Strife at 39…

Riveting photo eh?

At the end of the last school term something happened in my home that has never occurred before. One of my children completed a school project without any help from me. Call me a sucker but I’ve never been able to resist the pleas for help and could often be found gluing glitter, sewing tutus, making volcanoes or researching “famous Australians” late into the evening. To my mind, school projects were invented, not to test children, rather they are a direct assessment of an adult’s ability to safely use scissors after a few glasses of red.

So imagine my delight when Grace, along her two assignment partners, were given 100% for a model of a sustainable home, complete with water tanks, compost, a dam, solar panelling on the roof, the use of recycled and sustainable materials wherever possible including insulation, piping, timber, glass and eco-friendly paint ~ all this without any input from me. Oh, I do admit to buying her a small plastic duck to look cute on the dam.

Trouble is Grace is now a self-appointed energy cop. She roams around our house, randomly turning off switches, unplugging appliances and is insisting that we buy some chooks and a worm farm. With the latter, she forgets about our designer dogs who would happily eat raw chicken complete with feathers and enjoy ferreting about in worm castings resulting in the need for daily hose downs.

Chicken killer

Chicken killer

She also insists on confining our use of electricity whenever possible and is trying to introduce “Edwardian Week”, whereby we will go without power for an entire week on a regular basis. This pronouncement made my husband snort with laughter.

She’s undertaken an energy audit on our home and we’ve been found sadly lacking. I thought she was going to have some kind of apoplectic fit when she tallied up the downlights ~ 39 in all. Even I was shocked at that number. And Grace is right. On the whole, downlights are energy sucking parasites; sitting happily in one’s ceiling, guzzling power and, in some cases, heating themselves to the point of becoming a fire risk.

You can imagine her delight then, when I recently visited the offices of Origin Energy and spent the morning with a remarkable bunch of people who are totally dedicated to educating the general public on the most sustainable, efficient and affordable way of using electricity and gas. There’s no doubt that for the next little while we are all stuck with using coal-based energy, but Origin is working hard to offer alternatives into the future.

Electricity is such a grunge purchase isn’t it? We know we need it but on the whole hate paying for it. This does surprise me as I often wonder whether people actually realize how much goes in to delivering it to our door. The same could be said for water. Personally, I think that if we are informed and sensible with our use of both, they are priced very reasonably. I know there are many that will disagree with this view.

Origin have given me their 6 top tips for becoming energy savvy and reducing the stress you feel when you see your electricity bill in the letterbox:

  1. Grace is right to switch appliances off. Standby power can equate to up to 9% of your electricity use, so if you’re not using something, turn it off at the power point.
  2. A short shower is a good shower. Household hot water makes up about 25% of home electricity usage, so a shorter shower can help reduce your bills as well as saving water. If you can, put some buckets in the shower with you to capture the water then use it to water your pot plants.
  3. Origin offers flexible payment options at no extra cost to you. So you can make payments weekly, fortnightly or monthly to align with your budget and decrease your stress levels.
  4. With the summer heat still upon us, it’s helpful to remember that a fan uses up to 85% less energy than an air conditioner. It’s not always possible to go without the icy chill of the air conditioner, but even if you can for a while, it may help take the heat out of your next bill.
  5. And finally, it’s a big one, but did you know that roof insulation can save you up to 45% on heating and cooling costs? If you don’t have it, it’s well worth investigating.
  6. If you’re not sure you’re on the best plan for your needs, it’s worth giving your energy provider a call to have a check. The Origin team is now open from 7am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, so they’re there to chat when you are.  The best number to call is 132 461.

Given the warm weather, Origin Energy have given me a Sunbeam fan valued at over $100 to give away.  Simply comment on this post and you’re in the running. Now there’s a neat way of keeping cool and saving money! THIS COMP. IS NOW FINISHED.

And tell me, what’s the last thing you did to help with a school project?

Until next time.

This is a sponsored post.


  1. says

    I helped my 13 year old niece create a model of an energy efficient home. It was really interesting for both of us and she did a great job adding all the energy saving features. It’s wonderful this being taught in school.

  2. says

    Oh I love that Grace has learnt so much about energy efficiency and has become so passionate about it. As for helping with school projects? Hmmm – that would be the farm diorama which he had no interest in whatsoever so I made it while trying not to make it look Mamma-made! haha

  3. Debs says

    How interesting! This made me go and count our lights and I counted 33 down lights, 9 regular bulb ceiling lights and one triple mega-energy-guzzling heater light in a bathroom. That is a lot of lights. I’m not super fond of the fact that certain switches in our house can turn on up to 6 down-lights at a time. We have switched them all over to the lower energy ones but I think you can get LED ones that are even more efficient. I often turn to just using a lamp in those larger rooms in the evenings and luckily our house gets a lot of light so I try and cut down on using them as much as possible.

  4. says

    Immy had to make an All About You poster when she was in kindy and I literally sat on my hands so that she could do it her way. Hard to do, especially given some of the posters that I had already seen that most definitely did not look child constructed 😉

  5. says

    Gosh… my kids are going to FAIL primary school! I was always the one begging my mum for help. I love that your mini eco-warrior is on a rampage and I hope she gets her way with Edwardian week (it’ll make a great post!). My favourite energy saving tip is to keep your air-con at 25 degrees in summer, which is a nice comfortable temperature and uses 10 less energy than 21 degrees.

  6. says

    Love that kids are learning about this!! Hmm school project… last year my son’s classroom was very play based and they actually didnt have any take home projects! But I did volunteer in the classroom cutting up lots of decorations for the end of year celebrations, so I guess that would be my answer :-)

  7. says

    Perfect learning opp for Grace.

    Great tips. Energy bills have been the killer of our joy since becoming a one-income household. I love a long hot shower. I think it’s me and not the kids that could be making the difference.

    I hate having the air-con on because I also LOVE the summer heat (My fingers are crossed that it hasn’t eluded us this year and it’s still on it’s way). Hubby doesn’t like the heat though so a fan could be a nice compromise. He he!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>