Saving energy and lowering your energy bills
Saving energy at home is a great way to save money and take action on the climate emergency.
Darebin households generate about 38% of Darebin's total carbon emissions from gas and electricity use. Many households are also struggling to pay their power bills. By using less energy in our homes, we can reduce our emissions and reduce our power bills.
Find the best energy deal – get another $250
One of the easiest ways to reduce energy costs is to compare energy offers. Victoria's Power Saving Bonus is a $250 payment from the Victorian government to help households manage their rising energy bills, and to encourage Victorian households to make sure they're getting the best energy deal. All households are eligible.
Big news: The Victorian government announced a new round of this bonus payment – meaning households are eligible for another $250 from March 24, 2023.
Apply directly on the Victorian Energy Compare website.
For local help with applying for the bonus, there are a number of locations that can offer in-person help (please bring a copy of your electricity bill):
- Darebin libraries will help you through the application process.
- Most Darebin neighbourhood houses are also helping residents apply for the Power Saving Bonus, including Jika Jika Community Centre, Reservoir Neighbourhood House, SPAN Community House and The Bridge.
- East Preston or Reservoir East residents can get energy bill assistance or information about ways to save energy at home on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 10am to 4pm. Call EPCC to arrange an appointment on 03 8470 8107.
You can also access phone support from the following providers:
- Good Shepherd, who can be contacted on 1300 026 500.
- The National Debt Helpline - Consumer Action Law Centre, who can be contacted on 1800 149 689.
- The Brotherhood of St. Laurence, who can be contacted on 1800 830 029.
Avoiding bill shock this winter
Energy prices - especially gas - are rising and now is a great time to think about ways to save energy and lower your energy bills to avoid bill shock and to keep your home more comfortable.
Here are a few tips:
- Shop for a better energy deal. The Australian Energy Regulator says switching plans can save customers more than $400 a year. Use the Victorian Energy Compare website to get you started. Remember to submit your application for the $250 Power Saving Bonus before 23 March if you haven’t already claimed it for this financial year - and apply for the second round after March 24. If you don’t want to change your energy retailer, give them a call to see if they have a better deal for you – they often do!
- Block draughts. When your home is draughty you are paying to heat or cool your neighbourhood as well as your home! Now is a good time to look around your home and seal up any gaps around windows and doors, floorboards, baseboards, air vents and appliance service lines. You should also block off evaporative cooling outlets in winter and un-flued chimneys when not in use. For advice and inspiration read Renew’s draught sealing buyers guide.
- Only heat or cool rooms you are using – or just yourself. If no one’s in a room, there’s little reason to heat or cool it. Close vents and doors to rooms you aren’t using to keep warm/cool air where you need it most. You can also embrace methods of personal heating and cooling, where you heat or cool yourself, not your room, by using items like ugg boots, electric blankets, heating pads, or mini USB fans.
- Use heavy curtains or honeycomb blinds. Up to 40 per cent of the heat escaping from your home in winter is from uncovered windows. Use heavy, lined curtains which extend below the window frame or honeycomb blinds to insulate your windows and help stop heat from escaping your rooms in winter and entering in summer.
- Install or top-up insulation. A fully insulated home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling a home by around 40—50% and can pay for itself in as little as five years.
- Get solar. This is the biggest investment, but can also provide the biggest savings. Solar systems can save their owners 30—60% on their energy bills, and pay for themselves in 3—7 years. Check out our Solar Saver program to make the process easy for everyone!
Energy saving guide for renters
If you're renting, there's a lot you can do to use less energy in your home and reduce your power bills. Check out our Energy Efficiency tips for Renters. We also give you some handy tips on how to get help if you're struggling to pay your bills.
Our energy efficiency tips for renters are also available in the following community languages:
|Language||Download information sheet|
Совети за енергетска ефикасност за луѓето што живеат во изнајмени
General tips for saving energy at home
The energy conservation hierarchy is
- Minimise energy use – use natural light, passive heating, and passive cooling where possible.'
- Insulate and draught proof your home to keep summer heat out and winter heat in and reduce the need for additional heating and cooling
- Check out these great DIY videos on how to draught proof your house
- Borrow one of our household energy toolkits from Darebin Libraries, to help assess where you're losing energy in your home
- Use energy efficiently – choose efficient lighting such as LED and select appliances with a high Energy Star Rating
- You may be eligible for other rebates if you upgrade to energy efficient appliances: check out the Victorian Energy Saver site for details
- Energy efficiency tips at home from The Energy Charter
- Easy English Guide on How to save energy and save money from Scope Australia
- Choose electric - efficient electric appliances save you money, reduce emissions and are better for your health than gas appliances
- This 2021 report from the Climate Council of Australia details the health impacts of gas cooktops and heaters
- Check out this handy guide from the local Cooper Climate and Environment Reference Group: Make the change to cleaner cheaper energy
- Use renewable energy – consider installing solar electricity and/or solar hot water, and buy renewable energy or switch to GreenPower.
