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Save energy and money this winter!

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Save energy and money this winter!

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1. Dress for the season

One of the easiest ways to save money in winter is to turn down the heater and put on some warmer clothes. This doesn't mean dressing for the Antarctic - it means putting on a jumper or blanket before you crank up the temperature. Each additional degree adds between 5 and 10 per cent to your energy use - compared to the savings from simply rugging up can equal big savings this winter.

2. Shut the door on wasted energy

Trying to heat the whole house can waste a lot of money. Shut the door to areas you aren't using (like bathrooms and the laundry) and only heat the main rooms you're using.

3. Turn it off

Turn off your heaters before going to bed and when you're leaving the house - it's cheaper and it's safer too. House fires are more common in winter than summer, so consider doing a quick online fire safety audit to reduce your risks. Visit www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au

4. Let the sun shine in

Solar panels may not be suitable for every home and budget but you could still be using the free power from the sun. Open your curtains when the sun is shining on them and close the curtains when the sun moves away. Using the sun's energy will help boost the temperature for free.

5. Don't use the shower to warm up

Hot water accounts for a large chunk of your power bill – about one quarter of the average bill – so try to avoid the temptation of using the shower to get warm. Staying in the shower uses up to 20 times as much energy as getting out and standing under two heat lamps instead. Even a few extra minutes in the shower will add to your power bill.

6. Unplug and rug up

Did you know that home entertainment systems and electronic gadgets are quietly adding to your power bills? Up to 10 per cent of the electricity used in your home is used on gadgets that are on standby. TVs, DVD and video players, game consoles, mobile phone chargers, microwave ovens, music docks and stereos are some of the biggest culprits. Turn off these gadgets at the power point when not using them and consider technology free evenings, playing board games or reading a book.

7. Be active and become a 'swapper'

Swapping car trips for walking or cycling is a great way to save money and keep fit during the winter months. It can make good sense to walk instead of using your car for short journeys. Cars cost a lot of money to run, especially when you're paying for petrol, maintenance and the upfront cost of buying a car (or a second car). People-powered transport is good for your wallet, good for your health and good for the environment too!

8. Use a solar clothes dryer

Clothes dryers are very convenient - but remember you're paying for this convenience. Rather than automatically putting your clothes into the dryer, use free energy from the sun and the wind to dry your clothes whenever you can. You can put clothes racks out in the sun and fresh air on verandahs or dry clothes indoors on a rack when the heater is already on.

9. Replace electric lights with candles

Opt for one to two nights of electric-free lighting by burning candles instead. It’s a great way to save energy, money and provide an instant atmosphere of either romance or spooky fun, depending upon who is around to enjoy it. Stock up on sturdy, slow-burning candles that will cast a fair amount of light for several hours. Be sure to store your candles and matches in a safe place, and always monitor them when lit.

10. Waste not, want not

Worldwide, 30 per cent of food goes to waste. As well as costing you money, this food ends up in our garbage bins and in our tips where it produces methane - a harmful greenhouse gas that's 21 times stronger than the emissions from your car. Much of the food waste in our kitchens comes from poor planning or from buying too much food so use shopping lists and check your pantry and fridge regularly to ensure you use up what's there.

This information is adapted from the Australian Government Your Energy Savings website: www.yourenergysavings.gov.au