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Energy-efficient outdoor equipment
Many households have a range of lawn and garden equipment, power tools and machinery, a barbeque or other facilities for outdoor cooking; not to mention ponds, pools and spas. Without some planning, outdoor equipment could significantly add to your home energy use and costs—including more maintenance time, and increased water use and waste created by your household. For a typical home, maintaining an in-ground pool alone could add up to 30 per cent to your household energy use.
As outdoor entertaining areas become more elaborate the number of gadgets and equipment we require is also increasing. These changes combined with rising energy costs make understanding your ongoing energy requirements as well as choosing choosing energy-efficient outdoor equipment even more important.
It's not only about having the right product—how you use and care for your equipment can also make a difference to your overall energy consumption. Our outdoor living guide can also help you plan and manage your outdoor areas by reducing waste, saving you water, energy and money.
By carefully considering your needs before you invest in new products for your backyard you can save energy and money, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. When you select outdoor equipment or replace an existing product, consider what sort of power it will use—gas, electricity, or petrol—and whether a manual tool will do the job. Think about buying the most energy-efficient outdoor equipment that is right for your needs.
The running costs of appliances and some outdoor equipment can add up to more than you realise over the product's lifetime. Considering energy use in addition to purchase price and product features will save you money and energy over time. Selecting the best quality product that you can afford so it lasts longer will also avoid the added energy use required to produce a new product. It's also a good idea to factor in the likely maintenance and repair costs to get a true picture of the cost of an item.
You can save money and reduce energy use by buying the right outdoor equipment for your needs and using it efficiently. How you install your equipment, operate it and maintain it will affect how much energy is used and how long an item will last. For example, allowing the panel of your solar pond-pump to become dirty will make it work harder to keep your pond clean. Leaving your pool pump on unnecessarily can also waste a lot of energy. Well maintained BBQs, power tools and lawn equipment will not only work better, they will cost less in terms of repairs.
Standby mode can also use a lot of energy even while the appliance isn't being used. If you switch your power tools and outdoor equipment off at the wall when you aren't using them, this will ensure that you're not using and paying for energy even while the product's not in use.
Think about how you will dispose of outdoor equipment, either when you're updating an item or at the end of its life. Equipment still in working condition can have a second life. Consider giving it to friends and family, or selling it second-hand. There are plenty of online organisations where you can rent out, sell, swap or give away unwanted items. You could also contact your local charitable organisation for information on how to donate equipment to those in need.
Your local council will be able to provide information on the best way to dispose of used appliances and equipment that have come to the end of their life. Some companies offer a pick-up and recycling service to remove unwanted items so they can be broken down into their component parts and won't simply end up as land-fill. Check Planet Ark's RecyclingNearYou website for more information.
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