In our modern lifestyle, energy use is a major part of our households, businesses and activities. Our buildings, commonly contain air-conditioning and many electrical appliances which rely heavily on fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Electricity prices have in increased over the years, resulting in increases in our expenses.
By combining reduction of energy usage with uptake of renewable sources, we can make a big difference in reducing our electricity consumption, carbon footprint, current and future expenses on electricity and slow the impacts of climate change.
City of Unley is working together with the community to reduce our City's and individual's energy consumption.
There are many steps we can take to reduce our energy usage. Switching off lights that are not in use is one simple way.
By changing behaviours, using passive design principals in new homes and renovations or buying energy-efficient appliances and technology we can reduce our energy consumption significantly.
Unlike fossil fuels, which we will eventually run out of, renewable energy is naturally replenished. By combining reduction of energy usage with uptake of renewable sources (like solar), we can make a big difference in reducing electricity consumption (and costs), our carbon footprint, the impacts of climate change and our risk against future electricity price rises.
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
- Let the sun shine through in winter and in summer, block it out by closing blinds or curtains.
- Plant a tree! Trees are extremely effecting at cooling homes in hot summer months. They provide shade and act as natural air-conditioners by cooling the surrounding air. A deciduous tree will provide shade in summer and allow the sun to shine through in the winter.
- Set your thermostat to between 24°C and 26°C for cooling in summer, and, between 18°C and 20°C degrees for heating in winter.
- Use a fan, as these effectively cool rooms and are cheap to run.
- Take shorter showers, and install a water efficient shower head (also saves water!).
- Wash clothes in cold water, and hang them to dry.
- Use the microwave for cooking where possible, instead of the oven.
- Adjust your hot water thermostat.
- Set your fridge's temperature to between 3°C and 5°C, and your freezer to between -15°C and -18°C.
- Do a home energy audit (details below)
- Check if you're eligible for free energy efficient incentives (below) or any South Australian Government Concessions.
Energy efficiency incentives
The Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS) is a South Australian government initiative that requires energy retailers to help households and businesses save on energy use and costs, and lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
South Australian households and businesses may be able to receive free or discounted energy efficiency activities from energy retailers participating in the REPS.
Typical activities include installing energy efficient lighting, or installing water efficient shower heads, helping save water heating costs.
You can contact any of the REPS obliged retailers or third-party contractors to find out what energy savings activities may be available for your home or business, not just the retailer currently supplying your energy services. YESS is a third-party contractor located in the City of Unley.
REPS activities and targets can differ between retailers. You can call multiple retailers and contractors to see who can help you.
Find out more about REPS by visiting the Government of South Australian website here.
Home energy audit
Because your energy bill isn’t itemised like a mobile phone bill or shopping receipt, it can be hard to tell how energy is used in your home. Doing a home energy audit can help you understand what the main energy users in your home are and help you find ways to reduce your energy use to keep your energy bills to a minimum.
You can borrow a Home Energy Toolkit for free from the Unley Library or Goodwood Library, or do a basic home energy audit online.
Energy efficient appliances
When choosing an appliance like a fridge or a washing machine, consider:
- the best size and power for your needs
- the cost of running the appliance compared to other models
- the most energy and water-efficient model
The Energy Rating Label allows you to compare the energy efficiency and running costs of appliances before you buy – to help you reduce your electricity bill.
It’s worth paying extra for a more energy-efficient model as it will cost less to run.
For more information on choosing energy-efficient appliances, visit energy.gov.au.
For free energy saving advice and help with your bills, visit the South Australian Government's Energy Advisory Service website.
For ways to reduce your energy bills at home or in your small business, visit the EnergySmart South Australia website.
To compare and find the best energy prices, visit the Australian Government's price comparison website Energy Made Easy.
To see how energy is used in the home and more about sustainable homes, visit the Australian Government's Your Home website.
Now more than ever, there is a need for the Australian business community to lower its exposure to climate change, energy pricing impacts and shift focus to more efficient and sustainable operations.
If you are an office-based business looking to reduce carbon emissions and improve business performance through sustainability practices and technologies then CitySwitch is for you.
Joining CitySwitch is free. Members have access to a dedicated program manager and receive a range of resources and case studies to help improve their sustainable business operations.
About the Program
CitySwitch is a free program that assists office-based businesses to reduce their environmental footprint.
City Switch is a national program with greening support for desk based offices, whether in owner/occupier or leased arrangements.
This free program provides tools, guidelines and incentives to assist businesses to improve their sustainability which can have multiple benefits for the environment, staff, marketing and bottom line. It also enables networking access to over 800 signatories nationwide.
What's Required of Businesses
To become a CitySwitch Green Office signatory, organisations are required to commit to:
Commence a benchmark indicative NABERS Energy tenancy rating of their office within 3 months
Develop and implement an Energy Action Plan to achieve and maintain a 4 stars or higher accredited NABERS Energy tenancy
Appoint an Energy Manager to monitor actual performance
Request a NABERS Energy base building rating from the building owner/manager
Promote energy efficiency to staff, customers and suppliers and share their experiences with other Signatories
Provide feedback on their success in an annual Progress Report
Each September/October is the annual CitySwitch Progress Reporting Period. This is a time when businesses measure their performance over the previous 12 months.
In November CitySwitch holds annual CitySwitch Awards to showcase signatories that have demonstrated outstanding environmental leadership. The awards give recognition to those who have improved, maintained or achieved their NABERS Energy tenancy or whole building rating and have reported significant energy savings.
Signatories are judged at a state level across a number of categories, with winners from each state going into the running for National awards.
Levels of involvement range from behaviour changes through to infrastructure changes. View this short video by the City of Adelaide to learn more about the program including examples from signatories.
How we can help
A limited number of complimentary visits from a sustainable business consultant are available for City of Unley businesses that sign up to CitySwitch.
This incentive includes support to calculate an indicative NABERS Energy Rating and a site visit to help identify useful sustainability actions, resources and incentives that your organisation may wish to utilise/implement to get you started with CitySwitch. This service is available once the signatory form is received.
Please note, this is a limited offer until the allocation has been exhausted.
To join the CitySwitch program and become a CitySwitch Signatory, office-based businesses in the City of Unley need to follow these simple steps:
Upon receipt and processing of your letter, you will be acknowledged as a new signatory and receive a Commitment Certificate from the Mayor.
For further questions, please contact the Greater Metro Program Manager for CitySwitch on (03) 9658 7821 or email email@example.com
The City of Unley is becoming energy efficiency through initiatives like:
- Committing to be carbon neutral for our corporate emissions by December 2023.
- Supplying staff with bicycles and electric bicycles to commute through our City.
- Tracking Council energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Switching street lights to energy efficient lighting (LED Lighting Program).
- Participating in the CitySwitch Green Office Program.
- Installing solar panels and battery storage on our buildings
- Clarence Park Community Centre (Solar, 20kW)
- City of Unley Depot (Solar, 30kW)
- City of Unley Civic Centre (Solar, 30kW)
- Unley Swimming Centre (Solar, 10kW)
- Fullarton Park Community Centre (Solar, 15kW & Battery Storage).