The number of New Zealander's aged 65 and over has doubled since 1980, and is likely to double again by 2036.
Many people at this stage of life choose downsizing to a smaller home, with lower running costs (like heating). Of course, for many the convenience of managing a smaller property is appealing in its own right.
Regardless of your motives for moving house, in principle, living in a smaller property should result in energy savings.
Here are our 4 tips to ensuring this actually happens.
Speak to your energy provider before you move
It is very important to speak to your energy provider before you move house so they can arrange for your electricity, natural gas and LPG to be connected at your new property. Organising this ahead of time could save you a headache later on when you're trying to focus on other things (like packing up your belongings).
Whether you're an existing Genesis Energy customer or looking to become one you can easily arrange the connection of your utilities online through our Home Move Hub by completing our simple online form.
Assistance for seniors
Depending on your personal circumstances you may be eligible for assistance with your utilities. There are many non-profit organisations and online resources that can help you understand what is available to you. The website for Work and Income (1) is especially effective in outlining places you can go for help.
Know your new space
Knowing how your new home is constructed can help you evaluate where you can save money. Construction trends and standards have varied over the decades so depending on the age of your home there are different actions that you can take. Some improvements such as adding insulation, replacing or double glazing windows or upgrading appliances can be expensive investments but will save you money over time.
Other improvements that can be made when moving into a new house include adding windows treatments such as curtains and temporary glazing, which will help keep things warmer in cool months and cooler during summer. Filling in cracks and crevasses in walls and windows will also keep you cosy. Sometimes the easiest repairs can mean the biggest return month-to-month.
Change the way you use energy and save money
During winter months a significant volume of home energy use can go to heating.
If you've got a heat pump or similar, controlling your thermostat and closing rooms not in use can save money each month. Investing in an energy efficient water heater and controlling the temperature can mean savings. Also, turn it off if you are away. If you're a Genesis Energy customer, you can download the Genesis Energy Mobile App. Using your smart meter, the app shows you how much electricity you've been using throughout the year, month or day and gain insights into when you use electricity and how much it costs.
How you use appliances can affect your energy bill. The position of the appliance, how you operate it and maintain it all affect how much energy is used.(2) When you are moving your new appliances into your home pay attention to their positioning. Placing the refrigerator next to the stove or oven can make it work harder costing you more to keep your food cool.
Lighting in homes consumes between 8 and 15% of the average household electricity budget.(2) By switching to energy efficient bulbs or small lamps, you could save yourself lots in the long term.
(1) Work and Income for 65 years and older
(2) Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Industry, Innovation and Science)