AGL Smarter Living Guide. Manage your household budget while

AGL Smarter Living Guide. Manage your household budget while
Manage your
household budget
while saving
energy and the
AGL Smarter Living Guide.
AGL is here
to help you
every step
of the way.
As one of Australia’s largest renewable energy
companies and a leading provider of energy efficient
products and services, AGL knows a fair bit about the
smart use of energy.
The good news is being energy efficient at home doesn’t
have to mean ‘going without’. With a little effort, saving
energy, the environment and managing your budget is
simple. And AGL is here to help make it easier for you.
In this guide you’ll find useful information and answers
to common questions. How is energy used in your home?
What are the top energy wasting appliances? What could
help you save money on your energy usage? So take a
look through the following pages and join us on the path
to Smarter Living.
What you’ll find in this guide.
How is energy used in your home?
What are the big energy wasters?
Standby power and wasted energy. 5
What do appliances cost to
run per year?
How to stop wasting
and start saving energy.
Don’t lose it insulate it.
Smart tips for renters.
Compare the efficiency
of appliances.
Where to find out more.
How is
used in
your home?
Understanding home energy usage.
When you put together a household financial budget, the first thing you do is
work out what you spend your money on and where you can save money without
impacting on your lifestyle. A good financial budget focuses on not wasting money
and getting the most for the money you do spend. Establishing an energy action
plan is much the same.
The first thing you need to do is work out where you use energy within your home
and what you can do to reduce the amount of energy you use. An energy action plan
will help to reduce the amount of energy you waste, which could save you money
on your energy usage. The other benefit is that the more energy you save, the better
it is for our planet. A good starting point is work out where you use the most energy.
Where do you use energy at home?
The chart below shows you the breakdown of energy use in an average Australian home.
Most energy is used in space heating and cooling and to heat water. Appliances and
refrigeration are the other major energy use areas in the average Australian home.
The other piece of information you need to begin to formulate an energy action
plan is information about your energy charges. Some homes have an off-peak tariff
where they pay lower energy usage charges for energy used overnight. If you have
an off-peak tariff,
using appliances (like
and dishwashers)
overnight should be part of your plan. It won’t reduce your energy usage altogether,
but it could reduce the energy usage charges on your bill as you pay less for the
is see
in have
a unit
of power
energy you use
overnight. To
whether you
an off-peak
back of your electricity bill under the ‘usage’ section.
1000 watts is equivalent to 1 kilowatt (kW).
Understanding your
energy bills.
Electricity is measured in a unit of power
called a watt. 1000 watts is equivalent to
1 kilowatt (kW). Electrical appliances are
rated in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW).
Kilowatt hours (kWh) show how many
kilowatts an appliance uses each hour.
Therefore, a 100W bulb burning for 10 hours
would use 1kWh of energy. Or a portable
heater rated at 1kW running for 5 hours
would use 5kWh of energy. Your bill is
based on how many kilowatt hours (kWh)
you use.
Armed with this information we can start
to formulate an energy action plan that
could help save you money on your energy
bill and benefit the environment.
Electrical appliances are rated in watts (W) or kilowatts
Energy use(kW).
in an average Australian home*.
Greenhouse gas emissions from
Home energy use
hours (kWh) show how many kilowatts an
energy use
appliance uses each hour.
A 100W bulb burning for 10 hours would use 1kWh of
A portable heater
rated at 1kW running for
16% 5 hours
would use 5kWh of energy.
25% hours (kWh) you
Your bill is based on how many kilowatt
Armed with this information we can start to formulate an energy plan that will save
you money, make your home more comfortable and benefit the environment.
*Average energy uses may vary from state to state.
Source: Baseline Energy Estimates, 2008
Big energy guzzlers
What are
the big
Heating and Cooling.
How much are you paying
to stay warm or cool?
Most homes use a third to half of their energy for heating and cooling.
In general:
> Gas heating appliances are cheaper to run than electrical ones.
> Heating one or two rooms with a space heater is more economical than heating
a whole house.
Per hour cost of heating options.
> Insulation and draught stopping are essential to ensure you maximise the benefits
of the heating and cooling options you choose.
> Evaporative cooling costs less to run than refrigerative.
> Fans are a great option for personal cooling and are cheap to run.
> Where practical, install a low flow showerhead. The less water you heat, the less
energy you use.
> Wash clothes in cold water. It gets the clothes clean and could help you to save
on your energy usage.
> Reduce shower times to reduce how much hot water you use.
Reverse cycle
Reverse cycle
Portable electric
Heating water is another major energy user in your home. The type of system you
have can significantly affect how much you pay in energy charges to heat water.
