Harrisons Solar has long championed the desire for all Kiwis to have warm and healthy homes, so it’s no surprise that we want to extend that to ensure we have a healthy environment, too.
It’s all about running more efficient homes; tweaking our lifestyles; choosing the smartest appliances; and investigating new technologies that can help us achieve greener goals.
Here is Harrisons practical guide to what you can do right now which will benefit the world around you.
1.Insulate your home: One of the largest costs and uses of power at home is temperature control. Whether it’s having the aircon on during summer or heating in the colder months. A well-insulated home not only controls those monthly power bills, it also helps conserve energy. So, check you have the right type of insulation in your walls, ceilings and under-floor, fix those gaps or ill-fitting windows, and install double-glazing where you can.
2.Make sure your home is dry and efficient to heat: Once your home is properly insulated, the next step is to get rid of those “weeping windows” which plague so many Kiwi households. Investing in a good ventilation system is not only a healthy option, but also makes your home easier to keep warm.
3.Check thermostats on all types of heating and cooling: Heating rooms and water are habitually the two most power-hungry aspects of running a home or business. Thermostats are a simple way to controlling how much power you use. Check whether you can cut a few degrees off your heaters and that your fridges and freezers are not set overly cold.
4.Investigate domestic solar power generation: Generating your own power from the sun is a great way to cut your reliance on less environmentally friendly forms of generated power. That’s why Harrisons Solar is backing Greenpeace’s call to start a solar revolution in New Zealand and fit UV panels and battery storage to 500,000 homes by 2030 to help meet the world’s climate change crisis.
5.Adapt lifestyle to optimise free-green solar power: Generating solar power is only half the equation of running an environmentally efficient home – it’s also important to use that power when it’s being generated. For example, use timer-switches to run water heaters, washers and driers during the day. If you’re a business owner who draws most power during the day, explore how solar energy can help reduce your drawing power from the grid.
6.Fit your home with Energy Star appliances to optimise efficiency of required power: We’re all becoming more aware of what we’re buying and the long-term benefits from choosing Energy Star 3+ rated home appliances. It’s worth noting that Energy Star qualified fridge/freezer, uses up to 40% less energy than other models.
7.Fit your home with low-energy use light bulbs: The innovation behind compact fluorescent and LED bulbs over recent years equates to a cost-effective product which lasts much longer. Not only do we see reduced power bills, but they’re also making a much smaller environmental impact.
8.Turn off lights and electronic devices when not in use: This is a change you can make right now. Is that light still on in the bathroom? Or is the TV still going, unwatched, in the other room? And check out how much power your appliances and devices still draw when they’re in standby mode – it might surprise you, especially on older models.
9.Investigate solar battery storage: Battery storage is considered green technology because it allows homes and businesses to use more environmentally friendly solar-generated power. At Harrisons we also believe it’s the future of innovative smart homes and central to energy efficient lifestyles.
10.Consider how you travel: From leaving the car at home a couple of days a week to use public transport, through to walking or biking, there are plenty of ways in which your method of transport affects the environment. For the ultimate in innovative green transport, consider how you could use an electric car as battery storage for a solar system – makes you think, doesn’t it!
11.Cut out single use containers and bags: From reusable cups at the coffee cart to taking textile bags to the supermarket, we’re all now used to practical changes that make a big impact. Find out where your nearest bulk food store is too and reuse your containers from home to stock up on bulk food. What about your local school? Art teachers always need cans and containers for projects. Reuse, reuse, reuse.
12.Save water: Water conservation is a very important part of sustainability. We can all do our bit by checking for persistent leaks, using low-flow shower heads and invest in Energy star appliances.
13.Understand recycling – don’t “wish-cycle”: Some Kiwi councils reckon that up to 10% of what households try to recycle isn’t recyclable but are actually contaminating roadside collections. It’s important to know what is compostable as opposed to recyclable.
14.Reduce food waste – including composting: Reducing food waste covers everything from not over-buying, to experimenting with re-using leftovers and starting your own composting system. Growing your own comes with great taste and satisfaction too.
15.Garden responsibly: Planting native trees and looking after our native birds and insects can all help the environment. Also think about ways you can use ‘grey water’ to keep plants from drying out.
For more information about how Harrisons can help your household or business become more environmentally friendly, you can contact Harrisons Solar on 0800 003354 or via the website.