Small changes around your home will result in dramatically less greenhouse gas emissions... without cutting back on your quality of life.

Switch to Green Power - For only a few dollars more a month, you can make sure that your electricity comes from 100% renewable energy sources, cutting your electricity emissions to zero.

Install a solar hot water heater - Unless you are on Green power, electricity is the most greenhouse intensive way to heat water. Switch to a solar system, heat pump or 5 star gas hot water system and you will drastically decrease your greenhouse pollution. 

An electric water heater produces about 3.2 tonnes of greenhouse pollution in a year. A gas-boosted solar system would reduce this by about 90%, a 5-star gas water heater about 80%, and an electric-boosted solar system about 70%.

Replace your showerhead with a water efficient one - Replacing one old-style showerhead with a water-efficient one will save around 44,000 litres of water a year, and up to 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse pollution from hot water heating (depending on what type of hot water heater you have). 

Turn your hot water heater to only heat to the perfect shower temperature, instead of heating it to scalding all day, only to add cold water when you use it.  The ideal is a storage temperature of around 55 C (any less risks growth of Legionella) and an outlet temperature below 50 C (to avoid scalds).

Heat and cool your home less - Heating and cooling produces about 3 tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year per household.
•    Turn the heating down in winter and the cooling target temperature up in summer - each degree change in the right direction can save 10% of your energy use! A 10% saving is 300kg of Greenhouse gases saved
•    Heat or cool only one room or area that you are using, or not at all (put on a jumper or open the window to the breeze!)
•    In winter, use a fan to circulate the heated air that accumulates under the ceiling.

Fans in Summer are great, but don't leave them running in an empty room.  Although they cool you when in their draft, the energy they use ends up warming the room a little.

Insulate your walls and ceilings - Insulation can cut heating and cooling costs by 10 per cent, which is over 300kg of greenhouse pollution per year, not to mention up to $300 saved on your energy bills. Talk to your hardware store or a green retailer about bulk insulation (such as batts) to keep the heat inside in winter, and reflective insulation (foil) to keep radiant heat out in summer.

Reflect on your roof - Reflective finishes and materials are available for rooves. This is even better than insulation because it doesn't just keep the heat out of your house - it keeps it out of the planet by reflecting the light back into space. A reflective surface also acts as insulation in winter.

Turn off standby power - Standby power accounts for around 10% of electricity use in an average household. If you turn all of your appliances off at the wall you could reduce your household's greenhouse emissions by up to 700kg per year.

Minimise your food waste - Around 40% of household waste is made up of food. In 2004, Australians threw away a total of $5.3 billion on all forms of food (fresh, takeaway, frozen). Buy less food that could have been eaten but went to waste, this will account to less energy from food production being wasted. Put any food scraps in a compost bin or worm farm, this will cut down on greenhouse pollution produced in landfill and keep the nutrients in your garden.

Install low-energy lighting -  Replace all old-style incandescent globes with compact fluorescent globes or, better still, LEDs.  (Cost comparison chart - US *2017 update)

Avoid halogen downlights. If you already have standard halogen lights, replace them with energy efficient IRC halogen lights. Compact fluorescents, T8 strip fluorescent and IRC halogen lights can all be put into existing light fittings. 

Energy-efficient appliances - You'll own your appliances for many years to come so aim to have the most energy efficient and smallest ones you can. When buying appliances check the star rating and choose the one that uses the least energy per year. See for a comprehensive list of energy efficient appliances and their star ratings.

Maintain your existing fridges to be as efficient as possible. Ensure the seals are completely intact and gripping. Position your fridge so it has air space around it to expel the heat it generates (especially behind and above it) and keep it away from the sun. Ensure any coils at the back of the fridge are clean.  You can save up to 300kg of greenhouse pollution (and money!) per year by doing these simple steps.

Eat less meat - Animal products make up the biggest part of Australians' carbon footprint - 34% on average. Meat, particularly beef, has a very high environmental impact, using much water and land to produce it, and creating significant greenhouse pollution. If you reduce your intake by two 150g serves of red meat each week, you'll save 20,000 litres of water and 600kg of greenhouse pollution in a year. Milk and cheese are here to stay, but we need to bring our dairy consumption down to a more sustainable level. If you reduced your dairy intake by just 2 cups of milk (or equivalent) per week, you would save 13,000 litres of water and 250kg of greenhouse pollution in a year (but please ensure you're still getting enough calcium).

Take fewer flights - One return domestic flight in Australia creates about half a tonne of greenhouse pollution (based on Melbourne to Sydney). One return international flight creates about 9 tonnes (based on 30,000kms which is Melbourne to New York return). By avoiding a flight and holidaying or working closer to home, you will save significant greenhouse emissions.

Cycle, walk or take public transport rather than drive your car - Cycling 10km to work and back twice a week instead of driving saves about 500 kg of greenhouse pollution each year through petrol savings, and saves you about $850. You'll be healthier too.

Clothes washing - use the cold wash cycle whenever possible, and always use the sun and wind to dry your washing.

Kettles - Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle and, if possible, avoid electric kettles.  (You can make a cup of tea in a microwave: place a teabag in a cup of cold water and microwave for about 90 seconds, depending on the power level.  This avoids heating far more water than necessary.  But it is dangerous to microwave a cup of water without the teabag.  The water can become superheated; when you try to take it out it may suddenly boil and scald you.)

Dishwashers - Turn off the drying phase of dishwashers and save 60% of their energy use.

Install solar panels to run the air conditioner or pool heater - If you have an air conditioner, or are considering installing one, get a solar panel to run it! Air conditioning is the major cause of peak electricity demand in summer - that's when there is a spike in demand for electricity on a hot day and we have to turn extra power stations on just to meet the demand.  A hot day is the perfect time for a solar panel to be running your air conditioner!
Solar pool heating is also the best way to heat your pool - talk to your pool company to find out more. This can range from solar panels through to systems that run the water through black piping on the roof.

Even the pool pump takes a surprising amount of energy read more 

Plan for shade, sun and breezes -  Adapt your house to make the best use of available natural light and warmth in winter, and allow for cross ventilation for the hot summer months. Plant trees for shade and install eaves to protect windows from the summer sun.

It is not always obvious where the most savings can be made: