Appliances can account for up to 30 per cent of your home energy use. As our reliance on appliances increases and energy prices are also on the rise, choosing energy-efficient appliances becomes more important. The national standards for energy efficiency are improving the environmental performance of appliances all the time, so upgrading to a more efficient appliance can save you energy and money.
- When you replace an existing product, you can save money and reduce energy use by selecting an Energy Star®rated appliance, buying the right size that suits your needs and using it efficiently.
- Considering energy use in addition to purchase price and product features will save you money and energy as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the product. The EnergyGuide label will show you the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance so you can compare them yourself.
- The position of the appliance, how you operate it and maintain it all affect how much energy is used—for example, placing your refrigerator next to your oven will make it work harder to keep your food cold.
- Following the manufacturer's care instructions to keep your appliance in good working order will ensure your product runs better and lasts longer, helping you avoid expensive repair and replacement costs and saving energy over time.
- Leaving appliances on standby unnecessarily will also waste energy and money. Home entertainment items and computers often have a standby mode so they can turn on quickly. However, standby mode can use a lot of energy even when the appliance isn't being used. Standby power is a key source of hidden energy costs that could amount to 10 per cent of your electricity bill.
- Plug your equipment into a power strip and use the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance, to avoid "vampire" loads.
We recommend ovens that have an 'A' energy rating as they are the most efficient of all; hobs that carry the logo are highly energy-efficient too. A new A+ rated electric oven will consume 40 per cent less energy than a B rated oven.
Microwaves often provide a much more energy efficient way of cooking food than in the oven. This is because microwaves oven use energy to directly heat your food, whereas electric ovens must also heat the air inside the oven.
Kettles are one of the most commonly used appliances in the kitchen. ECO kettles that only boil the amount of water required can use 20 per cent less energy than a conventional electric kettlE
Dishwashers can take up a significant chunk of your electricity bill. Over a year, it costs less to run a typical new dishwasher than it does an old, inefficient machine of the same size, and it will use less water.
- Choose the right size dishwasher: most dishwashers are designed to handle the equivalent of 12 place settings.
- Slimline or single drawer dishwashers are great if you have a small number of people in your household, or a small amount of dirty dishes. They hold around 7 place settings.
- Choose models with an ‘eco', ‘half load' or ‘fast' wash setting: they will help you save water and energy.
Dishwashers with the ENERGY STAR® mark use up to 50% less electricity than non-qualified models.
Fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers
These are switched on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it's well worth finding models that are energy efficient. You can compare the total energy consumption of appliances by looking for their yearly energy consumption in kWh / annum displayed on the bottom right of the energy label.
- Consider the number of people in your household - how often do you shop and entertain? Don't buy a bigger fridge/freezer than you need, but also remember that if you overfill your fridge/freezer is has to work harder to stay cooler. It’s more efficient to run one large fridge/freezer than two small ones.
- Fridge/freezers with the top and bottom configuration are often more energy efficient than a side-by-side arrangement. Through-the-door features such as cold water dispensers and ice-makers use more electricity, so cost more to run.
- Most upright freezers have auto defrost features, which are convenient but use more electricity. Chest freezers are slightly more efficient than upright models, but you have the inconvenience of needing to defrost them, as well it being harder to organise your food.
ENERGY STAR® qualified fridges and freezers are super energy efficient. ENERGY STAR qualified fridge/freezers use up to 40% less electricity than non-qualified models.
An energy efficient machine will save you money on your electricity bill and your water bill too.
- Select the right size for your needs - if you choose a machine that's too big, you'll be tempted to run it before it’s full. The most commonly used washing machines are in the 5.5 to 6.5kg range.
- Check water usage as well as the energy rating - both figures can be found on the label.
- Check spin performance - especially if you dry some or all of your clothes in a dryer. There are good and bad spin performers in both top and front loading models.
- Choose a model that offers economy - and cold wash cycles.
- Check for auto-sensing or load size selection - so you're not using more water and energy than you need
ENERGY STAR® qualified washing machines are super energy efficient. An ENERGY STAR qualified washing machine uses up to 45% less energy than non-qualified models, and they reduce the amount of water needed per wash cycle. Over a year you can expect to reduce water for washing clothes by more than 6,000 litres.
Drying clothes outdoors on a washing line or indoors on a rack costs nothing and uses no energy so it is the ideal way to dry your clothes. But if you need to use a dryer, choose one with a good energy label rating. This will help to keep your energy bill down as much as possible.
- Choose the right size dryer to minimise running costs and get the best results for your clothes.
- Look for a model with an auto-sensing feature if you use your dryer regularly, to prevent over-drying. This saves electricity and protects your clothes.
- Try to dry clothes outside - the fresh air helps to kill bacteria and dust mites, and the sunlight even fades stains.
- Avoid drying clothes inside on racks - moisture will be released into the house. A covered outside area is better.
- Dryers should be vented to the outside - so moisture doesn't make your house damp.
- Avoid overloading and over-drying.
- Dry clothes in loads of similar weight items - jeans need a lot longer than lightweight items.
- Thoroughly spin dry clothes in your washing machine first - it takes a lot less electricity to spin water out than to heat it out.
- Clean the lint filter on your dryer - after each load.
Televisions can be the most power-hungry of all entertainment appliances, particularly the larger ones. The larger a television is the more energy it will consume, regardless of its energy rating. Choosing a smaller TV generally means choosing a more efficient TV.
- The larger the screen, the more electricity it uses - before you buy, ask in the shop or check the manual for electricity consumption, or use the energy rating label to estimate a year's use.
- LCD (LED) TVs - tend to be the most efficient flat screen technology on the market.
- Plasma screen TVs - used to be quite power hungry, but the technology has become much more efficient. Size for size, the most efficient plasma TVs now use a third of the energy of older models.
- Brighter screens tend to use more energy - check that your television is set to the recommended brightness.
- HD and 3D TV: many homes now have cable HD TV and most televisions on the market are HD ready. HD TVs have more pixels per square inch of screen area and therefore tend to consume more energy than SD (Standard Density) televisions.
Choose an ENERGY STAR® qualified television for the best energy efficiency. An ENERGY STAR qualified television could use up to 45% less electricity than a non-ENERGY STAR qualified model.
Desktop and laptop PCs
Laptops typically use 85 per cent less electricity over a year than desktop PCs. Choosing a laptop over a desktop and reducing standby saves money.
- Turn off at the wall at night or when you’re not using them.
- Set up power management features like putting your computer into ‘sleep mode' after a certain period of inactivity.
- Choose a time delay option to turn off the monitor, hard disks and out the computer in standby mode.