- Offset your remaining emissions
The Sustainability Victoria website and this comprehensive EnviroShop resource have plenty of tips about how to save energy at home. If you are looking to build or renovate your home, Your Home has a wealth of information including free 7+ star house designs.
Household energy efficiency toolkits
Household energy efficiency toolkits are now available through Darebin Libraries! Free for Darebin Library members, our kits contain easy-to-use tools to help you work out what’s using the most power in your home, and how you can reduce it. Each kit contains a detailed instruction guide, and our top ten tips for simple ways to improve energy efficiency in your home and save money on your power bills.
There are four kits, one for each library branch, as well as two thermal imaging cameras for loan.
Our libraries team has also put together a great reading list for information on energy efficiency and how we can all take action on climate change by reducing our household emissions. And keep an eye out for some upcoming info sessions to help you learn more.
So pop into a branch today to borrow a kit, and start reducing your energy use!
Top 10 tips for keeping your home cool in summer
Here are top tips for keeping your home cool and saving money during summer:
- Block the heat - shade your windows
Stopping heat getting into your house in the first place with appropriate external shading means spending less on cooling. Shade windows and walls using external coverings, like blinds, awnings or large potted plants. Plant deciduous trees that cast shade over your home in summer, but still let the sun shine through in winter.
- Close your blinds
Keep your blinds closed, especially on north and west-facing windows. Better yet, invest in some block-out curtains to shield your home from that harsh summer sun.
- Use personal fans and adjust ceiling fans
Sometimes, a fan is all you need for some welcome cooling air. Since fans cost only $5—$20 per season to run, using them as much as possible helps lower your energy bill. If you have ceiling fans, set them to rotate counter-clockwise in summer to push air straight down, helping to create a cooling effect (and clockwise in winter to pull cool air up).
- Set your temperature wisely
If you must use your air-conditioner, set the thermostat to between 24—27°C, or as high as you feel comfortable. Increasing your thermostat by just 1°C in warm weather can reduce the running cost of your AC by about 10 per cent.
- Only heat or cool occupied areas
If no one’s in a room, there’s little reason to heat or cool it. Close doors to rooms you aren’t using to keep cool air where you need it most. Room sensors, smart controls, and timers for your heating and cooling can be used or get in the habit of turning it off when you leave.
- Keep doors and windows closed and seal gaps
Keep your doors and windows closed as much as possible. Seal gaps around doors and windows, and use draught excluders to ensure the cool air can’t escape. Evaporative air-conditioners will be more effective if you open some doors and windows to increase air flow through the home.
- Maintain AC and clean the filter regularly
Use the maintenance schedule contained in your air conditioner’s manual. This will head off many energy-sapping or expensive-to-fix issues before they even begin. Clogged filters make your air conditioner work much harder to produce the same effect; for optimum energy use, clean or replace them every 1—2 months.
- Insulate your house
A fully insulated home compared to a non-insulated home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling a home by around 40—50%.
- Buy an energy efficient split system air conditioner
If you have a ducted air conditioner system, you’re spending $100—$300 more per season than you need to. Energy efficient split system air conditioners are not only cheaper to buy and install, but also cheaper to run for both cooling and heating. If you're replacing an old heater in the process, you may be eligible for a $1000 rebate from the Victorian Government's Heating and Cooling Upgrades program for a new energy efficient split system. Either have your outdoor air conditioner component installed in a shady place, or protect it from direct sunlight with an awning. This will help it run more efficiently and protect it from overheating.
- Go solar
This is the biggest investment, but can also provide the biggest savings. Solar systems can save their owners 30—60% on their energy bills, and pay for themselves in 3—7 years. Check out our Solar Saver program to make the process easy.
Webinar recording - "Keep cool, save money"
To learn more about how you can keep cool and save money this summer, check out our webinar recording. Our friends at Uniting give practical advice on how to keep your house cool and save on your electricity and gas bills.
Watch the "Keep Cool Save Money" webinar or you can view the slides from the webinar.
Keep cool in Darebin map
Download the "Keep cool in Darebin" Map. This is your guide to where to cool down, get a drink of water and access help on a hot day in Darebin – for free.
For a hardcopy of the map, please email email@example.com.
Keep cool postcards
Download our handy postcard for some great tips on keeping cool in your home.