While people are often very active in trying to save energy around the home, the outdoor area can often be overlooked. In fact, it is actually very easy to make changes outdoors that will help keep your household energy usage under control.
With autumn now on our doorstep and winter fast approaching, there are some small but efficient changes people can be making outdoors and in their garden that can help minimise energy consumption during the cooler months ahead.
One item especially overlooked for energy cost savings is the swimming pool.
What many people don't realise is that in a household with a swimming pool, the pump-unit can be the largest single user of electricity, perhaps more than the electric water heater. Pool filters can be responsible for about 16 per cent of all electricity consumed by a household.
The cooler months when pools are not used as much are the ideal time to cut back on the amount of hours the filtration system runs for.
Pool Maintenance Tips
- Install a timer to turn the pool filter on and off automatically
- Cut the time you use the pool pump from eight hours to four hours a day during the Autumn months and you could potentially reduce your energy bill by up to $125
- Install a pool cover. Up to 200 litres of water per day can be lost through evaporation and by using a cover you can reduce water waste by up to 80 per cent
- Replace your pool lights with energy efficient products. By swapping a permaflood globe with LED lights, you can save up to 88 per cent in pool lighting costs over a year.
There are also a few simple and cost effective changes that can be made to your outdoor lighting systems to make them more energy efficient.
Outdoor and Garden Lighting Tips
- Check light levels on motion sensors so that they only activate after sunset
- Consider the winter months ahead and instead of leaving an outdoor light on when you leave home in the morning, adjust the timers on your path lights to light up just before you're due home in the evening
- When choosing sensor spotlights consider installing LED low voltage units. Benefits include extremely low energy consumption and longer expected life compared to halogen low voltage or incandescent units. Replacing old sensor spot halogen bulbs with LED light could save you up to a whopping 96% in energy consumption each year
- Clean exposed outdoor bulbs every three months to remove any dirt and pollen. If bulbs are dirty the light efficiency dramatically decreases.
I also recommend that households watch their use of outdoor tools. Autumn is a great time to get out into the garden but a full day of maintenance – including using the electric mower, edger, hedger, blower, vacuum, shredder, high water pressure cleaner and a garage vacuum – can cost you up to $10 which can add up if you’re doing this on a regular basis.
Before the colder weather drives you indoors, make sure you inspect all outdoor electrical installations to ensure they are in a safe, working order and remove any plant growth or obstructions that may impede airflow, clear line of sight or solar generation.