How to save money on electricity this summer

16 December 2022
6 simple tips to reduce your energy usage
The cost of living has gone up, and along with it, so has electricity. Glenn Platt, a Professor of Practice in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director at Emergent Group, shares his summer energy-saving tips.

A door snake (or daschund) can be an inexpensive solution for keeping cool air inside during summer. Image: Catherine Smith, University of Sydney.

1. Adopt a (door) snake 

“Australian houses don’t have the best reputation when it comes to keeping cool in summer or warm in winter," said Professor Platt, who joined the School of Electrical and Information Engineering earlier this year as a Professor of Practice. 

"Many houses and apartments leak a lot of air – you can spend a fortune making houses comfortable but then if you have a gap then that cool or warm air escapes. One simple solution is a draught snake, which can help keep that cool air inside.”

2. Insert gap sealant around window edges, again to seal leaks

"Gap sealant around window frames is another simple, cost-effective solution to stop that cool air from escaping."

"It can also help with noise. If you don't want to modify your windows, you can get thin foam sealant tubing to stick in the gaps.”

3. Keep curtains drawn on hot days and air the house when the ‘Southerly buster’ arrives

Drawn curtains can help keep a house cool. 

“Curtains, particularly ones that are thick or block-out, can help keep that heat out. Open the house up when a cool wind comes,"  said Professor Platt, who is also a Director at engineering consultancy Emergent Group.

4. Use a simple energy reader

 “This will tell you which devices are using the most energy. As a rule of thumb, the devices and appliances that use lots of energy are the ones that get hot and cold – hot water, heating and cooling and then lights.”

5. Consider insulation

“If you live in a house, consider getting insulation, which helps keep a house cool in summer and warm in winter. Insulation can also help block out noise and comes in several gradings.”

A Sydney house with a verandah. Image: Luisa Low

6. Window overhangs, awnings and tree cover can help cool homes

 “The archetypal Federation home had generous window overhangs and a verandah to keep the interior cool, however many new homes are not being built with window overhangs. Awnings, particularly on Northern and Western-facing windows can help keep houses cool. Tree cover is also a great way to keep a house cool – if you are worried about a tree providing too much shade in winter, consider a deciduous variety.”

Low Luisa

Media and PR Adviser (Engineering & IT)

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