When Harrisons Energy Solutions says we want to be able to provide warm, healthy homes for all New Zealanders, it’s based on the innovations and technology surrounding key areas such as insulation, solar power, battery storage, ventilation and heating.
All those aspects of a home can be approached in a way that benefits a household’s lifestyle and ensures those monthly power bills aren’t too much of a hit to a family’s bank balance.
In order for all these to be effective, however, it’s important to know your home’s baseline energy consumption and understand the key areas where savings can be made.
For example, if you install solar panels and wonder whether you require battery storage then it’s important to know which appliances and power-hungry systems operate during the daylight hours when they can be fed by clean, free power from the sun.
An inventory of where your power is used will give you a greater understanding of where you can make the biggest savings. For example, if you’re watching the power bills soar over the colder months because you’re using an electric heater to warm a draughty room, then maybe investing in insulation should be your first concern.
Equally, if you run a business from home and seem to be perpetually washing and drying the kids’ school and sports gear, then investing in a domestic solar system will give you access to power that won’t hit your electricity bill just when you need it.
To calculate the cost of running your home’s power supply you’ll need to know:
1.How much your power company charges you. Whether you are on a low user plan (typically 1-2 people households) or a standard plan.
2.The price per kWh (kilo-watt hour) you’re paying (this varies by region and power company).
These days, homes are filled with power-hungry appliances ready on standby whenever we need them. Knowing which ones are the hungriest gives you the power (excuse the pun!) to change things.
1.Heating: About a third of the household power bill is consumed by heating the space around you. And while a heat pump might cost you between 30c and 40c an hour to run, oil column heaters or two-bar electric version can cost around 60c an hour. Run them without a thermostat, six or seven hours a day during the colder months and that can add up to hundreds of dollars.
2.Water heating: A bath can cost you upwards of $1.50 – approx. double a 10-minute shower. Your hot water cylinder is a major drain on your energy bill, not to mention the huge costs of running spa pools or heating swimming pools.
3.Fridges and freezers: About 10c in every dollar on your power bill goes to keep food chilled or frozen – the cost-per-hour ranges between around 30c for a new energy efficient model and 50c for an old model. Multiply by 24 hours, 7 days a week and it quickly adds up.
4.Lighting: Another power usage with widely varying results. A low-Watt LED light bulb can cost as little as 1c for six hours, while a 150W bulb may cost anything upwards of 40c for the same time period.
5.Washing and drying: The laundry is a costly drain on your power bill with a hot wash costing up to $2 a load and the drier between 50c and $1 an hour.
6.Dishwasher: Although a sink of hot water will cost you between 10c and 20c, running a load in a dishwasher can cost up to $1 depending on the age and eco-credentials of your appliance.
7.Ovens, stoves and ranges: From the microwave at around 30c an hour to $1.50 for a three-hour slow roast in an older model oven (not forgetting the 10c per hour for the rangehood) cooking is another area where you can find energy efficiencies.
8.Electric blankets: An hour to warm up and an eight-hour sleep could cost you around $5 a week for a double bed.
10.TV and entertainment: Check how much power your appliances draw even while they’re on standby. Some of the worst culprits are the TVs, DVDs, games consoles, laptops and desktop computers. Remember, 10c an hour doesn’t seem like much but when that’s 24-hours each day, it soon adds up.
Keen to have one of our experts carry out a free, in-home energy audit and consultationto see how you could save money on your power bills? Contact us on 0800 00 33 54 or check out your nearest Harrisons Energy franchisee via the websiteand we’ll arrange to visit at a time to suit you.