We’ve all been there. You receive your quarterly energy bill, gasp at the figure and wonder where on earth all the energy goes in your home.
Are certain appliances greater energy guzzlers than others? Or are the occupants of your home solely the reason why the graph on your bill indicates that you are consuming the energy for a household of five when there are only three of you?
Where does all the energy go?
According to recent federal government research, heating and cooling are the biggest contributing factor to high energy bills. The research showed that heating and cooling accounts for 30% of the energy bills in Australian households (add 10% to that for the cooler parts of the country).
This is followed by hot water (20%), refrigerators and freezers (12%) and IT and home entertainment (8%). You may have expected the last one to be up higher.
How to reduce your energy consumption
A great place to start reducing your energy consumption is to focus on the number one contributor – heating and cooling. For instance, if you have a tendency to leave the air conditioner on overnight, stop. Use an extra blanket in winter or open windows in summer instead. It’s also better for your health.
So what about individual appliances? Are some greater culprits than others?
Yes. It all comes down to the energy rating. The more stars, the more energy-efficient the product is compared to other models in its category.
Appliances with a higher star rating may cost more at the outset but they’ll probably save you more in the long run.
Let’s take a look at an example. Based on an estimated energy price of $0.3 per kWh, a television with a seven-star label would cost you approximately $30 per year to run. Whereas a television with a three-star rating would cost $120 a year. Imagine doing the calculations with all the main appliances in your home. The savings can be significant.
Here are a few other tips to reduce your energy bills at home.
In the kitchen:
• Keep a good gap between the wall and your fridge for air flow, ensure the seal is tight and don’t overfill it.
• Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.
• Cover pots and pans to reduce cooking time.
• Turn appliances like kettles and toasters off at the wall.
In your living areas:
• If you have a/c, set it to a lower temp in winter (e.g. 18-20 degrees) – also applies to central heating – and a higher temp in summer (e.g. 24-26 degrees). Then dress for the weather.
• Prevent drafts in winter by checking seals around windows and doors.
• Close curtains and blinds at night in winter when the heating is on as a lot of heat is lost through glass.
• Replace traditional lights with LED lights and switch them off when leaving the room.
In the laundry:
• Use the cold wash cycle.
• If you do use hot water, set it to 60°C.
• Use a clothesline instead of a dryer.
• Wait until you have a full load before washing.
In the bathroom:
• Install low-flow showerheads.
• Have shorter showers (four minutes or less). Good luck enforcing that if you have teens at home!
For more ideas on ways to save energy, visit www.poweringforward.energy.gov.au