Households & Community
- Written by: Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 email@example.com https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Switch to GreenPower
Council is encouraging Penrith residents and businesses to shop around and consider switching to an accredited 100% GreenPower electricity plan.
Switching to a GreenPower electricity plan is your fastest way to go renewable, even if you rent or live in an apartment. It’s the only government accredited and audited green energy program and it’s ideal for those who can't install rooftop solar.
When you opt for a GreenPower electricity plan you'll help get more electricity from wind and sun made in Australia.
Online Carbon Calculator
Council has partnered with Australian company Carbon Neutral to enable residents to measure their carbon footprint with an online carbon calculator. This will allow you to estimate, understand and identify steps you can take to reduce your footprint. Knowing the carbon footprint of an activity is important when it comes to taking measures to reduce it.
The calculator has 10 categories that cover the most common activities associated with emissions. The calculator can give you a good indication based on averages; however, you can use the advanced feature if you want to add more detailed data.
Hire a Home Energy Saver Kit
The Home Energy Saver Kit contains tools that you can use in your home to help you identify what energy your appliances are using and where you can save money on your electricity bill. You can borrow an Energy Saver Kit from Penrith City Library.
The Home Energy Saver Kit includes:
- Plug in Power Meter – to determine how much power appliances are using and measure the running cost.
- Thermometer – To test room and fridge temperatures.
- Digital Infrared Thermometer – to test surface temperatures and find out where heat is gained or lost.
You can also borrow the PowerMate Meter, which enables households to identify and reduce energy costs by showing people how much their appliances cost to run.
Energy Efficiency at Home
Being energy efficient is the most important thing you can do at home to reduce your energy bills and help reduce carbon emissions.
Below are a few things you can do to be more energy efficient at home:
Heating and cooling
In winter, set your air conditioner or heater to 18-20 degrees, and in summer, 24-27 degrees. Every degree difference can add 10% to your heating and cooling bill.
To improve heating efficiency, switch to a reverse cycle air conditioner, as this is more energy efficient than gas or an electric fan heater. Or better yet, use personal heating items like electric blankets or heated throws.
In summer, where possible, use a fan instead of air conditioning or use both together to circulate the cold air. Remember to shut doors to areas you’re not using so you’re only heating/cooling the areas you’re spending time in. Closing your curtains during the day in warmer months will also help to keep your house cooler.
Shut doors to areas and rooms you’re not using, and only heat or cool the rooms that you spend the most time in. Draughts and air leakage can contribute largely to heat loss. Use seals, adhesive tapes and door snakes to draught-proof gaps around external doors and windows. Ensure curtains or blinds seal your window correctly.
Water heating is the second largest household energy use. Here are some ways to reduce the amount of hot water your household uses:
- Take showers instead of baths. Showers should be between 4-6 minutes.
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Install a low-flow shower head.
- Fix dripping taps.
- When it is time to upgrade your hot water system, consider installing a energy efficient model, such as a heat pump.
Switch off lights and electrical appliances when you’re not using them. Stand-by power consumes energy even when your appliances are turned off and can account for up to 10% of your energy bill.
Energy-efficient light globes could save up to 80% off your lighting costs. Switch over to LED light globes as they use less power and last longer. Clothes dryers use lots of energy. Hang clothes outside to dry and harness the sun's energy.
Check out our Empowering Penrith video series. The 7-part video series covers a range of hints and tips on how to reduce your energy consumption at home.
Installing solar on your rooftop is a great way to use renewable energy from the sun and help your household save money in the long run. Penrith is already seeing a strong uptake of solar power, with approximately 31% of dwellings in Penrith having solar systems installed (APVI, 2022).
Switching to solar can be a daunting process. You can learn about the benefits of installing solar, check if you are eligible for a free system and you can read the home and solar battery guide at the Switch to Solar webpage.
You can also read more about solar by checking out Council's Residential Solar Power fact sheet.
Rebates and Additional Information
There are a number of rebates and incentives available for eligible households. Some of these include:
- You can compare electricity and gas offers through the independent government tool, Energy Made Easy. You can find the right energy plan for your household, and tips to help you pay less for your energy.
- There are energy rebates available for low-income households, families, seniors, medical and life support. Check your eligibility via the website.
- Solar for low-income households. If you are an eligible homeowner-occupier, you can swap your Low-Income Household Rebate for a free, fully installed, 3kW solar system. If your home is not suitable for solar, you can receive a free energy assessment.
- Household energy saving upgrades. Incentives to upgrade existing appliances in your home to more energy efficient models. This includes lighting, air conditioners, hot water system and pool pumps.
- Measure your usage. Learn more about technology that helps you measure and monitor energy use.
- Understand your energy bill. For tips on how to read your bill and how it is calculated.
Sustainable House Day
Sustainable House Day is held each September, to enable people to get up close to sustainable homes in their neighbourhoods. It’s a great way to find out how different features work, and get some inspiration and ideas for your own house.