Blog | 25th Jul, 2011

Simple and smart gives a head start in dealing with rising energy costs

Despite all the argy-bargy about clean energy, the carbon tax and burning brown coal, most of us agree that we need to find ways to use less energy, not more.

Many of the techniques I heard for keeping warm in winter at the Green Leaders Workshop I ran for St Laurence Community Services in Geelong last week, related to simple, old fashioned, common sense solutions that don’t depend on using lots of electricity.

One participant, who works as a community service maintenance man for elderly people living alone, said that there’s a lot of simple things he can help with that keep his clients warm, and save them money on heating. Like sealing up drafts, reminding them to keep the curtains closed when the heater is on, and fixing leaking taps, especially hot taps. “And once we get talking”, he said, “older folks have plenty to say about the careful use of energy.”

The old tea cosy, the draught snake and the lap blanket might not seem like cutting edge sustainability, but it’s all about insulation. If you’ve got heat, you do what you can to keep it in!

One of Melbourne’s daily papers calls this approach “going back to the stone age”, but it’s actually a smart response to our energy situation. The costs to our society and our environment of generating electricity are going up, so it makes sense for us all to experiment with ways to use less.

A clear message from the St Laurence workshop was that some members of the community certainly need support to keep warm and healthy. Rediscovering some of the cheap, simple actions that everyone took for granted a couple of generations ago, and which makes us less dependent on high electricity use, are a great head start in providing that support.