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solar power

Homeowners are concerned about improving domestic energy efficiency today. It’s estimated that New Zealanders are saving over $30 million from utilizing energy-efficient electronic appliances. What does it mean to become energy efficient in the 21st century? It means consuming less energy for performing the same amount of work. When you avoid consuming needless amounts of energy, you’re decreasing your annual energy-related expenses while simultaneously saving the environment. However, everyone cannot afford the expensive domestic alterations needed to establish an energy-efficient household. So, we will explain some money-saving methods to enhance your home’s energy efficiency.

Increasing the efficiency of your residence

How does living in an energy-efficient household benefit homeowners? Well, you will reside in an airtight and insulated dwelling with your energy-efficient HVAC equipment, ensuring lower utility bills. Making an energy-efficient residence isn’t merely cost-effective, but it also bolsters the health conditions inside your house. As you contribute to decreasing the influence of climate change, energy-efficient homes also increase their value as property. People often hesitate from pursuing energy efficiency because they are considered unaffordable. Moreover, folks don’t generally have the time and ability to install some high-tech energy-efficient mechanisms. So, here are some simple methods of making your home eco-friendly:

  • Install solar panels

We suggest installing solar panels to diminish your domestic energy expenditures by producing your electricity. Ask Google by running a local search query to identify reliable dealers in solar panels. People living in the north of New Zealand can search for “solar panels Auckland” to find the best deals in the country to decrease utility bills and increase the property value. These companies consider your power usage to get you solar panels that’ll maximize your investment. Many companies also offer lease options so you may utilize green energy and become eco-friendly. Solar is the best form of domestic efficiency you can get!

  • Switch to LEDs

Many people are now switching to LEDs and CFLs to improve the house’s lighting. These bulbs utilize fewer amounts of energy and prevent energy wastage. These light fixtures have proved to be energy-efficient for homeowners worldwide. Moreover, they make your property more valuable. You can also have some skylights installed in the house to allow more direct sunlight into your apartment. That’s how you can have sunlight replace even LEDs.

  • Add tankless water heaters

Don’t forget the value of making the domestic water system more effective. You should install more low-flow fixtures to prevent yourself from using water excessively. Now, how to acquire hot water in an eco-friend fashion? We suggest adding tankless water heaters so you may have hot water when needed. It cancels the need to keep it hot all the time, thereby wasting less energy. Saving water makes a house energy-efficient and lets you contribute to saving the environment.

  • Add some greenery

Homeowners shouldn’t neglect the importance of adding more greenery to the house. It helps them convert their simple abodes into more energy-efficient dwellings. You can now have your first-story or even second-story windows benefit from external shadows coming from shrubbery hanging over them. So, you can find some affordable trees/plants to offer you shade when it’s too bright outside. That’s how a simple “green” maneuver can allow homeowners to live in energy-efficient homes.

  • Change filters regularly

It’s important to have your filters changed regularly since overlooking this crucial aspect may lead to significant health-related problems for your family. These filters may become hazardous if they have remained unchecked for a long time. Experts suggest you should change your air filters every three months to make the domestic HVAC system more efficient. Thus, your HVAC system will work much better after you’ve changed filters regularly while preventing future fire hazards too.

  • Install a smart thermostat

You need to install a smart (programmable) thermostat to effectively achieve the correct temperature inside the house. These automated thermostats remember to save energy when there is nobody at home or when everyone’s sleeping. These devices also eliminate the need to manually adjust the temperature. Programmable thermostats enhance your home’s heating and cooling needs, thereby helping homeowners create an energy-efficient residence.

  • Paint the house

Choose your domestic façade carefully since the color of your house contributes to heating/cooling. Your home stays cooler with a light shade, while darker colors are better for warmth. New Zealand’s climate is mainly temperate, so choose the color of your dwelling’s exterior by considering where you live. People who live in colder areas should consider painting the house a darker color. Conversely, people living in hotter climates should prefer lighter shades. That’s how you can enhance your house’s energy efficiency.

  • Seal your windows

Homeowners often attempt to install new doors and windows. However, we recommend sealing them to save energy and make your house more energy-efficient. You may add weather caulking/stripping or have them sealed around the frame to regulate the temperature inside. When it comes to insulation, you can rely upon wood-clad frames. These frames don’t allow hot/cold air to escape and keep your house’s internal climate regulated. So, seal your doors and windows for energy efficiency.

