Climate change, the greenhouse effect, carbon footprint, carbon tax, global warming, eco friendly — these terms are firmly cemented into the Australian language.
Even if you avoid keeping up with politics, or you don’t spend your spare time following current affairs, the average Australian is familiar with the global fight to preserve our environment, conserve energy and reduce the damage we, as humans, inflict on our planet.
According to the CSIRO, a lot of this damage occurs in the form of energy consumption, and this is rampant in our homes and modern lifestyles.
YourHome (Australia’s Guide to environmentally sustainable homes) states that in the average household, your home appliances and other electrical equipment are responsible for about one-third of energy consumption and about 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. This is clearly an area that we have a lot of power to change.
One option to consider is the purchase of energy-efficient appliances.
Buying Energy-Efficient Appliances
When your fridge last broke down, or your microwave from the 1990s got a much-needed upgrade, did you consider purchasing an energy-efficient version of these modern essential items?
The upside to choosing an energy-efficient model is the savings on monthly bills, plus you will reduce the amount of energy you use, and that is great news for our environment.
In these modern times, we expect a lot from our appliances — efficiency, speed and reliability. Next time you are in the market for new appliances, seriously consider energy-efficient ones.
Energy Rating Labels
Australians are familiar with energy rating labels. Star ratings, which have been featured on appliances for decades, make the concept of energy efficiency very easy to incorporate into daily life. Featuring a maximum rating of 10 stars, more stars means greater energy efficiency. You will also see a number stating the annual energy consumption, in kilowatt hours (kWh).
The labels are a great way to help you compare different brands of the same product on energy efficiency and price. While an energy-efficient appliance may cost a little more at point of sale, it will save you money on monthly and quarterly household bills.
It is really easy to work out how much an appliance will cost to run with this simple calculation.
It is really easy to work out how much an appliance will cost to run with this simple calculation: Multiply the kWh number on the appliance by your electricity tariff (cents per kWh).
This tariff amount can be found on your electricity bill. Simply take this value with you when shopping for appliances, and you can calculate the potential savings on the spot.
According to Your Energy Savings, there are many myths regarding energy-efficient appliances. “There is a perception that energy-efficient appliances are too expensive. However, the purchase price on the sticker is only half the story. Running costs are like a second price tag and quickly add up.”
It’s also worth considering the features and size of the appliances you are comparing. For an accurate comparison, you’ll need to go like for like for a true picture of which appliance will be the cheapest to run.
Additionally, the kWh figure on all energy rating labels makes assumptions about how appliances are used in an average household. You need to consider and account for how much you will use the appliance, plus the climate you live in.
Fancy a Rebate?
Whether you are a business, renter, landlord or homeowner, some states in Australia offer government rebates to support the use of energy-efficient appliances.
There are different rebates available depending on which state you live. These rebates assist people in purchasing more energy-efficient appliances.
These rebates cover both houses and apartments. Though you’ll have to go to a state-specific site for accurate, up-to-date information, Sustainable Living Guide is a helpful resource for identifying what rebates or incentives might be available in your area.
Switch appliances off at the power source to reduce the amount of standby power they consume when not in use.
There’s an App for That!
The Energy Rating App has been designed to help people compare the running costs of all household appliances. This app is very user friendly and covers all of your everyday appliances, such as TVs, computers, fridges, freezers, washing machines and more.
You can compare power costs, view energy rating labels and even calculate the running costs of your current appliances.
This app is also a great tool to help you decide if certain energy-efficient appliances will be cheaper for you to run before you make a purchase.
You can still save significantly with appliances that don’t necessarily have high energy efficiency ratings. Take the following actions to reduce some of the costs of running your appliances:
- Switch appliances off at the power source to reduce the amount of standby power they consume when not in use. Some microwave ovens use more power running the clock than they do cooking your food!
- Position fridges and freezers away from heat sources, like ovens and direct sunlight. Fridges and freezers can be emptied and turned off when you are away. Make sure all seals are tight, and keep doors closed.
- Use your dishwasher on the lowest temperature and the shortest cycle whenever you can.
- Try washing your clothes in cold water as much as possible, and adjust the water level to suit your load size.
- Hang clothes on a line or laundry rack instead of using the dryer.
If you are contemplating whether energy-efficient appliances are worth the extra money, there are obviously many points to consider. If you are unsure, you can always keep your current appliances, but initiate energy-saving practices in your home, which are proven to slash energy bills.
If you find that after a few months, the savings are not as high as you want, then energy-efficient appliances are a great option.
We are fortunate with today’s technology to have so many choices available to us. There is much we can do to preserve our environment, save money and run the modern appliances we all enjoy.
Want more tips on being energy efficient at home? Read Home Energy Efficiency Tips
Learn to keep cool without AC and save on energy costs. Read Keeping Cool This Summer Without Using The Air Conditioning
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