Install a home automation system for smart use of your home appliances and equipment.
Many appliances, lights and other household equipment on the market can now be controlled remotely; allowing you to turn items on or off, adjust operational settings at predetermined times, or adjust equipment in response to changes in temperature or light. These automation systems can improve the energy efﬁciency of your home, but only if they are designed for this purpose (since they use energy themselves). A well-designed automation system can improve passive solar heating and passive cooling through the control of blinds, awnings or windows, or control heaters and air conditioners so they are used only when needed. The home automation system can monitor the total energy use of the house or even individual circuits or appliances.
Photo courtesy Tesla
Select solar panels with battery storage to take advantage of surplus energy.
Solar panels installed on the roof of a suburban house can capture abundant energy and greatly supplement your electricity needs. The solar industry has grown over the last decade and Oliver Steele says nowadays solar panels are more affordable and offer good payback. ‘Any well-designed solar system should be an investment that will pay itself off in the ﬁrst quarter of lifetime,’ he says. Another option that homeowners can consider is energy storage batteries. These batteries enable you to store surplus solar power for your future energy needs, especially for usage at night when the sun isn’t shining. Comparatively these batteries are new technology however more options and packages are being made available in Australian to suit a range of budgets.
Photo courtesy Knauf
Consider products that incorporate phase change materials when building your home for better thermal performance.
Increasingly, phase change materials (PCMs) are being viewed as an effective way to reduce energy consumption in buildings. As the name suggests, PCMs are materials that alter from one phase to another at a certain temperature. Water is a good example, since at low temperatures it turns to ice, but when warmed up turns to a liquid or gas (steam). A great amount of energy is generated in these phase changes, mostly heat, and building materials that contain PCMs can store and release that heat, affecting and stabilising indoor temperatures. PCMs can be incorporated into concrete ﬂooring, plasterboard ceilings, even glass, and make a signiﬁcant difference in the heating and cooling of a structure. Some companies offer products that can be installed in ceiling and wall panels which are made from waste, further strengthening their eco-credentials.