Over the next three years, pilot projects across three states will see thousands of householders given incentives to reduce their electricity consumption during short periods.
The aim of the pilot project is to free up temporary electricity supply during extreme peaks – such as summer heatwaves or during extreme weather events and emergencies.
However everyone will benefit if we can learn to cool our homes sustainably in the long run.
According to Stegbar Windows and Doors, the type of windows and glass throughout the home can greatly contribute to the temperature inside.
“Windows and shading are the most critical elements, and up to almost 90 per cent of heat gained can come through the windows in your home,” says Christine Evans, Director of Marketing at Stegbar.
“When building or renovating, consider the glass as advances in glass technology mean that today’s glass is designed to be energy efficient to help reduce power bills and increase the comfort of your home.”
It’s also important to select the right style of window to maximise ventilation and air flow.
“Louvres allow a breeze to flow through the home and they are extremely popular in tropical climates like Queensland and coastal areas to let in the afternoon ocean breeze,” says Ms Evans.
Other tips include to closing blinds or curtains during the day to keep the heat out (consider investing in blackout curtains) and in the early evening as temperatures cool, open everything to let the cool air in.
You can also consider planting deciduous trees so that they shade the house in summer but let the warmth through in winter.
If you really do need to rely on an air conditioner, make sure to confirm the performance of the system by looking at the energy star label and comparing the performance with other makes and models.
Mark Padwick, President of AREMA, a national association representing the Australian air conditioning and refrigeration industry said “over the life of an air conditioner, the cost of running it can well exceed its purchase price. That makes energy efficiency an important consideration when making your purchase.”
He said Department of the Environment and Energy runs Australia’s energy efficiency programs and that over the past few years they have tested air conditioners that claim ‘amazing’ performance from ‘revolutionary’ technology but which have failed to meet minimum energy performance levels.
At www.energyrating.gov.au you can compare the cost of running different air conditioners.