Guide to appliance efficiency


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Guide to appliance efficiency

Household appliances consume a significant proportion of energy and water use in the average Australian homei. We look at how to choose appliances that save energy, water and money.

When choosing a washing machine, you can compare energy rating labels to find the most efficient model.

Nearly half of Australian households in 2011 factored in energy efficiency when choosing appliances for their homesii. One of the primary ways Australians determine the energy efficiency of appliances is by reading the Energy Rating Label; a mandatory scheme for dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, televisions, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, cooktops and ovens.

The Energy Rating Label gives consumers in Australia and New Zealand a convenient way to do this comparisoniii by using a six-star system for most products, where more stars indicate higher efficiency. In 2010, the Energy Rating Label was updated to a 10-star system for refrigerators and air conditioners to acknowledge extremely efficient appliancesiv. The label provides an estimate of the appliance's energy consumption per year.

Water efficiency is measured by the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme using a six-star systemv. The label provides an estimate of the annual water consumption of an appliance at the full capacity of the machinevi.

Appliance efficiency is tested against minimum energy performance criteria, dictated by the Australian Standards. When choosing an appliance for your home, picking one with high energy and water efficiency can be cost effective and reduce your impact on the environmenti.

Dishwashers

Modern dishwashers are generally more water and energy efficient than older modelsvii, with some current models being increasingly more water efficient than washing dishes by handviii. Every extra star represents a decrease of 30 per cent in energy consumption from the previous star ratingix. For example, a dishwasher that has a three-star rating is 30 per cent more efficient than one with a two-star rating. Additionally, a dishwasher with a three-star water rating, for example, uses 30 per cent less water than a basic one-star modelx,xi.

Washing machines

Older washing machines can use considerable amounts of water and energy so it's important to check the energy and water efficiency of different models when buying a new washing machinevii. Each extra energy star represents a 27 per cent decrease in energy usage from the previous star ratingxii. For example, a washing machine that has a three-star rating is 27 per cent more efficient than one with a two-star ratingxii. Also a washing machine with a three-star water rating, for example, uses 50 per cent less water than a basic one-star modelxii.

Clothes dryers

The average electric clothes dryer adds three kilograms of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for each drying loadvii. Each additional energy star represents a 15 per cent decrease in energy consumption from the previous star rating. For example, a clothes dryer with a three-star rating is 15 per cent more efficient than one with a two-star ratingvii. Of course, the most environmentally friendly option is the trusty clothes linexiii.

Televisions

Choosing the most efficient television can greatly reduce your energy usagevii. LCD televisions are usually cheaper to run and more efficient than plasma televisionsvii. Each additional energy star represents a 20 per cent decrease in energy consumption from the previous star ratingxiv. For example, a three-star television will use 20 per cent less energy than a two-star televisionxiv.

Refrigerators and freezers use more power than all other household appliances because they are constantly in use.

Refrigerators and freezers

These two appliances consume more power than all other household appliances, accounting for 14 per cent of an average household energy billvii,xv. Each additional energy star represents a decrease of 23 per cent in energy usage from the previous star ratingxvi. For example, a fridge and freezer that has a rating of three stars is 23 per cent more efficient than those that have a rating of two stars. You can also reduce your energy consumption by making sure the fridge and freezer door closes and seals properlyxv.

Air Conditioners

Heating and cooling can represent over a third of an average household's energy usexvii. Adjusting the temperature 1oC higher for heating or 1oC lower for cooling can add 10 per cent to the running costs of a standard air conditionerxvii. Air conditioner energy efficiency is measured differently to other appliances. Cooling is measured using the energy efficiency ratio (EER) while heating uses the coefficient of performance (COP)xviii. Both measures take into account energy used while running and on standby powerxviii. For heating and cooling, one star is equal to 2.75 EER or COP with each extra star representing an increase of 0.5xviii.

You can also improve the energy efficiency by closing off rooms that aren't being used, installing insulation and double glazing your windowsxvii,xviii.

Cooktops and Ovens

Cooktops and ovens currently don't have energy ratings. Energy ratings haven't been considered practical since the current testing standards don't provide an easy comparison of energy efficiency between different cooktops and ovensxix.

Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to minimise your cooking appliances' energy consumption. For cooktops, gas models are generally more efficient, less expensive to run and produce less than half the greenhouse gases of conventional electric modelsxx. For ovens, choosing features such as triple glazing and good quality insulation can reduce your energy consumptionxxi.

