Summer energy saving tips to cut costs and keep cool

16 Nov 2023

With a long and hot summer forecast, keeping cool will be a priority for Canberrans. The way we use energy, and how energy efficient our homes and appliances are, can make a big difference to our energy bills, our comfort, and our environment.

There are lots of free and easy ways to save money on energy bills while staying cool this summer.

All Canberrans can get free expert energy efficiency advice by contacting the ACT Government’s Sustainable Home Advice service.

On extreme heat days our electricity grid can become strained. Being mindful of your energy use helps manage demand while keeping your home cool and comfortable.

There are many free and easy ways to take action. Here are some tips to stay cool for less this summer.

Keep your cool

  • Keep cool air inside by closing windows and doors during the day and opening them in the evening to let cooler air in. When using evaporative cooling, you’ll need to leave some windows ajar.
  • If you have the aircon on, make sure the windows and doors are closed to keep the cool air in, you will need to leave some windows ajar if using evaporative cooling.
  • Cool air can escape through gaps around windows, doors and skirting boards. Seal gaps around windows and doors with sealant using a caulking gun. Door snakes and other draught excluders can also stop warm air from coming in during the daytime.

Pensioner Concession Card holders may be eligible for free draught proofing from the Home Energy Efficiency Program.

Use air conditioning efficiently

  • Try using fans and evaporative coolers first. They use less energy than air conditioners and are cheaper to run.
  • Set your aircon to 23 degrees or higher. Every degree you raise your air conditioning thermostat in summer could reduce your cooling bill by as much as 10%.
  • Turn off air conditioners when you go out. If you have a smart system, you can set timers to turn on air-conditioners to cool your home before you arrive.
  • Remember to have your filters cleaned on air conditioners for best performance.

Cover your windows

  • Keep your home cool by covering your windows with thermally backed curtains or energy-efficient blinds (such as honeycomb or roman blinds). This will prevent heat from the sun entering your home.
  • Keeping the sun off windows completely is even better. Build shade structures like awnings and shade sails, or plant trees or vines.
  • Deciduous trees and plants provide shade in summer while allowing sunlight through in winter.

Pensioner Concession Card holders may be eligible for free draught proofing from the Home Energy Efficiency Program.

Switch off

  • Put off jobs that create heat (like cooking and ironing) to cooler periods of the day. Try to avoid using appliances, like clothes dryers, that create heat.
  • Save money by switching unused appliances off at the power point. Consider purchasing timers or smart power adaptors that turn multiple appliances off at once.

Install efficient air conditioning

  • Save on running costs by upgrading to an efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner. Reverse-cycle air conditioning is the most energy efficient form of heating and cooling.
  • If you’re installing reverse cycle air conditioning, remove your gas heating at the same time to save on future running costs.

Homeowners may be eligible for a zero-interest loan through the Sustainable Household Scheme.

Homeowners who hold eligible concession cards may be eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 through the Home Energy Support Program.

Upgrade appliances

  • Save on running costs by choosing the most efficient appliances you can afford. When buying new appliances, look for the star rating – the more stars the better.
  • When you replace gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives, you’ll save on running costs. If you disconnect from the gas network as well, you’ll save about $300 per year on the connection fee.

Homeowners may be eligible for a zero-interest loan through the Sustainable Household Scheme.

Homeowners who hold eligible concession cards may be eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 through the Home Energy Support Program.

Get a better deal

  • Switching to a different energy plan could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Phone around or use the Australian Government’s comparison service,
  • Your existing energy provider may be able to offer you a better deal to suit your lifestyle and energy use. They can also help you access financial support. Available supports include hardship payments, concessions, payment extensions and flexible payment options.

Eligible concession card holders can also get money back on their utility bills through the Utilities Concession Scheme.

Need help?

Don’t know where to start? These programs can help you make the right energy decisions:

  • The Sustainable Home Advice program can help you understand your energy use. It offers free, independent expert advice that is tailored to your individual needs.
  • The Renters Home Energy program offers a free online assessment tool and free in-home energy assessments. It can help renters reduce energy costs and improve home comfort.
  • The Home Energy Support Program can provide rebates of up to $5,000 to eligible homeowners who are pensioner concession card or DVA card holders. It can assist with upfront costs when installing rooftop solar and energy efficient appliances.
  • The Home Energy Efficiency Program can provide help with draught-proofing and window coverings. It also offers free expert advice on lowering your electricity, gas and water bills.
  • The Make Your Next Choice Electric online tool can help people save money on power bills by switching from gas appliances to electric appliances.
  • The Sustainable Household Scheme can provide zero-interest loans of up to $15,000. It supports the installation of energy-efficient electric appliances and solar systems. It can also help pay for electric cars and EV charging.
  • The ACT Government offers free workshops to help Canberran’s access detailed energy saving advice, tools and resources.
  • The ACT Government has partnered with electricity retailers to develop a utilities hardship fund. Customers who need financial support can receive $100 vouchers or rebates to help pay their electricity bills. Access this service by calling your provider.
  • Concession card holders can access the Utilities Concession through their energy supplier to help with energy bills. The concession includes up to $800 for the 2022-23 financial year. Access this service by calling your provider. Visit the ACT Government website’s Cost of Living Support page for more details.

Visit our households page for more energy saving tips and advice.

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We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.