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July 12, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Appliances: So hot right now

Damn, appliances are cool. And so useful. My meals would have far less diversity were it not for the humble microwave, my clothes would smell were it not for the washing machine, and no one would ever do the dishes were it not for the dishwasher. But those appliances have another side to them: they use a lot of energy—a third of your electricity bill—which is not good for the environment, or your (empty) pocket. Here are a few tips to help save some money and the planet.

• Turn off appliances, such as TVs, DVD players and stereos, at the wall when you won’t be using them for a while. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to save power, because they use heaps of energy to run even on standby.
• If (hopefully when) using a washing machine, use cold water. This also means there is enough hot water for showering! Yay!
• I’m pretty impressed if you can go an entire Wellington winter without using a dryer, but they cost a fair bit to run. At our place we put 50c in each time we use it, which covers the cost and makes you think (and find 50c) before you just chuck all your clothes in there. Alternatives include: waiting for a nice washing day, going home to do it, drying inside on a clothes horse, smelling bad.
• Running a beer fridge costs between $100 and $300 a year, especially if it is an older model. Even just turning it off for the winter when less beer is generally drunk and turning it back on for the summer would be cool.
• Is your fridge running all the time? Check the seals by putting a torch inside the fridge. If you can see light, the seals are broken and need replacing.
• When making a cup of tea, don’t fill the jug up to the 2L mark. It takes way more energy to heat all that water up, and you’re not even going to use it all. Offer to make your flatmates some tea (it’s the equivalent of car-pooling).
• On the off chance you’re buying new appliances (fridge owner move out? Lame.), check out the energy rating label. Really does make a difference.

These are just a few small steps, but worth it. It’s all stuff yo momma should’a taught ya, I’m just here reminding you. Thanks to the Home Energy Advice Centre. And keep an eye out for the VUWSA Warm My Flat campaign.

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