Next time you are choosing an appliance for the home, consider its efficiency by checking its energy and water rating label. An efficient appliance is not only environmentally friendly but can also mean huge savings in electricity and water bills.

Looking after your home doesn't just mean buying what's best for it; it also means protecting yourself from financial loss in the event of damage or theft. Allianz Home and Contents Insurance can provide cover for your home including appliances.


i Your Home 2010, 6.4 Appliances, Australian Government, viewed 4 October 2013,
http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs64.html

ii Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 4102.0 Australian Social Trends, Sep 2012 Household energy use and cost, viewed 10 October 2013,
http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features10Sep+2012#WHATTYPES

iii Equipment Energy Efficiency 2012, About Energy Rating Labels, Australian Government, viewed 10 October 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/programs/energy-rating-labelling/about/

iv Equipment Energy Efficiency 2012, Star Rating Calculations: Domestic Refrigeration, Australian Government, viewed 14 October 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products-themes/refrigeration/domestic-refrigeration/star-rating

v Guest, C 2010, Independent Review of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme, viewed 13 November 2013,
http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/ea52ee0a-b783-48f1-b78e-7ddbef17beb9/files/wels-review.pdf

vi 'Product Testing' 2013, Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.waterrating.gov.au/consumers/product-testing

vii Department of Industry 2013, Buy energy-efficient appliances, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.livinggreener.gov.au/energy/appliances-equipment/energy-efficient-appliances/buy-energy-efficient-appliances#choose_energy-efficient_appliances

viii Your Home 2010, 7.2 Reducing water demand, Australian Government, viewed 4 October 2013,
http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs72.html

ix Equipment Energy Efficiency 2012, Star Rating Calculations: Dishwashers, Australian Government, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products-themes/washing-drying/dishwashers/star-rating/

x Victorian Government 2013, Dishwashers, viewed 11 October 2013,
http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/www/html/3429-dishwashers.asp

xi Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2013, Your guide to water efficient Dishwashers, Australian Government, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.waterrating.gov.au/sites/www.waterrating.gov.au/files/page/127/files/dishwashers.pdf

xii Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2013, Your guide to water efficient Washing machines, Australian Government, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.waterrating.gov.au/sites/www.waterrating.gov.au/files/page/131/files/washing-machines.pdf

xiii South Australian Government 2011, Washing machines and clothes dryers, viewed 4 October 2013,
http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Water,+energy+and+environment/Energy/Saving+energy+at+home/ Household+appliances+and+other+energy+users/Washing+machines+and+clothes+dryers

xiv Equipment Energy Efficiency 2012, Television: Minimum Energy Performance Standards and Energy Rating Labels, Australian Government, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/Energy_Rating_Documents/Library/Home_Entertainment/Televisions/fact-sheet-tv-labelling.pdf

xv Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal, New South Wales Government 2013, Reducing your energy consumption, viewed 11 October 2013,
http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/For_Consumers/Compare_Energy_Offers/Reducing_your_energy_consumption

xvi Equipment Energy Efficiency 2012, Star Rating Calculations: Domestic refrigeration, viewed 13 November 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products-themes/refrigeration/domestic-refrigeration/star-rating/

xvii South Australian Government 2011, Easy energy saving tips, viewed 11 October 2013,
http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Water,+energy+and+environment/Energy/Saving+energy+at+home/ Take+action+-+check+and+reduce+your+energy+use/Easy+energy+saving+tips

xviii Equipment Energy Efficiency 2012, Star Rating Calculation: Air conditioners, Australian Government, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products-themes/cooling/air-conditioners/star-rating/

xix Australian Greenhouse Office 2002, Options Study – MEPS/labelling possibilities for stoves & cook-tops, Australian Government, viewed 15 October 2013,
http://www.energyrating.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/Energy_Rating_Documents/Library/Other/Stoves_and_Cook-Tops/200203-cookers.pdf

xx Your Home 2010, 6.1 Energy use, Australian Government, viewed 11 October 2013,
http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs61.html

xxi Department of Industry 2013, Cook efficiently: Take action, Australian Government, viewed 11 October 2013,
http://www.livinggreener.gov.au/energy/appliances-equipment/energy-efficient-appliances/cook-efficiently#other_cooking_hints