Produced by Climate Change Australia - Clarence Branch
clarenceclimate(at) yahoo(dot)com (dot)au

Policy changes in the home


In Australia, electricity generation is the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution because we burn coal to produce electricity.

Policies and actions

  • Switch off the light when you leave the room
  • Switch appliances completely off - don't leave TVs, computer, microwave or DVD on standby.
  • Purchase appliances with the highest Energy Star rating.
  • Choose a fan, not an air-conditioner
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They provide as much light and use 80% less power.
  • Use the clothes line to dry your washing and wash your laundry in cold water.
  • If the hot water thermostat is adjustable, turn it down to 55 degrees C.
  • Invest in a solar hot water system, or an instantaneous gas water heater.
  • Only use the washing machine and dishwasher when there is a full load.
  • Only switch on the drinks fridge for parties.
  • Subscribe to Green Power.
  • Reconsider the backyard pool - as well as being a lot of work, they cost $250 per year in electricity (at current rates which will rise), and generate 2.2 tonnes of CO 2.
  • Consider investing in solar power. There are government subsidies available to install solar grid feed systems, where householders can sell power back to the provider.


Energy is needed to produce materials and products, transport them to you, and then dispose of them.

Policies and actions

  • Reduce the amount of waste you produce - buy in bulk and refuse disposable items.
  • Refuse excess packaging - reusable shopping bags are stronger and last longer.
  • Re-use - consider buying second hand.
  • Recycle and buy items made from recycled materials. The energy saved from recycling one aluminium can could run a TV for three hours. Paper that rots in landfill generates methane - a very powerful greenhouse gas.


Greenhouse emissions from transport have increased by 20% from 1990 to 2002 and are growing strongly. These currently represent 15% of the total greenhouse emissions in NSW. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the journey is every bit as important as the destination.

Policies and actions

  • Look at an alternative - take a bus, ride a bike, share a trip (car pool) or walk. Or even work at home occasionally. All these will also help reduce congestion on our roads, and the bridge.
  • Small is beautiful. Think of buying a small car when replacing your current vehicle - they use much less fuel, meaning less emissions; are more powerful and safer than ever before; are easier to park, and much, much cheaper.
  • Stay in tune. Keeping your car in good running order with regular maintenance, oil changes and tune-ups improves performance and reduces emissions.
  • Keep up the pressure. Under-inflated tyres can reduce your vehicle performance and increase fuel consumption by 6%.
  • Drive smart - accelerate moderately and don't speed.
  • Don't clutter your car - bull bars, roof racks, and heavy things in the boot all increase the drag on your car and decrease fuel economy.


You can cut back on both greenhouse gas emissions in your garden while you use less water. It is important to remember that, not only is water a scarce commodity in much of Australia, but the pumping and treatment of that water requires large amounts of electricity, which in turn produces greenhouse gases.

Policies and actions

  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your garden, and replace it with native shrubs and trees. Your garden will be cooler, and growing trees and shrubs take CO 2 from the atmosphere.
  • When mowing, raise the blades to leave at least 2-3cm of lawn leaf.
  • Compost garden and kitchen wastes - use this to improve your soils rather than artificial fertilisers.
  • Mulch your garden to keep the soil cooler and moister - you'll need to water much less, and soil microbes will survive.
  • Grow your own fruit and vegetables, or buy locally-grown produce in preference to produce trucked in from interstate or air-freighted from overseas.