Tips for Tenants

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Making your home more energy efficient is good for the environment and for your power bills.  A typical New Zealand household uses around 8,000 - 9,000 kWh of electricity a year.  At about 23.5 cents per kWh (excluding fixed daily charges) that's over $2000 a year.  Here are some tips for making your property more energy efficient.

  • Run your dishwater only with a full load.
  • Instead of turning up the heat in your home, put on a sweater or snuggle up to a hot water bottle.
  • Turn off lights, appliances & computers when you're not using them.
  • Make sure you switch off equipment on 'stand-by' (with display lights and clocks visible) such as computers, printers, televisions, VCRs, DVDs, stereos & microwaves at the wall.
  • If you're looking for an excuse to upgrade your television or computer consider splurging on an LCD flat-screen. It uses only a third of the electricity of tube-based models.
  • Switch off your heated towel rail during the day or have an electrician fit a timer.  Using it for 4 hours per day, rather than 24 hours per day will save you $100 per year.
  • If you're going away for more than two weeks turn your hot water cylinder off.
  • Do full loads of clothes washing using cold water and hang clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use a thermostat and a timer on your heaters so they only come on when you need them and automatically turn off once the right temperature is reached.
  • Avoid using open fires or unverified gas heaters to heat your home in winter.
  • Try not to open the oven door too often, the temperature drops by up to 15 degrees each time.
  • Fill the kettle with cold water and only with as much water as you need.
  • Use lids on your pots, uncovered pots use three times as much energy.
  • Close windows, doors and curtains to keep in the heat that has built up during the day.
  • Identify any draughts from cracks and gaps and ask your landlord if you can have them sealed. You can buy draught stoppers from the hardware store.  If your landlord is happy for you to do so contact the fire department for advice on how to safely plug the fireplace.
  • New Zealanders throw away 3.2 million tones of rubbish into landfills every year.  This would equate to more than 1000 busloads of rubbish each day.  As much as 70 per cent of rubbish can be recycled or composted.  Recycle glass, plastic items and tins and collect paper and cardboard in a separate bag.  If your recycling bin is not big enough call your local council and see if you can get another. 
  • Garden waste and kitchen scraps in landfills break down into methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.  Almost half (45 percent) of the average rubbish bag can be composted.  Separate this from your rubbish and put it in a compost bin.  This will reduce methane emissions from landfills and benefit the garden at the same time.
  • Buy products with less packaging.
  • Take a recyclable shopping bag to the supermarket instead of using plastic bags each time.

* These fiigures and costs are subject to change and are for general guidance only.  For more information please visit the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) at www.eeca.govt.nz