Energy Use & Climate Pollution
Even if your home generates solar power through rooftop panels (a no brainer if you live in the NT), if your energy use is too high then you are likely to be generating climate pollution as well as unnecessary power bills.
Climate pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as gas, diesel, petrol or coal.
When these fossil fuels are burned, they release greenhouse gases, such as carbon monoxide, methane, propane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, which accumulate in the Earth’s atmosphere. These gases have a great capacity to absorb heat so over time they contribute to the warming of the planet.
Global warming is further exacerbated by land clearing, which removes plants and soil which absorb greenhouse gases, hot bushfires and agriculture, which uses large amounts of fertilisers and intensifies land use.
The Earth has so far warmed nearly 1 degree Celcius on average since the industrial revolution. If we continue to burn fossil fuels then we are well on track to experience a 2 degree Celcius rise in average temperatures by 2050. This is considered by the world’s largest independent scientific body (the International Panel on Climate Change) to be a dangerous tipping point, causing more extreme weather, heatwaves and natural disasters as well as a massive global sea level rise and ocean acidification.
We can all take steps to reduce our climate pollution by reducing our energy use, as well as car use, meat intake and living more sustainably. Below are our tips for being more energy efficient in your home, from the easy wins to the invest-some-cash bigger changes!
Designing your home or business so that it complements the Territory’s hot climate through passive cooling is the first step to maximising your energy efficiency.
Passive cooling includes making the most of natural breezes, shading out the hot sun and using materials which reflect heat rather than absorbing it. It also includes planning residential and urban spaces to make the most of natural breezes, create green corridors and reduce the ‘heat island’ effect.
Check out Your Home a free online resource for plenty more reading on exactly how to design a home that incorporates passive cooling (and other passive design principles in the Top End!)
Choosing appliances with a high Energy Star Rating will reduce your energy use over the long term.
The Energy Rating Label is a government initiative allows you to compare the energy efficiency and running costs of appliances before you buy – to reduce your electricity bill. Visit their website for more information on:
- How to read an Energy Star Rating Label
- What does energy consumption mean?
- A product guide through all the different appliances (fridges, dishwashers etc)
- & so, so much more!!
And another thing? Don’t buy any appliances which you don’t really need. Think if you can borrow a friend or neighbours before investing!
You thought you could just install an air-conditioner and leave it to run? Is this humid climate? Wrong!
Regularly cleaning and servicing your air-conditioner, ceiling fans, screens as well as ensuring your fridge seals properly will significantly reduce your energy use.
With its mostly clear skies, the NT is a hotspot for solar energy. Rooftop solar using photovoltaic (PV) panels is a relatively cheap and easy way to reduce your energy bill and your climate impact.
It involves installing solar panels on your rooftop which turn the sun’s natural energy into electricity through an inverter. When you’re not using the electricity, it feeds into the grid. Or if you connect the inverter to a battery the energy can be saved here until you need it.
The NT has the highest Feed-in-Tariff in Australia, so that the electricity you put back into the grid is worth about the same unit value (25.67c for householders) as it is when you use it. This means you can recover the cost of installing solar panels within 5 years, depending on your energy usage.
There are a number of other incentives to help you offset the cost of installing rooftop solar.
Installing a solar hot water system is also a cheap and easy way to make the most of the free solar energy we receive in the NT and reduce your energy bills.
For further information, see Power and Water’s website.
Depending on where you live in the NT, your electricity may come from the burning of natural gas, the burning of diesel or solar generation.
Solar electricity from solar panels on your rooftop generates zero climate pollution so is therefore the most sustainable energy source.
Electricity is generated from natural gas at the Channel Island power station (310MW) and Weddell Power Station (129MW).
Electricity is generated by the Uterne Solar Power Station (4.1MW), from natural gas at the Ron Goodwin Power Station (45MW) and from natural gas and diesel at the Owen Springs Power Station (36MW).
Electricity is generated from a mix of natural gas and diesel at the Tennant Creek Power Station (17MW).
Electricity is generated by a mix of diesel and solar PV, depending where you live.
For more information, see Territory Generation
As you can see from the NT’s energy generation mix, we have a long way to go in fully embracing the potential for renewable energy in the NT and getting away from the polluting fossil fuel economy.
If you would like join a group of friendly, passionate people taking action to stop climate change, why not follow them on Facebook or go to their next meeting. They LOVE seeing new faces!
How you live in your home makes a huge difference to the power bill each quarter. Even if you had an amazingly sustainable design and only 5 Star Rated appliances, if you have ‘energy hungry behaviours’ your power bill won’t be as low as it could.
Small and FREE wins can be made in any home by adjusting your behvaiour. These include:
- turning off the lights when you leave the room
- turning off electrical appliances at the wall
- using the cold water setting on your washing machine
- waiting for a full load before turning on the dishwasher
- using a fan before an air-conditioner
- setting your air-conditioner to 24 – 28 degrees
- making sure all doors and windows are closed when using air-conditioning
- setting your pool pump timer so it runs between 6pm and 6am