Energy saving, eco-friendly, energy efficient, sustainability…there are a lot of buzzwords floating around. But more often than not they refer primarily to indoor improvements, energy and money saving tips like installing insulation or double glazed windows, or common sense changes like turning the thermostat down a degree or trying to conserve hot water.
But even in the great outdoors, there’s a lot you can do to ensure maximum energy efficiency. Whether you’ve got a decadent backyard space or a compact balcony, here is an energy saving guide Outdoor Living from the Australian Government for your entire outdoor living space.
Garden and water consumption
Gardens are an important feature of any house – if you haven’t checked out our garden designs resource yet, well, you really should! Yet gardens can be heavy energy consumers too. Luckily there are a few handy tricks to help you keep it beautiful while also reducing your energy bill.
One tip is to strategically plant shade trees and shrubs. Planting them in the right spots can prevent the summer sun from penetrating your home in summer, allowing you to save money on your energy bill. Well placed trees create a cool microclimate that can substantially reduce the temperature in your house and lower the need for your heating.
What type of plants you have in your garden also affects your energy output. Earlier in 2015, we wrote a post on how you can save energy with water saving plants , in which we preached the benefit of certain plants for their drought-resistant properties, like crepe myrtles, wild fuchsias and quince among others.
We all love playing on the lawn, feeling the grass between our toes and the exaltation of running around with abandon. However, lawns can be hard work to maintain, often descending into a patch of dirt without some TLC. Not only that, they can be a big guzzler of water too.
If this sounds familiar, you can choose to replace part of your lawn with some of the aforementioned water saving plants, for instance. Or, if you’re keen to keep your lawn space, how about a fantastic, natural-looking artificial lawn that will save a ton on water costs…not to mention saving you energy by doing away with that pesky lawn mower!
According to this energy savings infographic, pool pumps absolutely guzzle electricity … sometimes more than your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher put together! So consider investing in a 5-star, energy-efficient pool pump in the smallest size you can get for your pool. It can make a huge difference. Another handy tip is to use your pool cover when not in use to dramatically reduce evaporation.
Arguably the simplest outdoor energy efficient change you can make is to your outdoor lighting. There are two routes you can travel down here: motion-sensor or solar lights (or the combination of the two).
As you might surmise, motion sensor lights save energy due to the fact they only turn on when you need them too (unless you have some pesky possums running around); solar lights are self-powered by the sun, which means no battery or electricity required.
Speaking of solar power, if you’re serious about making sustainable changes, consider generating your outdoor energy requirements with solar panels. A few panels on the roof should allow you to run the BBQ, pool, patio fan and lighting etc. easily.
With these outdoor energy saving tips, you’ll be able to fire up the Barbie, kick back in your thongs and relax, safe in the knowledge your outdoor space is energy efficient. We hope you benefit from these tips and let us know if you have any other outdoor energy saving ideas. We’d love to hear them.