!
One great thing about the Origin Energy bills is that they show your average daily usage and then a handy table comparing it to other average usages in your area. You can also go to Energy Made Easy, a government site, to find out the average usage in your area.
For the period of July – October we had an average daily usage of 5.78kWh. According to Energy Made Easy, a “typical” 4 person household in our suburb uses an average of 22.6kWh in July/August and 21.5kWh in September/October. Big difference!
Even more surprisingly, Energy Made Easy says that a “typical” single person household uses 12.9kWh in July/August and 12.3kWh in September/October. Yes, a family of 4, with two young children, somehow managed to use much less energy, per day, than a single person household in the same area!
So, how do we do it? To be honest I really had to think about it, as we don’t do much consciously. Yes, we tend to favour “energy efficient” products but in the end we normally have to go with what comes out cheaper.
Here are the few things I could think of that we do:
1. Hang clothes outside to dry
We don’t have a dryer. We’ve had opportunities to have one in the past but I’ve always passed it up. Mainly because I know I’ll get lazy and use it when it’s not really needed. We have a large clothesline in the backyard, we have 2 clothes racks and we can also hang clothes on coat hangers around the dining room when we get desperate. Yes, it would be nice to be able to quickly dry things (especially in bad weather when clothes can take days to dry inside) and it would be awesome to have fluffy towels, but for the most part we don’t miss it.
2. Have a broken air conditioner
I never had air conditioning growing up and in the last house we lived in the air conditioning didn’t work very well. So when we moved in to this house and it was specified that there was an air conditioner I was pretty excited. Especially as we had a young daughter and I was pregnant with another.
We didn’t use it for a while (maybe even close to a year) even when the weather went crazy and we had some 40+ degree days. We found other ways to keep cool – closing all the windows & curtains before the sun came up, spending the day doing not much at all and trying not to use the oven.
But one day I had had enough and decided to put it on for just a little bit to cool the house down, only to discover that it wasn’t working. The landlord sent an electrician to look at it who checked the unit on top of the house and it would probably cost a fair amount to fix. The landlord didn’t do anything further and we left it as well. We’ve managed without it for the past few years and it would only really be a luxury that we probably couldn’t afford.
3. Vacuum only when and where necessary or just not at all!
Remember what I said about not being the best person to write authoritative posts? This is probably a good example of why!
For a long time, mainly from when I was pregnant with Chloe, I barely ever vacuumed. Our vacuum can be hard to push around and was hurting my back so I got Mr Monkey to do it on his days off or Mum did it when she visited.
Once Chloe was born and then started moving around and eating and dropping food everywhere I had to start vacuuming more.
Nowadays I vacuum every night but just a quick vacuum under the dining table and perhaps the lounge room if we’ve tidied up. In the end, downstairs normally gets a good vacuum once a week and a quick go-over once a day.
I can’t help but think this saves us energy compared to doing a full thorough vacuum every day or second day.
4. Don’t have a dishwasher and be really slack at doing the dishes.
We don’t have a dishwasher as we are renting and it is one thing that I really wish we had. I loathe washing dishes. And yes, I never wash the dishes as often as I should. So I’m unintentionally saving energy there!
5. Warm yourself before the house.
I always put on a warm jumper when it starts to get cold and we have blankets in the lounge room to pull over us in the evening. I even have a heated blanket to use in the lounge room (gifted to me by Origin) which is simply awesome and we put extra blankets on the bed in winter.
The only time we used the heater over winter was just after the girls had gotten out of the bath and we’re getting dressed in the lounge room. But it went off as soon as they were dressed.
As much as I love to sit in front of a warm toasty heater all evening I know it’s not energy efficient and it’s also dangerous with the young girls being around.
An added bonus big tip – be sure to check your current electricity plan and see if there are any changes that can be made, or discounts you can access.
When I was first contacted by Origin to work with them earlier in the year I took one of our bills to them (we were with another provider) to see if we could get a better deal, and hear more about the changes they were making.
In the end we were able to save on our bill, with discounts for paying on time and by direct debit. We’re also on 100% green power (100% of our energy use is offset) compared to 10% with our last supplier, and we are still paying less.
On top of the money we’re saving now, I was pleased to hear about the changes that they’re committed to making to their customer service. They’ve put in a heap of strategies already (check out We’re Changing for more info) and we were assured they have plenty more in the pipeline.
Yes, I am being paid for this post but I am always honest and I have to say that the customer service we have received since changing to Origin has been fantastic. I also love that you can view your bills online and a handy section where you can look at what’s using most of the energy in your house.
So tell me, what’s your biggest energy saving tip?
Disclaimer: This is a paid post. Origin also paid for my babysitting while I attended their office. However, as always, all opinions are my own.