It is cold outside but parents can save on heating this winter by taking a look at eco-friendly ways to keep the home and their babies warm. This includes a lot of cuddles, baby sleeping bags, cute winter hats, ditching space heaters for centralised heating, installing solar panels to cover a portion of the energy bill, and improving your home’s insulation. Cranking up the heat can cost $163 per month, according to the Sydney Morning Herald and many parents who struggle to make ends meet wish it was summer again. In 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that energy costs represent approximately 5% of a household’s gross weekly income and it is no different five years later. To save on energy costs, parents have the following choices.
Lots of Cuddles
Skin-to-skin contact can keep your baby warm and will also give you some time to bond when it’s cold outside. Apart from the heat transfer, cuddles also have other benefits. A study done by social epidemiologist Joanna Maselko and her team found that children who are showered with lots of cuddles experience less anxiety when they grow up. This means cuddling with your child during winter does not only save you hundreds of dollars in your energy bills, it’s good for your child’s mental health as well.
Australia has the highest number of household solar per capita comprising 16.5% of the total number of households in the country and you can join their ranks too if you would like to reduce your carbon footprint and teach your children about the benefits of renewable energy. Apart from these benefits, using solar can save you a lot of money on your heating needs. A 5 kilowatt system costs $5,000 while battery storage costs $2,000. This might seem expensive, but the system can pay you back in energy savings within the next five years and you’d be able to use it for 20 years more. When Nick Pfitzner installed a battery for his solar power, he told news.com.au that his bill dropped from $660 to $50.
Centralised Heating v. Space Heaters
Space heaters are made to keep small spaces warm but they are not a sensible choice when it comes to heating the whole home. Space heaters are also not enough to keep your children’s rooms warm especially if the rooms are spacious. Aside from this, a 600 watt space heater costs about $80 a month to run, making it expensive for parents on a budget. Centralised heating, on the other hand, can keep the whole house warm without using too much electricity or none at all. Cameron Chisholm of the Grattan Institute says that centralised heating systems such as hydronic heating are more efficient because gas heats quickly. However, parents who do not want to use gas can always opt for electric central heating.
Sleeping Bags, Winter Hats, and Improving Your Home’s Insulation
The Lancet reveals that Sweden has fewer people who die from the cold than Australia. While Australian winters are mild, Adrian Barnett, Professor of Public Health from the Queensland University of Technology notes that Australians have to endure lower temperatures during wintertime due to poor insulation. Insulating the home is the best way to keep the heat in during the colder months.
According to Choice, households can save approximately $450 a year if the home’s insulation is in tiptop shape. Parents on a very tight budget can rely on sleeping bags to keep the children warm during the night but if this is not enough, adding a winter hat into the mix is a good idea. When its cold out, parents need to find the balance between a home that is warm and cosy and the resulting energy bill. An environmentally friendly system is also ideal and applying any or all of the suggestions above can help parents decrease their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint along the way.