What You Can Do To Reduce Your Emissions

Cleaner Strong Resilient

Our household decisions, including the ways we use energy, water, and other natural resources, as well as how we dispose of them, can have a heavy lasting impact on our environment well into the future.

Changing our habits doesn’t have to be a challenge, it can be a lot of fun and may even help you out financially as well as helping reduce your environmental impact.

Find out what you can do to be more sustainable and resilient on a daily basis.

Be an energy expert

Unfortunately, your energy bill isn’t itemised like your mobile phone bill or a shopping receipt, so it can be hard to tell how much energy you are using in your home and which appliances may be consuming the most.

Being an Energy Expert can help you:

  1. Pinpoint the main energy users in your home
  2. Find ways to reduce your energy use
  3. Save you money on your energy bills
  4. Make your home more comfortable to live in

See how you could save electricity in your home by doing a home electricity audit.

Want a greener electricity plan?

Switching to a GreenPower electricity plan is your fastest way access renewable power at your home. With a GreenPower electricity plan, you don’t need to install your own solar, so even if you rent or live in an apartment you can still benefit from purchasing clean green electricity. 

It’s the only government accredited and audited green energy program and it’s ideal for those who can’t install rooftop solar. Both homeowners and renters can switch to GreenPower and you can switch in as little as 10 minutes.

When you opt for a GreenPower electricity plan you’ll help get more electricity from wind and sun made in Australia.

Find out more on the GetGreenPower website

Thinking of getting solar?

Do you want to know how much you can save with solar? Is your roof too shady for solar?

Maybe you’re wondering what the best size solar system is for you, or if it’s time to get a battery?

The not-for-profit SunSPOT solar calculator has been built by solar engineers at the UNSW for the Australian PV Institute, specifically to help householders and small businesses understand the possibilities and benefits of solar on their rooftop.

SunSPOT is free and private to use, plus you won’t be getting any solar sales calls afterwards.

In two minutes you can get an estimate of:

  • your optimal solar system size for the best return on investment
  • the cost of the system
  • how much the solar system will save you in a year.

Find a recent bill with your average daily electricity usage in kWh on it, and head to www.sunspot.org.au

SunSPOT is supported by the Australian, NSW and ACT governments and is a project of the Australian PV Institute and UNSW Sydney.

Be water wise

We hear a lot about the Woronora and Warragamba Dams, but did you know that these dams don’t supply water to the Campbelltown Local Government Area (LGA) or the Macarthur region?

Water for the Macarthur region is supplied by the Nepean, Avon, Cordeaux and Cataract Dams, through several weirs and water filtration plants that collect and treat the water. In fact, the Cataract and Cordeaux Dams supply most of the water for the Macarthur region, which are primarily fed by rainwater.

The combined maximum holding capacity of Nepean, Avon, Cordeaux and Cataract Dams is only 20 per cent of the maximum holding capacity of the Warragamba Dam.

DIY home water audit

Find out where you're using the most water and where you could make savings:

Monitor your water use

Learn how to read your water meter and monitor your water usage.

To find out your daily water use, write down your first meter reading. About the same time the next day write down the second meter reading. The difference between the two readings is your daily water use.

Do this each day for a week to pin point when your household is using the most water and find out where you can make savings.

Identify leaks

Finding and fixing visible leaks is usually simple:

  • To be confident your home doesn't have any hidden leaks check when no water is being used, such as when nobody will be home or late at night (make sure no one flushes the toilet overnight)
  • Write down your meter reading at night, before the last person goes to bed
  • Read the meter again in the morning before anyone starts using the water
  • If the number has increased and you have not used any water, you may have a leak.

Taps and showers

Check the flowrate of your taps and showers to see if you need to install aerators to reduce the water consumption. Aerators on taps and showerheads can still give a great experience while using, with less water.

Note: Stick to a quick shower instead of a bath. A bath can use well over 100 litres of water. A short shower can use less than 30 litres of water.

