We’ve all been there. You know, when the conversation goes from who’s in the latest celeb love triangle and the craziest food combinations; to a more serious take on the world and how society is behaving today.
From climate change to the importance of working from home to increase productivity, the last few months has got us thinking.
Studies are showing we are becoming more aware. Of our wellbeing, of the world around us and the future we are building for ourselves and our families.
But what if you still don’t know your carbon offset from your renewable or your clean from your green? And don’t get us started on the comparison between compact fluorescent or LED lightbulbs.
We’ve done the research and have five easy ways to give you the low down on sounding like a green expert in front of your friends and family and saving money in the process. You’ll be putting the ‘ability’ back into sustainability in no time.
1. Talk confidently about Renewable Energy
Like a makeover of your wardrobe, or a renovation of your home, sometimes we just need to take a good look at the way we do things (and what we wear!)
The last thirty years has given us the opportunity to do a bit of a reno on the way we source our energy. The majority of our energy is sourced from fossil fuels like coal and gas. And fossil fuels, when burned to make electricity, emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in the environment and contribute to global warming.
Renewable energy, coming from the sun, wind and water doesn’t emit any of those greenhouse gas nasties.
There’s still a long way to go in Australia when it comes to the 100% supply of energy from renewable sources, as our National Electricity Market (NEM) (aka “the grid”) is a pool of electricity from a range of sources, which includes coal.
There are still ways you can support the transition from the old ways to the new, like looking for an energy plan that reduce your impact on the environment. For example, if you chose the Nectr GreenPower plan, you will be displacing 100% of your household’s electricity usage with certified renewable energy that have zero net greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Share your Carbon Offset stories
You might have heard about the term ‘carbon offset’ when you hear about airlines offsetting the carbon their planes produce when they fly. It’s a similar approach for your energy.
Energy plans that offer 100% Carbon Offset mean that your energy provider is buying carbon offset certificates/units from local and overseas projects that include tree planting, land management and renewable power developments to offset carbon emissions generated from your energy usage. The Nectr Friends Clean plan is 100% Carbon Offset and available to households in the Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy and Energex distribution areas.
3. Put the spark back into your energy use
OK, most of us don’t look at our energy bills, let alone know where our energy comes from.
When looking at an energy plan for your home, it’s always best to speak to your retailer, to get a clear understanding of how they source and support a sustainable energy future.
Do their plans offer a minimal or increased consideration for the environment? If not, consider switching. It’s easier than you think.
Depending on where you live in NSW and SE QLD, Nectr offers electricity plans that are Clean (100% carbon offset) or GreenPower (offset using 100% renewable energy), and they are competitively priced against standard plans.
They are new to the market, and the team has made a commitment since day one to help their customers join a smart, more sustainable energy movement.
Their owner, Hanwha Energy Australia has co-invested in two operating solar farms, with two more on the horizon. They are also part of the broader Hanwha Energy group – a global leader in energy solutions that specialises in renewable energy and battery storage technologies. To find out more about Nectr’s plans, simply head to their Plans and Fees page.
4. Take little steps to reduce your environmental footprint
When it comes to the environment, the last thing you want to be is a big foot. And as about 20% of the country’s emissions comes from our homes, it’s a good place to start.
Energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances are the way to go in reducing your footprint, right from inside your very own home. The energy star rating is the best way to make a decision about how much energy you are comfortable with using.
For a dishwasher or clothes washer opt for a product with a 3.5 star rating or higher, and for a dryer you want at least 2 stars. Over its lifetime an energy efficient washing machine can save you up to 25% of its running costs. Hot water systems should be 5 star, as they can save you 15% in running costs.
Also make sure you look for energy efficient settings on your appliances, like cold washes or half-load settings.
Transitioning to new lightbulbs from standard incandescent lamps or even halogen bulbs to fluorescent or LED will save you energy and money. LED bulbs use around 85% less watts than a traditional old-style incandescent bulb. You can save around $100 a year just by replacing 18 halogen lightbulbs to LED ones.
5. Save the future… and money
No matter whether you choose to change your appliances or your energy provider, gone are the days where choosing the ‘greener’ option means you are paying more. There are affordable ways to source your energy and use it. Simply look into what you are currently paying for and make a change.
You can do it. Keep educating yourself, taking the first few steps in understanding more about your personal and home’s impact on the environment.
If you’ve got this far, you’ve already got a few tips under your belt, so well done. The next time you’re meeting up with mates you’ll have plenty of smart, sustainable topics to talk about.