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My eco-home, my castle

November 07, 2017

My eco-home, my castle

Whether you rent, flat, or own your own house, there are lots of ways you can make your home more efficient, healthier, and cheaper to run. Efficient resource use is good for you, good for your wallet, and great for the planet. 

Saving water

Water availability is a growing concern in the Wellington Region, and climate change is going to make water management much more challenging. Here are our top three tips on saving water at home.

  • Keep track of how long and how often you and your family are showering. Five minute showers will save water and money.
  • Place a bucket in the shower to collect water for watering plants, flushing the toilet or even filling the washing machine!
  • Measure the amount of water coming out of your showerhead. Efficient shower heads reduce flow to less the 9l/min, and still give you a great, relaxing shower.
  • Have a look at the water saving products in our EcoShop if you think your waterworks could be doing better!

Saving power

Energy is expensive. What’s more, about 30% of New Zealand’s power comes from fossil fuels. If you can adapt your habits now, you’ll be better off in the long run. Here are our top three ways to save power at home.

  • Buy and fit security stays to your windows and leave them ajar while you’re not at home. It takes a lot of energy to heat damp air and good ventilation will help reduce moisture in your house.
  • Don’t use portable gas heaters. They release moisture and harmful gases, and they’re also by far the most expensive heating device to run.
  • Stop draughts around your doors and windows with inexpensive draught-stripping, and door-snakes. Make sure you have lined curtains, which keep heat in as well. Wellington Curtain Bank can help if you have a Community Services Card. 

Appropriate heating

All electric heaters are equally efficient (except heat pumps which use a different technology). The key difference between electric heaters is how well their heat moves around the room, the size and purpose of the room you’re heating, and the quality of the heater’s thermostat.

Because panel or eco-type heaters use less power, they put out less heat. This may work well overnight in a bedroom, but not in ‘on-demand’ situations.

Here are our top three tips for choosing heaters:

  • Look for a label from a recognised testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (interlink), CSA (Canadian standards association).
  • Be sure that your heater has an automatic shut-down function when they over-heat (thermal cut-out) or when they tip over (tilt switch).
  • Ensure your heater has a good thermostat and a timer so that heating can be controlled.

Read more on EECA Energywise's website, including what type and size heater to use.

Green cleaning

Cleaning products account for a large proportion of household waste. By making your own cleaners you can reduce the amount of packaging you use. In addition, most conventional cleaners use chemicals that can be harmful to people and to our water sources.

Here are our top three tips for green cleaning:

  • Make your own. All soap, detergents, and cleaning products are easily and cheaply made at home. Figgy & Co have some great recipes online.
  • Baking soda, vinegar and elbow grease go a long way in terms of household cleaners.
  • Use newspaper and white vinegar for cleaning windows. 

Other resources: 


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