LOW ENERGY LIVING
We use a lot of energy in our everyday lives. Cast your mind back to the last power outage. Did your heart sink as you realised that your mobile battery was at 2%, you couldn’t watch TV or make microwave popcorn and the ice-cream in the fridge melted? The minor and temporary inconvenience of a power outage is the tip of a very large energy iceberg.
Each year we are using more and more energy. One way of measuring how much more we are using is Overshoot Day. In 2017, August 2 was Overshoot Day says the Global Footprint Network. What this means is that in just over seven months, we, the world’s population, had used up the natural resources such as food and fuel Earth can generate in twelve months. As Overshoot Day moves earlier and earlier each year, we dip more and more into the super fund of natural resources we should be saving for our children’s and their children’s future. What can we do to make a difference? We can start with adopting some everyday habits that help to reduce our energy use. We don’t necessarily have to go without; but we need to be more aware of the energy we use in our daily lives, be more energy efficient and waste less.
Our energy-saving tips
- Walk, ride a bike, carpool or take public transport – it saves money and reduces your carbon footprint as well as increasing your activity levels. Talk about win, win, win!
- Buy healthy whole foods such as oats, brown rice, vegetables, fruit, milk, fresh meat, legumes and eggs, and cut back on (cut out?) highly processed packaged foods that require more energy to produce in the first place and are likely high in salt, saturated fats and highly refined carbohydrates (starches and sugars) that spike BGLs.
- Plan your meals and shopping trips to avoid emergency fast food drive-throughs and pizza deliveries.
Cooling and heating
- Adjust your air-conditioning thermostat to more moderate settings to make it use less energy, such as 18–20 degrees Celsius in winter and 25–27 degrees in summer.
- Wear more clothes in winter to save on heating (and remember keeping yourself warm uses kilojoules/calories and every little bit helps).
- Close the door on rooms you’re not using and exclude draughts.
- To save energy on water-heating, wash clothes in cold water, only run the dishwasher when its full (and in the middle of the night for off-peak energy pricing), keep showers short and install a water-saving shower head and flow-limiters on taps.
- Air-dry clothes rather than use a clothes dryer.
- Ensure your fridge is set to the correct temperature – around 3–4 degrees Celsius and get rid of that extra fridge – it’s costing you a lot to run.
- Don’t open the fridge door too much so it doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cold.
- Use the BBQ outside on hot days – cooking inside heats the house and makes your cooling system work harder.
- Use your microwave oven or pressure cooker rather than your oven – it is more energy efficient.
- Defrost frozen foods in the fridge overnight instead of in the microwave.
- Use the correct size burner for your saucepan – excess heat wastes energy.
- If using your oven, think about cooking two things at once.
Thanks to Rachel Ananin AKA TheSeasonalDietitian.com for her assistance with this article.
Nicole Senior is an Accredited Nutritionist, author, consultant, cook, food enthusiast and mother who strives to make sense of nutrition science and delights in making healthy food delicious. Contact: You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or check out her website.