Whether you want to reduce your energy usage to save money or the environment, we’ve put together a few handy hints so you can make a real difference.
Most states in Australia have their own state-based energy efficiency schemes:
- ACT: the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS)
- NSW: the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS)
- SA: the Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES)
- VIC: the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET).
Queensland does not currently have a residential state based efficiency scheme but there is some information about efficiency available from the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply.
Participating in these schemes can help save energy and money with reduced energy bills. Using less energy also means you are helping the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The major sources of energy use around the typical Australian home are heating water, heating and cooling, as well as refrigeration and other electrical appliances. Standby power, lighting and cooking generally make up the rest of your household energy bill.
How you can make the biggest impact:
- Target the biggest sources of energy use around your home such as hot water and heating and cooling.
- Look for the high impact, no and low-cost changes you can make easily.
- When replacing or upgrading appliances purchase the most energy-efficient appliances you can afford.
Even if the building you live in is energy efficient, the way you live in your home has a big impact on your energy use and costs. Think about how you use energy and act sensibly to reduce wastage where you can.
- If you have a refrigerated air conditioner, set the temperature between 25ºC and 27ºC. Every extra degree (lower) increases your cooling energy use by between 5% and 10%.
- Check the filter on your air conditioner and clean it regularly to keep it efficient.
- Ceiling and pedestal fans cost around two cents per hour of operation and reduce the temperature by 2ºC or 3ºC.
Set your thermostat to 18ºC to 20ºC in living areas during winter for the most energy efficient heating. Each degree higher could increase your running costs by up to 10%.
- Standby power is a key source of hidden energy use that can amount to more than 10% of your household electricity consumption.
- Turning your gaming console or computer off at the wall instead of just pressing the power button could save you around $160 per year off your electricity bill!
- Televisions are now the fourth largest electricity user in our homes. Home entertainment products alone are responsible for at least 5% of our household energy use — more than your washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwasher energy use combined.
Insulating your home
- Insulation is the most cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. A well-insulated home could save you up to a staggering 45% on your energy bills.
- Draughts account for a significant amount of energy loss, so block up unused chimneys and seal gaps in floors, doors and windows.
- Install blinds and drapes.
Lighting your home with LED lights instead of incandescent or halogen lighting can reduce your lights’ energy consumption by up to 80%.
- When shopping for a fridge, look for one with an energy efficiency rating of at least 2.5 stars. Every extra star will reduce your running costs by around 20%.
- Set the temperature of the fresh food compartment to 3ºC to 5ºC and the freezer to -15ºC to -18ºC.
- Keep any coils at the back of the fridge free of dust, as dust on force your fridge to use more energy than necessary.
- Make sure fridges and freezers are in a cool, well ventilated space with a gap of at least 5cm for ventilation and heat dispersion.
- Keep door seals airtight. A loose or damaged seal allows air to seep out, wasting energy and causing your fridge to work harder than it needs to.
- Generally, it’s best if your dishwasher is turned off once the cycle is complete.
- Avoid running the dishwasher when you’re about to go out as it will still be using energy once the cycle has run, unless you have a model that switches itself off.
- Always wait to wash a full load, because most dishwashers use the same amount of water whether it’s completely full or not.
Washing & Drying Machines
- If you’re purchasing a washing machine, try to select one with at least a 3.5-star energy rating and 4-star water rating. Every extra star could save you up to 25% off your washing machine’s energy use on a warm cycle.
- Switching to a cold wash could cut 80% to 90% off your running costs.
- Using cold water every time you wash can save you around $115 per year.
- Drying your clothes on the line can save you around $63 per year.