Finance

How energy-smart is your home?

It has never been more important to factor in energy costs when buying a new home, and as such, seeking out an energy-smart home. Home buyers would be amiss to overlook interest rates on home loans for long term savings. However, it’s also worth considering being pocket-savvy. Start thinking about the long term savings that being energy-smart can provide.

Where possible look to buy a house that already has Solar panels and/or a solar hot water system. If not, try to work Solar into your budget.  Try not to think of the upfront cost but the savings you’ll make for years to come.

Secondly, ask the real estate agent presenting the home about its energy-smart features. Do they struggle to come up with anything? If so,  it is time to either move on or start budgeting for some new purchases.

 

In most states you can claim cash back from the government in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs/STCs) when purchasing Solar.  When you add this in to the saving on your energy bills you’ll notice that the solar will pay for its self within a few years.

 

When looking around a home don’t be afraid to check out the insulation. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for make sure you drill the real estate agent with questions. What type of insulation is in the home, and when it was installed? Insulation will help keep your heating and cooling cost down, and the potential savings don’t end in the roof!

Check the windows and doors. If they have broken seals or cracks in them they will need to be replaced before you move in.  Run your hand over the cracks and along windows, if you can feel air coming in you know that hot/cool air will escape, increasing your energy bills.

Buying the right size appliances for your new home is imperative.  If you buy one that’s too big you’ll end up wasting money on electricity you don’t even need, and if you buy one that’s too small you overwork the appliance which will also cost you more on your energy bills.

 

Here are some guides to help you pick the right size:

 

Air conditioners:

Livingroom Size in Sqm 20 30 40 50 60
kW Needed 3kW 4.5kW 6kW 7.5kW 9kW
Bedroom Size in Sqm 20 30 40 50 60
kW Needed 2kW 3kW 4kW 5kW 6kw

 

Washing Machines & Clothes Dryers:

Drum Size Family Size
5Kg 1-2
5Kg – 8Kg 3-4
8Kg + 4 +

 

Fridge Freezers:

Family size Fridge Freezer Size
1-2 200-400 litres
3-4 400-550 litres
5+ 450 litres +

 

Dishwasher:

Family Size Place settings
1-2 6-8
2-4 9-12
4 + 13 +

 

Next you want to look at how energy-smart the fixed appliances around the home are. Old, shabby looking ovens and dishwashers may need to be replaced. Make sure you remember to add this into your purchasing budget.  When buying new appliances the rule of thumb is usually the more energy efficient the appliance the more expensive it will be.  However don’t be put off by the upfront cost, instead work out the life time cost of the appliance to see its true value.

Let’s assume that the average appliance will last 8 years, you can work out the life time cost with the below calculation:

Upfront cost of the appliance + (annual running cost x 8) = Life time cost

 

For example, the lifetime cost of two washing machines are:

Appliance 1: $1017 + ($43.20 x 8) = $1362.60

Appliance 2: $899 + ($99.63 x 8) = $1696.04
You can see that appliance 1 will cost you an extra $118 to purchase upfront but will save you $333.44 over the life of the appliance making it the best buy.

When you buy a new home you want to spend your money on your new home, not on energy bills. Making some smart decisions to create an energy-smart home can save you for years on your energy bills.

 

 

1About the Author: Julie Moore is Co-founder & Director of Save Energy Save Money, Australia’s first energy and price comparison website. With over 10 years’ experience in the corporate world, Julie ensures Save Energy Save Money provides you with the energy information you need to make informed decisions, helping to contribute to a more sustainable Australia.