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Tag Archives | electricity

How to get off the grid with solar energy


It’s now more achievable than ever to go “off the grid”. In the sustainability world, going off-grid means becoming self-sufficient power-wise, independent of the mainstream energy system, and severing your ties with fossil fuel electricity, in some cases making money along the way by feeding power back into the gridEven if you don’t own your own home, more options for home solar are now available, thanks largely to recent developments in battery technology.

Michael Mobbs of Sustainable House owns what is arguably Australia’s first truly sustainable home. In this post, he takes you through his solar set-up, reviews the performance of his gear, and makes recommendations.

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Five energy-saving tips to shrink your carbon footprint this winter

cold otter

Now that we’re well and truly into the cooler months, watching electricity usage is crucial to stave off the end-of-winter power bill shock.  Here are Otter’s top five energy-saving tips you may not have heard before to cut down your electricity usage, lower your carbon footprint and keep you toasty for less.

  1. Bubble wrap window insulation

This involves cutting out large pieces of regular bubble wrap and sticking them to your windows. You don’t need adhesives – just spray the window with water and gently press on the bubble wrap. This can cut heat loss from the window by up to 50%.

  1. Leave bath water until it cools

Instead of immediately draining your hot washing-up or bath water, let it sit and cool down. It will provide some passive heat for the room, and may take the edge off enough to prevent or delay the urge to turn on a heater.

  1. Personal heating, not space heating

Instead of heating your whole house, consider investing in a few inexpensive appliances to keep your body warm. A heated keyboard, heated mouse, strategic heating lamps, and timed electric blanket use far less power than traditional space heaters.

  1. Outsource to your kids

Tell your kids that if your electricity usage decreases compared to the same bill period last year, you’ll give them the savings in cash. Watch as lights and heaters are switched off much more frequently, and hot shower times go down too.

  1. Limit bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans

Kept running, your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans can effectively suck out all of the incidental heat from using your stove or taking a hot shower. Keep them on only long enough to de-fog your bathroom or get rid of lingering cooking smells.

Photo credit: Finally! Susan E Adams (CC)
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