Saving energy and lowering your energy bills

Energy efficiency tips, Power Saving Bonus, toolkits, and an energy-saving guide for renters.

Saving energy at home is a great way to save money and take action on the climate emergency.

Australian households generate about one fifth of Australia’s carbon emissions, which are causing rapid climate change. Many households are also struggling to pay their power bills. There's so much we can do to use less energy in our homes and reduce our power bills.

Find the best energy deal - get $250

One of the easiest ways to reduce energy costs is to compare energy offers. Victoria's Power Saving Bonus is a one-off, $250 payment to help ease cost-of-living pressures and to encourage Victorian households to look for a better energy deal.

The $250 bonus is available between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023. It is available to all Victorians who visit the Victorian Energy Compare website or engage with an energy affordability service through participating community outreach partners.

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):

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.

The $250 Bonus is limited to one payment per eligible household.

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
English Energy Efficiency tips for Renters
Arabic

نصائح كفاءة الطاقة للمستأجرين

Farsi

نکات استفاده بهینه از انرژی برای مستأجران

Vietnamese

Các Gợi ý Tiết kiệm Năng lượng dành cho người thuê nhà

Chinese

租客节能小窍门

Greek

Συμβουλές ενεργειακής απόδοσης για ενοικιαστές

Macedonian

Совети за енергетска ефикасност за луѓето што живеат во изнајмени

Tips for saving energy at home

The energy conservation hierarchy is

1. Minimise energy use – use natural light, passive heating, and passive cooling where possible.

2. Use energy efficiently – choose efficient lighting such as LED and select appliances with a high Energy Star Rating.

3. Choose electric - efficient electric appliances save you money, reduce emissions and are better for your health than gas appliances.

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 more 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

Here are top tips for keeping your home cool and saving money during summer:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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%.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 climateemergency@darebin.vic.gov.au.

Keep cool postcards

Download our handy postcard for some great tips on keeping cool in your home.

Stay Cool, Save Money Webinar
Tips for saving energy at home