Regardless of what system you have there are things you can do to minimise
this cost:
Elec – central heater
(radiant panels)
Gas – space
Water Heating.
Gas – central
Per hour cost of cooling options.
How much are you paying per day for hot water?
Ceiling fan
Reverse cycle
– space
Reverse cycle
– ducted
Evap cooling
– ducted
Heat pump
Solar – gas
Solar – electric
Gas (bottled) –
Gas (bottled) –
Gas (mains) –
Gas (mains) –
Elec –
Elec – storage
Elec – storage
All calculations derived by Moreland Energy Foundation Limited using Government data and FirstRate5.
power and
Reducing standby power is one of the simplest ways to reduce wasted energy.
Standby power is like a dripping tap of energy. Take a walk through your house at
night with the lights off and see all the appliances that have lights on. We wouldn’t
let a tap drip all night but we let these appliances use energy all night and day
when we aren’t using them.
The table below shows the average standby power needs for different appliances in
watts. These needs seem insignificant until you work out that these appliances could
be on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So multiply the figure by 8760 to get the
yearly energy use.
For example, that old cathode ray tube (CRT) television in the back room uses 3.1 watts
an hour on standby mode; if we multiply 3.1 by 8760 we get 27 kilowatt hours of
use per year. That’s probably as much energy as your whole house uses in two full
days, and the TV isn’t even on.
How much are you wasting on standby?
Average standby in watts.
Air conditioner
TV – LCD, Plasma
0.4 – 3.1
DVD Player / Recorder
1.2 – 2.6
Set top box
Home entertainment other
You also need to be aware of the little
energy wasters in your home. An electric
blow heater is small in size but big on
energy use. Many of these units use over
two kilowatts of energy, which means they
are very costly to run.
A normal electric tumble dryer will use
around 2.3 kWh per load. Compare this to
the sun which dries your clothes for free
and which is a great way to kill bacteria.
Halogen down lights use up to 50W per
light globe – and the transformer fitted
to each downlight in your ceiling uses an
additional 10W. Apart from using a lot of
energy, halogen down lights also generate
unwanted heat.
Gas water heaters
Heater – electric portable
Heater – gas
Wireless modems
Other energy wasters.
7 – 10
Source: Intrusive Residential Standby Survey Report 2005
What do
cost to run
per year?
Annual Cost*
Annual Cost*
Evaporative cooler – ducted
$20 – $45
Hot water heater – electric
$680 – $881
Reverse cycle cooler – ducted
$75 – $120
Hot water heater – gas
$240– $414
Reverse cycle cooler – space
$30 – $55
Hot water heater – solar / heat pump
$115 – $276
$8 – $15
$8 – $15
Annual Cost*
Hair dryer
Central heater – gas
$80 – $871
Electric toothbrush
Space heater – gas
$50 – $432
Annual Cost*
Radiant panel heater
$160 – $1786
Incandescent (60W-100W)
$8 – $14
Portable electric heater
$100 – $986
CFL (13W-20W)
$2 – $3
Hydronic heating
$80 – $718
Fluorescent tube (T5/T8)
$4 – $6
Reverse cycle – ducted
$80 – $788
Halogen downlights (20W-50W)
$3 – $8
Reverse cycle – space
$50 – $336
LED downlights (10 W)
CFL downlights (15 W)
* Lower numbers reflect costs in a warmer climate and
higher numbers reflect costs in a cooler climate.
Annual Cost*
Annual Cost*
Washing Machine (front loader)
– hot wash
Washing Machine (front loader)
– cold wash
Clothes dryer (2400 W)
Line drying
Annual Cost*
Pool filters
Outdoor patio heater - gas
(radiant conventional patio heater)
$300 - $1300
Barbecue – gas
(reticulated – portable)
$40 - $122
$70 – $150
$60 – $100
Microwave (1350W)
Toaster (1000W)
Electric kettle (1200W)
# Single door 370 lt – double door
side-by side 541 lt.
220 litre single door upright – 220 litre chest.
Living Room.
Annual Cost*
TV – LCD (42")
TV – Plasma (42")
TV – CRT (29")
$78 – $100
DVD player
$19 – $78
Digital Set Top Box
* All calculations derived by Moreland Energy Foundation Limited using Government data and
How to stop
wasting and
start saving
Saving energy around the house is not about “doing without”.
It’s about using energy efficiently and maximising the benefit
of the energy you do use.
Following some simple tips and changing behaviours can
reduce your energy use dramatically.
Heating tips.
> Open curtains and blinds on the north, east and west sides of your home in the
morning to allow the winter sun to naturally heat your home.
> If you need to have a heater on, set the thermostat to 20 degrees. Every degree
above this could add 10% to the heating energy usage charges on your bill.
> Put on a jumper before you put on the heater.
