Many of us are making efforts to reduce energy use at home or in business. No matter what your budget, you can make considerable energy savings by following a few simple ideas and suggestions.
Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to provide the same service or achieve the same result. It's about doing things smarter, or with improved technology.
You can find some useful information on the following pages to help you make the choice that best suits your needs.
It is worth considering what would be the right hot water system for your needs to gain full financial benefit and system efficiency for your area.
Water heating can account for more than one third of a households energy use, therefore there is a significant saving to be made in running cost.
There are different types of heating fuels available on the market;
- Electric – storage or instantaneous
- Gas (natural or LGP) – storage or instantaneous
- Solar – electric or gas (natural or LGP) boosted
Both the state and federal government have useful websites to help you decide which hot water system will best suit your household.
Environment & Heritage
Energy Made Easy
Australians are becoming more energy efficient in general. There are some great tips to help you to become more energy efficient in your home or business;
- Every degree you move your air-conditioner temperature closer to the temperature it is outside, you will save approximately 10% on your air-conditioners running costs.
- Insulation can save up to 45% on heating & cooling. Air conditioning will be more efficient with insulation installed.
- Drafts can increase your heating costs by up to 25%!
- In winter windows can allow up to 40% of heat to leak out. Heat gain through an unshaded window in summer can be 100 times greater than through the same area of insulated wall.
Further information to help you reduce energy consumption in the home:
The NSW Government’s guide to sustainable living
The Australian Government’s energy efficiency rating for consumers
Origin Energy’s tips for efficient energy use
Australian Government's Your Energy Savings
Your Home - Australia's guide to environmentally sustainable homes
Further information to help your business reduce energy consumption:
The NSW Government’s guide to Sustainability in Business
The Australian Government’s appliance energy efficiency rating for Industries
Energy Saver Program: The NSW Government’s program for small businesses
Renewable energy comes from a number of sources such as the sun, wind, the earth's heat and ocean systems. The endless supply of these types of renewable energy makes them very sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Wingecarribee Shire Council actively promotes and supports local sources of renewable energy. Council has embarked on a range of energy initiatives for its operations and services here in the Southern Highlands.
Qualifying solar hot water, solar/wind power systems or solar panels currently attract government financial support in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates, known as RECs.
Solar panels that generate electricity are known as photo voltaic (PV) systems. Here are some tips to think about when considering the type of solar system that suits your needs at home or for your business:
- Speak to a solar industry expert. Solar technology is rapidly developing so be sure you have the most up-to-date, proven options available to choose from.
- Lower your energy use as much as you are comfortable with, to help reduce the size of the solar system you will need.
- Consider how you can maximise exposure of solar panels at your property including:
- The direction your roof faces
- The angle of the roof
- Shading from nearby trees or buildings
Hot Water from Renewable Energy
Solar Hot Water systems heat water through solar panels or evacuated solar tubes on rooftops or buildings. The heated water is then piped around the home or commercial buildings ready for use. Read more on our Hot Water Systems page.
This solar hot water can also be used to heat flooring by running water pipes inside concrete floor slabs during construction. The Moss Vale War Memorial Aquatic Centre uses a solar hydronics system to heat both pool water (together with heat pumps), some pool walls and surrounding concrete floors for the warm comfort of pool users.
Heat pumps are also used to heat household water using renewable energy. Heat in the outside air is transferred into water inside the heat pump through a heat exchange system.
How does a heat pump work?
Saving for a Sunny Day covering a range of renewable hot water options.
There are three large scale wind farms in fairly close proximity to the Southern Highlands:
Capital Wind Farm near Bungendore and Woodlawn Wind Farm (provides enough renewable energy to approximately 23,000 homes), together generate 140.7 megawatts of power.
Taralga Wind Farm is another nearby large scale wind generation facility. The wind farm’s 51 turbines generate up to a total capacity of 107MW of clean renewable energy for the life of the project.
Small scale wind turbines for individual homes can also be found generating renewable energy around the Southern Highlands.
NSW Small Scale Wind Turbine Consumer Guide
NSW has 36 hydro electric plants, with the largest in the state being The Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme.
