This branded content for ActewAGL.
Having grown up in Moruya, Rachael Turner has plenty of salty, sandy memories of days spent at the beach, punctuated by quick dashes back to her mum and dad's business, The South Heads Store, across the road from the surf club, when it was all hands on deck serving customers for the lunch rush.
"Then we'd re-apply the sunscreen, and get back to the beach, always making sure we were out of the water by dusk," she said. "We knew not to stay longer so we didn't become shark bait."
Ms Turner left Moruya at 18 to study business at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, but the area has always lured her back.
Over the last few years, the former Moruya Surf Lifesaving Club Nipper, surf lifesaver and marathon surfboat competitor, has been introducing her husband Vijay and two young children Bonnie and Max - now keen surf club Nippers themselves - to the local lifestyle joys.
Now, as the General Manager Retail of local energy supplier ActewAGL, she's based in Canberra but come the weekend she and her family head to Barlings Beach where they're building a new home.
"We previously had an on-site van at Moruya but when land became available at Barlings Beach we made the decision to build," said Ms Turner.
"I love the area - it was a great place to grow up - and I always wanted to have a place back here. Over recent years, I've enjoyed checking out all the little beaches I never visited when I was younger. We fell in love with Barlings Beach."
As you would expect, Ms Turner's new South Coast home is being designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind.
Her new home will be fully electric with a high energy efficiency rating. Key features include LED lighting, an efficient heat pump hot water system, skylights to make the most of natural light during the day, as well as SolarHub solar panels and a battery energy storage system to reduce emissions and energy costs.
"Safety and quality were top of mind in our decision to choose SolarHub for the purchase and installation of these products," Ms Turner said. "Like ActewAGL, SolarHub is local and has a great reputation for quality and service - they've also provided the solar and battery storage system for our home in Canberra."
As well as the larger investments to create a more energy efficient home, there are many daily habits Ms Turner said can help households reduce their energy use, tame their bills and support sustainability.
In the current cooler months there are some small changes you can make that can have a big impact.
"Try turning things down a notch with air-conditioning," she said. "Every degree you lower your thermostat will save up to 10 per cent on heating bills - we recommend a setting between 18 and 20 degrees. And make sure you turn your heater off when you go out.
"Also, make the sun your best friend. Passive solar heating is the least expensive way to heat a home. Open the curtains and blinds on your home's northern side and let the sunshine in to heat it for free. But don't forget to close them at night to keep warmth inside.
"And embrace the cold a little. I turn the water mixer all the way to cold and only use the hot water when I really need it. Washing your clothes in cold water is also a good idea - hot water can increase your energy costs by up to 90 per cent."
Get energy advice
Making sure its South Coast customers can easily get the assistance they need is the intent behind ActewAGL's launch of its new Energy Bar service and information hubs offering advice from a team of local advisers - in person.
As well as finding out how to lower your usage, you can check if your electricity plan is best for your needs, or arrange all the details if you're moving house.
"Our customer feedback found some prefer to speak to someone in person rather than by phone or online," Ms Turner said. "So we've launched two permanent Energy Bars - one in Canberra and one in Batemans Bay.
"They're run by our own employees who can help with anything, from signing up to a deal or setting up a payment plan, to getting advice on reducing energy bills. We can ensure you are on the best plan for you, and that you're receiving all relevant rebates and concessions."
Eyes on the future
While ActewAGL has a history and heritage like no other, being on the ground and working in the community for many years, the company has its sights firmly on the future.
Amongst the range of new products and services it's working on are plans to expand charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EV).
The ActewAGL charging network now comprises three Rapid Chargers and eight Fast Chargers across the ACT.
ActewAGL recently announced a partnership with national EV charging network provider Evie Networks and is now looking at locations for charging stations in New South Wales as part of its mission to support early EV adoption.
"It's all part of our focus on ensuring we have sustainable, emissions-free solutions available as part of our products and services now and into the future," said Ms Turner.
ActewAGL's Batemans Bay Energy Bar is in the SolarHub foyer at 2 Kylie Crescent, open Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4pm. Another Energy Bar in Bega is being set up at the SolarHub office at 163 Carp Street. To find out more head to the ActewAGL website.
This is branded content for ActewAGL.