> Close curtains and blinds at night to keep warmth in the room.
> Use draught sealing on windows and doors to maximise the benefit of heating.
> If you have ducted heating, zone your home by closing vents in unused rooms.
> Close doors to unoccupied rooms to maintain the temperature in the areas
you are using.
> Set the fridge and freezer thermostat to the recommended temperature.
4°C for the fridge and -18°C for the freezer.
> Check the seals on the fridge by putting a piece of paper in the door. If it slips
or blows in the draught, the seals need attention.
> Keep the lids on pots while cooking. They will boil faster and use less energy.
> Set all electrical appliances to power save mode.
> Avoid using the clothes dryer. If you can’t dry clothes on a clothes line use
a clothes airer.
> Draw the blinds and curtains early in the day to
block out heat.
> Use ceiling fans or portable fans to
circulate air. This may be enough to
keep you cool rather than using the air
> Set the thermostat of your air conditioner
to 26 degrees. Every degree below 26
could add 10% to the cooling energy usage
charges on your bill.
> Open the windows at night when the
outside temperature cools down. This
allows any built up heat to dissipate.
> Install an energy efficient shower head.
By saving water it reduces the energy used
to heat the water for your shower.
> In the laundry, wait for a full load before
washing in cold water.
> When not in use, turn off appliances at the switch to reduce their standby
power usage.
> When purchasing an appliance, buy the most energy efficient unit you can
afford. It pays off in the long run.
> Halogen downlights are energy inefficient
to use. Limit their use or replace them.
> Replace all incandescent bulbs with
compact fluorescent light globes (CFLs).
> Heavy curtains protect you from the outside temperature better than blinds.
> Pelmets on windows help to reduce heat loss and gain.
> If you’re building a house, consider double glazed windows. It’s a lot cheaper
to do it now than to retrofit them later.
> Put sensors on external spotlights to
ensure the lights only operate when you
need them.
> When possible open the curtains and
use the sun to light your home.
> If you want to light up the garden, use solar lighting. It costs nothing to run and
most modern solar lights have built in sensors, so you don’t have to remember to
switch them on.
Don’t lose it,
insulate it.
Most households use a large proportion of energy on heating and cooling, but around
30% of that heat is lost through your ceiling and another 10% to 20% through your
walls, unless they are well insulated. A well insulated house will be cooler in summer
and warmer in winter and may be less expensive to run in terms of energy usage
charges all year around.
How much energy are you
using to stay warm or cool?
Heating benefits of insulation by capital city.
How does insulation work?
Insulation slows down the transfer of heat from inside your house to outside and
vice versa. It does this by trapping air (when using bulk insulation like batts) or
reflecting heat energy (for example using foil insulation). This will reduce your need
to use heaters and air conditioners as well as shorten the time when in use but with
greater effect.
Door snakes and weather stripping (rubber strips that fit on the inside of door and
window frames) are easy to install and can make your home a lot more comfortable,
energy efficient and may be cheaper to run.
Without insulation
Draught sealing is as important as insulation. Too much air coming in or out of your
home will render your insulation a lot less effective in maintaining temperature.
The most common form of air leaks are around doors and windows.
It’s not just about insulation.
With R3.5 insulation
Cooling benefits of insulation by state.
Without insulation
Remember, if you have
halogen down lights you
will need to ensure there
is a clearance between
the insulation and the light
to avoid the risk of fire.
This will, however, significantly
reduce the effectiveness
of your ceiling insulation.
Safety tip.
With R3.5 insulation
All calculations derived by Moreland Energy Foundation Limited
using Government data and FirstRate5.
tips for
Renting may limit the energy efficiency action you can take in your home.
But there are still things you can do. The most important action you can take
is to consult with your landlord (or their agent). This might just make it easier
to make any changes which require your landlord’s approval.
There are also many things that you can do without having to consult with your
landlord, which can result in savings on your energy usage.
> Keep the fridge in a cool place so it doesn’t need to work as hard to keep cool.
> Try putting a piece of paper between the fridge and the fridge door. If it stays
there your fridge door seals are working well. If it slides down you need to
replace them. New seals should cost roughly $40-$55, and you can replace
them yourself. If your landlord owns the fridge, you should ask them to replace
the seals. Do the same with the oven.
> If you decide to buy a new fridge, try to get one with a high star rating for
efficiency, and one that’s the right size for your needs (bigger fridges tend
to use more energy).
> Check the temperature. The optimum for the fridge is 4°C and -18°C for
the freezer.
> Fridges and freezers use a lot of energy. If you can live without a second fridge
or freezer, switch it off and take steps to reduce your energy usage.
Heating and Cooling.
