February 07, 2017

Energy Usage Audit. Gas-Elec-Fire-Wood-Solar

Our modern day lifestyles have been created in such away, that, without power, it's hard to do anything. If we continue to use it at the rate we have been, we will not have any left for future generations. The less we have in the ground, the more the energy companies will charge us. There is a reason its getting more expensive to buy from the grid- it's becoming rare.
A simple energy audit can save you money, not to mention the resources we have left.

Saving energy is more that just switching your lights over to energy efficient bulbs, although that is a start. To really save some energy, you are required to change the way you think about it.

At most properties that we do audits on, the common things that people think use the most energy are the things that are on the most- fridges, lights and computers. When in fact, most of the things that burn the most energy in our homes are things like kettles, coffee machines, microwaves and washing machines.

All of these applications require huge amounts of energy to start the motors or to run the item. A kettle used 3 times day can use more power than a 400 litre fridge!

When it comes to using energy, the most efficient way of using it is burning it at the source, and using gas, solar or wood wherever possible. The reason for burning the fuels on site is that it will save a loss of energy. For example, in Australia, coal that is processed into electricity has normally travelled quite a distance before it is processed into the grid (transport energy). Only about 30% of this energy makes it into our homes as energy, the rest is lost. I have heard (and seen) statistics that say up to 90% of it is lost!

Regardless of the stats, I know that when energy travels through lines for a distance you have energy drop- ask an auto electrician, when you put a plug at the back of your car its recommended to use larger cables to assist with the energy loss. The way energy works in your car is no different to the grid most of us get power from.

Unfortunately, most of our homes were built by builders who were just doing their job, making the house look good for the client, or complying with some crazy laws and standards that governments and councils had in place. This has resulted in dwellings being built that require heating and cooling- by design you are required to buy energy to heat and cool your house.

Whilst travelling the outback of Australia, I had the opportunity to see some amazing houses that do not require any energy to stay at a constant temperature of 19-23 degrees all day and night. One of the best places to get a chance to experience this is in Coober Pedy, Australia. Fun fact: Some of Star Wars was filmed there!

Most of the dwellings in Coober Pedy are all underground. They built dwellings that suited the environment- how nice would it be never to turn on an air-con or  heater ever again?

It just shows that with some forward thinking you can build dwellings that are not energy hungry like most of our urban property, built for profits for the builders.