Conclusion

Renewable electricity generation in the country’s become almost universal today. In 2020, nearly 80% of the electricity produced in New Zealand came from renewable resources. More than 20,000 homes have installed solar panels, thereby becoming energy-efficient households. So, how do you boost your house’s energy efficiency? You can install a programmable thermostat and enhance air-conditioning by inserting some ceiling fans. Also, upgrade the lighting by switching to LED/CFLs. Install tankless water heaters in the house. You can install some new windows or have them sealed instead to increase insulation. So, these simple solutions can allow homeowners to make their homes more eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

The combination of Australia’s dry climate and latitude provides it with high potential for solar energy production. What is more, Australia’s insolation (the power per unit area received from the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation) vastly exceeds the average values in Europe, Russia and most of North America is comparable to desert regions of Africa and South America’s Pacific coast. Let’s take an overview of its development from the pioneering project to future prospects.

The Bos House – small steps

Back in the day, there was much talk about the energy crisis and how the oil was running out, confides Judy Bos, the owner of Australia’s first fully autonomous solar powered home. Unimpressed by the way other houses blasted their resources for heating and cooling, Judy and Michael Bos wanted to design a house that stays naturally cool in summer and warm in winter. Built in 1978, in south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne, the house draws heavily from passive design, smart landscaping, using winds turbines to pump water and collecting rainwater, but the most impressive feature were the series of solar panels that charged a cupboard of lead acid batteries. Michael Harris, who used to run tours of the house in 1980s, said that back then, people were very interested in being self-sufficient and living off the grid.

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Towards brilliant examples

Nestled in a blustery seaside village of Cape Paterson in Southern Gippsland, the 10-Star Home is a stellar example of a carbon-positive, four-bedroom home conceived with a zero-waste philosophy. The first home of its kind in the State of Victoria, this 10-star energy rated home has no mechanical heating and cooling – it uses passive solar design, cross-flow ventilation and heavy-duty insulation. With a 5kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof, the home is reported to be producing twice as much power as it needs. In order to increase the amount of outdoor space in their 200-square-metre Yarraville block, Scott and Leanne Thompson added a green roof to their century-old worker’s cottage. In addition to increasing their garden setting in infamously costly inner-city Melbourne, they’ve insulated their kitchen and living area and minimised stormwater run-off. Dubbed Melbourne Vernacular, this heritage home now uses a range of innovations to cut carbon emissions and reduce the energy use, crowned with a 4kW solar PV system.

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Solar rebates in Australia

Credit refund amounts that the government offers to qualifying homeowners and businesses depends on the size of the solar unit and the property location. However, as with all government-related matters, changes are inevitable, so it’s always good to check resources before you invest in solar energy. The government-issued STCs (Small-Scale Technology Certificates) that solar home owners receive are sold to utility companies and used to offset the cost of the equipment installation. The number of STCs a user receives depends on the solar zone of the property. For example, a 1.5kW system in Melbourne, which is in zone four that receives the least sunshine, would receive 26.6 STCs.   

Projects that unplug Australia

Backed by scaled-up production of photovoltaic components and costs that continue to fall, global solar power is growing steadily, with China, USA, and Japan spearheading the lead with the most PV capacity added in 2016. In Australia, the cost of solar power is now well below the retail power prices in the capital cities, and it keeps falling. Every year, Australia adds more solar power than the combined capacity of SA’s recently closed Northern and Playford coal-powered plants. What is more, solar battery storage for households and businesses is already gaining round in Australia, with more than 6,500 homes using the technology. Large-scale developments such as the Lakeland solar and battery storage show a full potential of combining large-scale solar and energy storage technologies that can make entire communities less dependent on the grid and highly resistant to consumption-peak blackouts.

Despite the overall high potential, Australia’s often been internationally rebuked for not producing more energy from its solar resources. Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that areas with the highest insolation are distant to Australia’s population hubs on the coast. Nonetheless, solar power remains one of Australia’s growing industries with predictions of reaching 20 GW of solar power in the next 20 years, which is the equivalent of the third of the current national power generation capacity.