> Close doors so you’re only heating or
cooling the space you’re in, instead of
the whole house.
> Don’t leave your heater/cooler
running overnight or while you’re out.
If you’re really worried about those
cold mornings, you could get one
with a timer.
Central heating.
> Set your heating to 20°C.
> Try shutting the vents to the rooms
you’re not using.
> It’s also worth putting deflectors on
vents near windows, so the heat goes
into the centre of the room and not out
the window.
Electric heaters.
> Use thermostats and timers.
> By putting lids on your saucepans when cooking, you’ll cook faster and with
less heat.
> Use only to heat small areas for
short periods.
> A microwave is more energy efficient than an oven, a kettle is more efficient
than a pan on the stove, and a toaster is more efficient than a grill.
> Bar heaters and radiators are not
good for heating space. Use these
for sitting at a desk studying.
> If you only want a cup of tea, don’t fill the whole kettle.
> Install flow restrictors on your kitchen taps (they come in varying flow rates so
check the packet) and reduce water flow down from typically 15-18 litres per
minute to 9 litres per minute or less. This is enough for most household uses.
> Run appliances at off-peak times if possible.
> Turn off all appliances at the switch when not in use.
> Use portable fans instead of air
conditioners. They are effective
and inexpensive.
> Drape a wet sheet over an open
doorway. It’s nature’s air conditioner.
> Set the thermostat on your cooling
to 26°C.
tips for
> Use the washing machine’s eco load feature if there is one.
> Try to only use the washing machine or dryer when you have a full load.
> Wash in cold water – it makes a big difference.
> Dry your clothes on the outside line or indoors on a clothes airer.
> If you’re buying a new washing machine, try buying one that has a high efficiency
rating for water and energy use.
> Use efficient lights like compact fluorescent bulbs.
> Turn off lights when you’re not in the room (even fluorescents and low
energy lights).
> Put your computer to sleep when you
won’t be using it for short periods of
time. You can change its settings so this
happens automatically.
> Screensavers don’t save energy.
Turn off your screen if you won’t be
using it for a short period of time and
don’t want to put it to sleep.
> When you won’t be using your
computer for longer periods, shut it
down and turn it off at the wall.
> Use natural light wherever possible (e.g. open curtains in the morning
instead of turning on the light).
> Try using timers to control any outdoor and security lighting. Also ensure
that outdoor lights are switched off during the day.
> Remember light-coloured surfaces reflect light and will help light the room.
> Use appropriate light levels – don’t over light a room.
> Use lamps if you do not need a lot of light.
> Replace your showerhead with a low energy unit.
> If you think your landlord won’t give you permission and won’t want you
to exchange the existing showerhead, go for a flow restrictor instead.
You can install them yourself, and they do the same thing as a water
saving showerhead.
> Reduce the time you spend in the shower.
Green tip.
> Sign up to GreenPower. It’s a simple way to help reduce your
environmental impact.
Compare the
efficiency of
One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of energy your appliances use is to
purchase energy efficient appliances. The simplest way to identify energy efficient
appliances is to look for the Energy Star Rating Label.
What is an energy star rating?
Energy rating labels allow you to compare the
energy efficiency of different models of similar
appliances – the more stars the more energy
efficient an appliance is. It also provides you with
the energy consumption of the product per year
based on average use. The lower the number, the
more efficient the appliance is, which could be
good for your pocket and the planet.
In some cases the energy rating can give two
figures for energy usage based on the different
ways the product can be used. In the case of
washing machines, it compares energy used
when washing using cold water against washing
using hot water by the same product.
How does it work?
Compare energy use and cost
of appliances per year.
Energy use (KWh) per year.
Energy rating
Cost per year.
($) Cost/year
All states and territories have the same
requirements for testing. Appliances are
submitted for testing to an Australian Standard
that determines their energy efficiency and
yearly kilowatt hour usage. All energy labels
are approved by a regulatory authority.
The appliances can then be compared to each other to allow you to determine its
energy use as part of the decision making process when buying a new appliance.
Energy rating
* All calculations derived by Moreland Energy Foundation Limited
using Government data and FirstRate5.
Where to
find out
If you’d like to know more about any of the information
provided in this Guide, here are some useful websites
you may want to explore.
More tips and energy saving tools
Sustainability information and research
Star ratings and energy efficiency
Renewable energy and sustainable building
“Green” renting
More ideas on saving water
Smart home design
Technical information on home design
Carbon offsets
AGL Retail Energy Limited ABN 21 074 839 464
AGL Sales Pty Limited ABN 88 090 538 337
AGL Sales (Queensland) Pty Limited ABN 85 121 177 740
AGL South Australia Limited ABN 49 091 105 092
AGL2868-EEG1 (08/11)
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