Know your energy use

lady and child with open fridge

Knowing where you are using the most energy is the first step to becoming more energy efficient.

Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Robert Simpson said making small changes to the way you use your appliances could help save hundreds of dollars on your annual power bill.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff. It costs less than half a cent to charge up your mobile phone,” Dr Simpson said.

“Focus on appliances that cool and heat – they account for about three-quarters of the average household’s energy use.”

“These appliances include hot water systems, heaters and air conditioners, fridges and freezers and other appliances such as clothes dryers if used often.”

“Electric hot water is the biggest energy user in the average home. If you shave two minutes off every shower you could save up to $100 a year. Use cold water to wash your clothes and you could save about $80 a year.”

Reverse-cycle air conditioners are a good way to heat and cool large spaces. You can save about 10% on heating or cooling costs for each extra degree on the thermostat, whether it’s lower in winter or higher in summer.

Recommended indoor temperature ranges are 18 to 21 degrees in winter and 23 to 26 degrees during the warmer months.

Fridges older than 15 years can use up to three times the electricity of an equivalent new model. If you are one of the many Australian families with a second fridge, consider getting rid of the older one to save up to $250 a year.

If you still have inefficient lighting such as halogen incandescent bulbs or halogen downlights, then lighting can make up to 10 per cent of your electricity use.

Lighting technology has improved significantly and CFL and LED options are widely available and can save up to 80% on your lighting costs.

Standby power on all household appliances including televisions, computers, microwaves and white goods all adds up, making up 10 per cent of energy use for the average home. Where possible, turn your appliances off at the wall when you’re not using them to save even more on your bill.