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Install Efficient Appliances

When investing in large household appliances and fixtures, use the government's Energy and Water Ratings (stars) to guide you to the most efficient products to save money.

Energy Efficiency Rating Scale

The cost of energy and water is rising and the effect is increasing. Large household appliances (including fridges, clothes dryers and dishwashing machines) and toilets, taps and showers consume the bulk of our household energy and water.

The Federal Government's Water Rating site notes that replacing a single-flush toilet with a water-efficient dual-flush system will reduce household water use by around 1000 litres per year, as well as saving $50 each year over the life of the system.

Similarly, the product comparison charts in the Federal Government's Energy Rating site shows that the difference in the ongoing operating costs between an average family fridge (two-door, 300+ litre volume) with an Energy Star Rating of 2½ and a similar fridge with an Energy Star Rating of 5 (out of 6) is between $750 and $1,000 over a 15 year period, depending on use and the cost of electricity.

Start thinking medium to long-term and invest more now to get the most energy efficient appliances and fixtures. You'll reap the environmental and financial benefits for years to come.

How to do it now!

When you're in the market for large appliances and fixtures use the 'star labelling system' to inform your understanding of the operating costs of your home.

Energy and water ratings and consumption measures. Both the Water and Energy Rating systems use a combination of a 6-star rating system and an energy/water consumption estimate to inform you of the efficiency of the appliance or fixture.

Energy labelling. It is mandatory for all of the following electrical products sold in Australia to have an approved energy label:

  • air conditioners
  • clothes dryers
  • dishwashers
  • refrigerators and freezers
  • televisions
  • washing machines

An energy use comparison table of all the products in the above categories is available, with more information about the energy labelling system, on the Energy Rating site.

Water labelling. It is mandatory for all of the following water products sold in Australia to have an approved water label:

  • dishwashers
  • flow controllers
  • showers
  • tap equipment
  • toilet (lavatory) equipment
  • urinal equipment
  • washing machines

A water use comparison table of all the products in the above categories is available, with more information about the water labelling system, on the Water Rating site.

Televisions

The modern demand for Flat screen TV’s is huge, and as the screens get larger and larger, so too does the energy usage, making some TV’s one of the most energy consuming appliances in the house.

Plasma or LCD?

Generally, but not always, LCD TV’s are more energy efficient than plasma TV’s. This is especially true when they include the LED back projection technology that consumes one-quarter to one-third the power of an equivalent sized LCD flat screen.

Buying a TV

When buying a TV it pays to check the power in watts on the label on the back of the TV – the higher the number the faster it consumes energy - 150 watts or less is low in consumption. Also look out for an energy star label. This is different to energy-rating label for most household appliances. It shows you that you can set the TV to automatically go into sleep mode and/or that it uses reduced power in stand-by mode.

Stand-by power

Many appliances including TVs may still be consuming energy even when they are switch off. While this can be convenient, standby mode can make up to 10 per cent of your household energy use.

Switch off appliances at the wall as the appliance. While not all appliances can be switched off, switching off a computer overnight can save an enormous amount off your energy bill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Appliance Energy Usage Guide

This guide has been put together to give you an idea of the typical energy consumption of the appliances in your house. Some of the average energy usage may surprise you, but it could help you see where your household can make the biggest energy savings. View the Appliance Energy Usage Guide.

Rebates for installing efficient appliances.

  • New South Wales - A Fridge Buyback rebate provides $35 to have a second fridge removed from your home.
  • The Smart Watermark site lists the state and/or local government rebate programs available in your area for the installation of certain energy and water saving fixtures and water tanks.

Push to have the energy and water labelling programs expanded. Both the above rating programs don't cover the full range of products available. Write and request that these programs apply energy labels to products such as home entertainment centres and the like as soon as possible. In addition, requesting that the current labels are extended to indicate the embedded energy and water of a product (i.e. the energy and water required to manufacture the product), which would enable you to view the full environmental impact of your purchase.

Why this action is important?

Science is telling us that we need to live more sustainably - more in tune with nature. In order for humans to establish a sustainable civilisation we must mimic and aspire to the efficiencies found in nature.

This action is intended to help people understand the win-win nature of efficiency and to assess technology and behaviours in terms of their long-term returns (financial, environmental and intergenerational).

Environment

Global warming, droughts, dead river systems and species extinction are all results of our overuse of natural systems and their consequent decline.

A major factor in rescuing the effects of our consumptive habits is our ability to develop and broadly deploy more efficient technology.

Reducing the amount of energy and water needed to support our households is a powerful way to ease this pressure on our precious natural systems.

Wellbeing

A stable global environment and the availability of fresh water are central to human health and prosperity. Clean, fresh water from the tap is, for most people in the world, a luxury.

As the Australian water supply is stretched, recycled and sterilised at the expense of our waterways stagnant rivers, we expose ourselves to toxic algae, chemically treated water and an increased vulnerability to severe drought.

Many people across the globe are not so lucky, and a lack of clean water and associated diseases kills tens of millions of children each year. So water wisely, and conserve this precious resource.