The decisions we make about sustainability in the home can make a real difference to our impact on the environment. By making your home more sustainable you can save money and live in a healthier, more comfortable home for you and your family today, tomorrow and in the future.
This section provides information on:
Water is an essential part of life and maintaining a healthy environment. You can help save water by becoming more water wise.
Being water efficient in the home requires both smart behaviours and technologies. Some plumbing products have their water efficiency rating displayed on a label. No stars means the product has poor water efficiency, while 6 stars shows the product is amongst the most efficient.
Spend less on your energy bills without compromising on comfort, by making your home more energy efficient. Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to provide the same service or achieve the same result. It's about doing things smarter, or with improved technology, with no drop in service or your comfort. You use less energy as well as save money and reduce your impact on the environment.
Easy tips to save power around your home
Did you know that the average NSW home produces 8,000 kilograms of carbon pollution every year? There are simple steps you can take around your home to lower your power bills and reduce your impact on our environment.
In the Kitchen
- Only use the dishwasher when it is full, use the energy-saving setting and let dishes air-dry.
- Cook with the microwave instead of the stove or oven – a microwave uses less power.
- Set your fridge at 3°C to 4°C and your freezer at -15°C to -18°C.
- Keep fridge door seals clean and replace if worn.
- Keep fridge ventilated, allow room for air to circulate on all sides – don’t overload.
- Use lids on pots to speed up cooking.
- When replacing or shopping for a new appliance, like a fridge, look for the Energy Rating label – the more stars the better!
In the Bathroom and Laundry
- Wash clothes in cold water, they get just as clean.
- Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
- Install a water efficient shower head and keep your showers to a few minutes – this will reduce the amount of hot water you are using.
- Fix leaking taps and insulate hot water pipes.
In Living Areas
- Switch off lights when you leave a room.
- Switch off TVs, entertainment systems and computers at the power point when you’re not using them – don’t leave them on ‘stand-by’.
- Use a power board with a switch and make sure you can reach it.
- Replace old lights in your home with compact fluorescent light globes.
- Close curtains, blinds and doors.
- Dress in warmer clothing.
- Set your heating between 18ºC and 21ºC. Each degree warmer can add 15 per cent to your heating bill.
- Turn off your second fridge.
- Close curtains and blinds during the day.
- Open windows at night when the temperature has dropped to help clear out hot air.
- Set your air conditioning between 23°C and 26°C. Even better, use fans instead of air conditioners – or with them – to spread cool air further.
Save Power Kits
You can now borrow a Save Power Kit for FREE from Camden or Narellan Library.
This kit can show you power in your home and suggest simple ideas and actions to use less power, reduce power bills and cut carbon pollution. The Kits include a power meter, compass, thermometers, detailed instructions and other tools and information to help you save power.
For more information about saving energy, visit Energy Made Easy.
Reducing waste means changing the way we buy, use and then dispose of things. It means looking at the 'life cycle' of a product and questioning whether we really need it to when we think its time to throw it out.
Recycling is about managing and saving resource, saving energy and water, reducing pollution and waste.
Easy ways you can recycle your household waste:
- Separate your recyclables and use the kerbside recycling system
- Look for the recycle symbol on plastic containers and check the number – check what plastics are accepted for recycling by Council
- Reject plastic bags – take your own reusable bag when you go shopping
- Reduce food waste by setting up a worm farm and make natural fertiliser for your garden
- Set up a compost bin
- Mulch or chip prunings for reuse in your garden or use your greenwaste bin
- Shop smartly – avoid unnecessary packaging and buy only what you need
- Choose products that use recycled-content or minimal packaging
- Look for ways to reuse, renovate or recycle other household goods
- Sort out and drop off your household chemical waste
- Make use of Council and local business recycling initiatives – eg mobile phones, eWaste
- Return unwanted medicines and used printer cartridges
- Give unwanted items to charity or local second-hand shop
- Host a garage sale or advertise unwanted items on community noticeboards
A sustainable home can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water and energy usage, and reduce waste. It provides all the benefits of a typical home but reduces the negative impact on the environment.
A sustainable garden works in harmony with nature. It includes the use of native plants and trees to attract beneficial insects, native birds and animals. These gardens tend to be water-wise with careful consideration of plant selection in relation to local climate, watering needs of plants, soil type and use of mulch. Soils will tend to be healthy and nutrient rich through use of natural fertilisers such as worm castings and compost to help yield a plentiful supply of organic fruit, herbs and vegetables.
Some easy ways you can make your home and garden more environmentally friendly and sustainable are available in the following factsheets:
- Composting - build a compost heap and turn your garden waste into valuable compost.
- Wormfarming – save your food scraps from landfill by converting it into fertiliser using a worm farm.
- Mulching - use mulch to improve your soil, keep them moist and to prevent the growth of weeds.
- No Dig Vegetable Gardening – grow your own fresh food easily in your backyard - without digging!
- Are These Weeds in your Backyard? – learn to recognise common weeds and prevent them spreading elsewhere.
- Create a Native Garden – native gardens need less water, use little fertiliser and are easy to maintain.
- Wildlife and your Backyard – create and maintain a garden to attract native birds and animals.
- Reuse – reduce waste by using old and unwanted household items to create something new!
Water Harvesting – collect the rain on your roof with a rainwater tank to use on the garden.
- Drip Irrigation – install drip irrigation as an efficient way to water your plants
- Greywater Reuse – greywater from the laundry can be reused to flush toilets or on your gardens.
- Solar Energy – consider using renewable energy from the sun to power your home.