The Shoalhaven Scheme is the closest hydro system to the Southern Highlands. Water pumped from the Shoalhaven Scheme is mostly collected from the Tallowa Dam catchment of 5,750 square kilometres. Wingecarribee and Fitzroy Falls reservoirs have relatively small catchment areas totalling only 70 square kilometres. Power generation involves regular exchange of stored waters between Lake Yarrunga, Bendeela Pondage and Fitzroy Falls Reservoir.
Small scale hydro electric systems generally don't require dams, instead relying on flowing streams and privately owned waterways. Some small scale hydro systems are being considered for irrigation structures and weirs, and investigations are underway to understand possible environmental impacts of developing these systems.
Impact of small scale hydropower technologies on Australian native fish species
This technology is just starting to develop in Australia, making up only 0.001% of the country's total clean energy generation Clean Energy Council. One geothermal plant that is operational is Ergon Energy's 0.12 MW facility at Birdsville in Queensland.
Ocean energy is classified as tidal energy, wave energy and ocean thermal energy.
A wave energy trial has started at the Perth Wave Energy Project site off Garden Island. It is the only grid connected project in the world currently using this particular wave energy technology called CETO, named after an ancient Greek sea goddess (also known as Keto). The project also includes construction of a desalination plant that will be run by CETO wave energy - another world first.
Read more about Ocean Energy at Geoscience Australia's Ocean Energy.
Australia's renewable energy and fossil fuels use by state
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
Renewable Energy FAQs - Energy Matters
ARENA - Australian Renewable Energy Agency
NSW Government's Renewable Energy website
The Southern Highlands community and Wingecarribee Shire Council are committed to reducing the use of fossil fuel and promoting local sources of renewable energy (Wingecarribee 2031 Community Strategic Plan - sections 4.4.1 & 4.4.3).
Together we can all contribute in small or large ways by better managing our energy use and accessing more renewable energy sources, investing in energy efficient technologies, and in solar energy and wind generators.
Sustainable House Day is held on the second and third Sundays in September. Be inspired by visiting locally built or converted sustainable homes in the annual Sustainable House Day.
The community can also get involved in Earth Hour. The event is held annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.
Council has undertaken several initiatives to reduce energy and water consumption at community facilities and within councils operations.
Our homes are big energy users! Together they use a third of all electricity consumed in NSW.
The more power we use, the more money we spend and the more carbon pollution we create.
We now have available to borrow, the Save Power Kit. This kit provides useful tools and information to help you measure and understand how you use power in your home. It will identify simple actions you can take to save money, power and reduce our impact on the environment.
What's in the Kit?
Measures the amount of power drawn by an electrical appliance, then estimates the cost to run the appliance over a specified period of time and the carbon pollution it creates.
Measures the surface temperature of objects from a distance. Find where heat is lost or gained in your home and take small actions to save power and money.
Measures room, fridge and freezer temperatures. Avoiding over heating or cooling will really cut your power use.
Times how long you spend in the shower and the flow rates from a shower head and tap. Most household hot water use is in the shower. If you have electric hot water, changes here can greatly reduce your power bills.
Identifies the north and west facing rooms that receive more warmth from the sun. This can help you shade the hot summer sun and let the warmth of the winter sun.
'How to' guide
This booklet provides easy to use instructions and safety information for each kit item. It includes detailed information on how to use the items of the kit to obtain the measurements you need to identify your biggest power users. Additional activities are also listed here for your interest.
Worksheets demonstrate how to record your measurements and identify simple actions that you can take to lower your power bills and reduce the impact on our environment.
Note* Please do not write directly on these worksheets. Feel free to photocopy them, however they must be returned unmarked along with the rest of the kit.
Lists simple actions you can follow to lower your power bills.
How to Borrow the Kit?
To borrow the kit, please call the Environment and Sustainability team on 4868 0888 and we will look at what available time periods we have coming up.
The kit is available to borrow for up to two weeks.
To collect the kit, you will need to pick it up from Council's Civic Centre located at 68 Elizabeth Street Moss Vale. You will be asked to sign a user agreement form that will state that you are required to return the kit (including all items within the kit) by the due date.