How to electrify your home: Tips and tricks for building and renovating
There’s always a lot to think about when you’re building or renovating. An important part of the process is considering how you’ll be using your home in the future. If you electrify your home, you could enjoy the benefits of using energy efficient technology and more renewable energy, which could help reduce your household’s overall energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Here's a simple guide to electrification and how you can plan ahead to electrify your home as part of your building or renovation project.
What is home electrification?
You need electricity to power the lights and appliances in your home –all-electric homes take this one step further.
The more of your home you can power with electricity, compared to other sources, the more you can take advantage of energy efficient electric technology and electricity sourced from solar, wind power and other renewable energy sources.
In an electrified home, your overall carbon emissions could be reduced in two main ways: by using less energy through efficient electric appliances and by using electricity generated by renewable energy sources, which could also help to reduce your energy costs.
Plan ahead to electrify your home
When you’re planning for your home building or renovation project, look for ways you could use the latest technology to your advantage. Electrifying your home could involve choosing the most efficient electric versions of your appliances, installing solar panels or choosing an electric vehicle to replace your petrol car.
As part of your planning, consider choosing all-electric systems and appliances. Analysis conducted by Renew, a national, not-for-profit that advocates for sustainable living and consumer choice, found that complete electrification of the home with efficient electric appliances could help to reduce your energy costs over the long-term when you’re building a new home.
Efficient electric appliances could cost more to buy up front but will have lower running costs than less efficient options. They could save you money over time, especially if you have solar panels and use the electricity generated by them when the sun is shining.
If you’re exploring ways to electrify your home, having a solar PV system helps but you don’t necessarily need to have one to enjoy the benefits of electrification. Powering your home with electricity as much as possible, compared to other energy sources, means you could reduce your household carbon emissions and electricity costs, not just because of the source of the electricity, but thanks to the efficiency of electric appliances.
Choosing an efficient heat pump electric hot water system and using a reverse-cycle air conditioner to heat your home are likely to have the biggest impact on your energy use. These two sources of energy consumption are often a very large proportion of home energy use.
Choosing an induction stove top and electric oven can also help electrify your home. If you start by making a plan to electrify these appliances before your existing ones come to the end of their life, or as part of your building or renovating process, you’ll be ready to enjoy the benefits when the time comes.
Consider electric hot water systems
Heating hot water for your home can use a lot of energy – so a heat pump hot water system is a great place to start when you’re planning to electrify.
Traditional electric resistive water heaters use electricity to directly heat the water itself, while a heat pump uses electricity to power a compressor. This technology can transfer more heat energy from the surrounding air to the water, which makes this option a lot more energy efficient compared with traditional electric options.
Since an electric heat pump uses less electricity to generate heat, compared to other instant hot water system options, it could be a great way to reduce your overall energy use as part of your electric home.
Once your building or renovation is complete, you could make the most of your heat pump and set a timer to heat your water during the middle of the day. This is when the air temperature is higher and if you have solar panels you’ll be using the renewable energy generated by your solar system.
Make the most efficient heating and cooling choices
Space heating and cooling can account for around 40% of your home’s energy use. Investing in the most energy efficient option as part of your building or renovation plans could help you to reduce your energy use and carbon emissions.
If you choose reverse-cycle air conditioning to cool your home in summer and provide heat in winter, it will generally use heat pump technology. This option is more energy efficient than other types of space heating options, such as gas, oil, ceramic or element heaters.
When you’re planning your building or renovation project, it is worth checking your plans for ways that you could implement more energy efficient design features. Some features to consider include quality insulation, north-facing windows to make the most of natural light and warmth and windows which can allow the breeze to flow through your home in summer.
Sometimes, some simple changes to your house plans could help your home be more energy efficient and cost-effective in the long term. You can use your building or renovation project as a time to embrace more energy efficient habits, such as closing doors to sections of your home that you are not using to keep the warm or cool air in.
Explore your options for an electrified kitchen
Building and renovating can be the perfect time to upgrade your kitchen appliances and improve energy efficiency.
Choosing an induction cooktop could be the most energy efficient option. Induction generates heat in the bottom of the pan rather than in the stove hob, so there’s less chance for heat to escape between the hob and the pan. Not only can induction be more efficient, it is also a fast way to get a pan to high heat and can offer added temperature control, safety features and be easier to clean.
Consider the most efficient electric appliances in other areas of your kitchen fit-out too. Your oven, dishwasher and fridge will all contribute to your overall energy use, so the more energy efficient choices you can make, the better.
It could be simpler than you think to consider electrification as part of your plans for home build or renovation. WA’s intelligent energy future is here and we’re here to help everyone understand the possibility of an electric future. Find out more about how WA's energy landscape is changing.