Appliances and toilets

Check out how much water your toilet uses, the size of the cistern tank can be a good indication if there are no labels visible. Single flush and even some dual flush systems use large amounts of water. You can dramatically reduce water use by installing water efficient dual flush systems.

Find out how your appliances compare to others using the WELS Water Rating and be sure to only use the washing machine and dishwasher when full.

Gardens and outdoors

  • Reduce the amount of garden that requires regular watering
  • Plant local, drought tolerant species and group plants according to their water, sun and nutrient needs
  • Use a soil wetting agent, mulch and only provide enough water for the plants
  • Use tap timers and shut-off valves on your hoses
  • Recycle greywater from the laundry and bathroom to use in the garden using Health Department approved techniques or systems
  • Always ensure that your watering complies with the current water restrictions
  • Swimming pools and spas are big water users. Install a pool cover, to minimise water loss through evaporation
  • Wash your car less frequently and use a car wash – typically the water at a car wash is recycled. If you wash your car at home, always wash it on the lawn not the driveway or path, so chemicals do not go in the stormwater drain and harm the environment
  • Use a broom to clean driveways and footpaths and don’t sweep leaves, dirt or clippings into the gutter or stormwater drain.

Capturing water

Reduce the amount of mains water that you use by installing a rainwater tank and use the water you collect in the garden or have it plumbed into the house.

Saving water at home

Try this simple experiment, to better understand how much water you use around the home:

Hold an empty 1-litre milk carton under a running tap

Time how long it takes to fill

Compare this with the time the tap is running when you wash your hands, brush your teeth or have a shower

Calculate how many litres of water you use while doing these activities. Keep this in mind next time you turn on the tap.

Saving water in the bathroom
  • Taps - make sure they aren't left dripping, and never turn the tap on too far, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and install a water efficient tap or aerator
  • Toilets - use the half-flush
  • Sink - use the plug to rinse when shaving
  • Showers - install a water efficient shower head, and have quicker showers.
Saving water in the kitchen and laundry
  • Sink - use a plug when washing food or dishes
  • Taps - install a water efficient tap or aerator
  • Dishwashers and washing machines - wait for a full load, and when it's time to replace, choose a more water efficient model.
Saving water in the garden
  • Watering - water in the morning or evening instead of the heat of the day, and aim for the roots not the leaves
  • Paths and driveways - use a broom to clean up leaves, grass clippings, dirt, dust or litter
  • Swimming pool - use a cover, to prevent water evaporation
  • Composter - turn left over fruits and veggies into nutrient rich, moisture holding soil
  • Lawns - leave grass cuttings on the lawn to act as natural mulch.

Water wise guidelines

Water Restrictions are now known as the Water Wise Guidelines 

Under the Water Wise Guidelines residents and businesses are not able to:

  • Allow water to run off onto hard surfaces
  • Leave taps and hoses running unattended
  • Allow pools or spas to overflow when being filled
  • Clean hard surfaces such as paths, driveways and paved areas with a hose as part of general cleaning 

To find out more, visit Sydney Water.

Be a waste warrior

Fight waste at home with our tips on avoiding, reducing and re-using waste to keep it out of the general waste bin.

Discover the magical world of worm farming and learn how to make your own worm farm.

Worms don’t have eyes, they breathe through their skin, suck on their food and eat their own weight in food every day! But the best part is these littler critters turn your leftover food into rich soil-like castings which are great for feeding house plants, adding to potting soils or top dressing around plants.

To support your worm farm, why not also make your own compost.

  • Composting is a cheap and easy, returns vital nutrients to the soil, improves soil structure and keeps moisture in the soil.
  • It’s also 100% natural and does not require any expensive artificial fertilisers.
  • A compost heap is a living system containing millions of microorganisms that act as natural decomposers to your food waste.
  • Unlike worm farms, compost heaps can also be fed by grass clippings, newspaper, hair and vacuum dust.

You can also try some smart shopping to reduce the waste you bring into your home and reduce your carbon footprint.