Australia's catastrophic bushfires have left thousands of Aussies across New South Wales and Victoria without power, a situation that could last several weeks. Additionally, damage to the Snowy Hydro's power transmission lines has reduced the stability of the East Coast's power supply.
To help out, the government is urging all Australians to reduce their energy use - which will have the added benefit of lowering your power bill. Here's some simple ways you can help.
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs
Energy efficient light bulbs can be up to 85 per cent more efficient than regular lightbulbs, and while they cost marginally more (by only a few dollars), the longterm cost and energy saving is worth it. LED globes will also last between 5 and 10 times longer than older halogen globes, meaning you don't have to replace them as often.
This handy guide from the Australian Government's Energy Rating website should give you a better idea about the longterm saving associated with energy efficient globes.
Turn off lights in the rooms you aren't using
This one might seem obvious, but when you're distracted or busy, it's hard to remember if you've switched off all the lights that aren't in use around you. If you're working in a home office, you don't need the kitchen light on, even if you're frequenting your cupboard for snacks. Likewise, if you're snacking in the kitchen, you can easily switch the lights off in your office.
This includes any outdoor lighting that you may not think about. If you're tucked in bed and the porch light is going unnecessarily, make the extra effort to go out and switch it off before drifting off to sleep.
Don't leave your devices on standby
Home PCs and gaming consoles often have a secondary 'standby' mode that allows them to turn on at a moments notice. For gamers, this means they can immediately relaunch a game and pick up where they left off. While this mode is convenient and usually low power, longterm use can still chew through significant energy usage.
Setting these devices to 'off' mode will help you reduce your overall power usage and conserve energy, at minimal cost to your convenience.
Switch off your idle 'vampire' devices at the source
This is another technique for electronic devices with infrequent use. Otherwise known as 'vampire power', some devices tend to steal energy even when it's not needed. Rather than simply turning them off, you might like to completely unplug devices that you aren't likely to use right away. This removes the possibility of them sapping unnecessary power.
Take up a new hobby
If you tend to spend long hours using your laptop, computer or TV to watch Netflix or game, it's time to change up your habits. In the next few weeks, consider picking up a book, or taking up drawing. A new hobby doesn't have to take up your life, but an hour or two spent reading, rather than using your laptop, can reduce your energy usage significantly, and lend you a good little distraction.
Other hobbies with minimal power usage include: knitting, painting, learning a musical instrument, playing board games or my personal favourite hobby, sleeping.
Any of these tips will help to reduce your power usage and ease the burden on Australia's currently unstable energy supply.
Australia is facing a catastrophic bushfire season. It's not yet summer but bushfires have already ravaged parts of NSW, Queensland and Western Australia with the first catastrophic fire danger alert being recorded in Australian history. But a lot of the dialogue has turned to how it got this bad. Climate change is being touted as one of the major factors contributing to this crisis but with politicians playing down those claims and even censoring discussion of it, let's take a look at the links between climate change and one of Australia's most devastating bushfire seasons on record.