How to make your home energy efficient as a renter
Up to 50 per cent of your household’s energy use goes towards heating and cooling, according to the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW). As you can imagine, decreasing your heating/cooling costs will dramatically reduce your energy bill.
If you use climate control, like a split-system, set the temperature between 18°C and 20°C in winter. Every degree hotter may increase energy use by 5 to 10 per cent. Close all windows and shut doors to rooms that you aren’t using for maximum efficiency.
Make sure to close your blinds or curtains before it gets dark, which will trap a layer of air next to the window to improve insulation. Keep them open during the day to let the sun soak inside.
One of the easiest ways to lose heat in the home is from the gaps under your doors or around your windows. Davies recommends working out where you’re losing heat from your house by using your hands: “walk around, place your hand near your doors and windows, and feel whether there is airflow sucking warm air out or letting cold air in.” Use a draught stopper (‘door snake’) to prevent air leakage under doors, and draught-seal any gaps or cracks around doors, windows, skirting boards, skylights and cornices – but make sure to check with your landlord or property manager before fitting any weather seals or covers.
You can also ‘zone off’ parts of your house to mitigate warm air loss in open plan homes or down hallways. If your living room leads to hallways or other open doorways, grab a telescopic curtain pole from a hardware shop and close off the space with curtains that don’t need to be permanently fixed in place. “Restricting airflow like this totally changes the ambient temperature in your now-smaller space,” Davies says.
During the night, try sleeping with an extra blanket, hot water bottle, heat pack or even an electric blanket rather than the air con or space heater. Electric blankets only cost about four cents an hour, while space heaters cost around 15 cents an hour. Here are some other ways to keep warm without switching on the heater.