EnergyWise Queensland How to be Energy Wise at home and sve

EnergyWise Queensland How to be Energy Wise at home and sve
How to be EnergyWise at home
and save on energy bills
While this document has been prepared
with care, it contains general information
and does not profess to offer legal,
professional or commercial advice.
The Queensland Government accepts no
liability for any external decisions or actions
taken on the basis of this document.
Persons external to the Queensland
Government should satisfy themselves
independently and by consulting their own
professional advisers before embarking on
any proposed course of action.
EnergyWise Queensland
EnergyWise Queensland
© Copyright and ownership of these files
are the property of the State of Queensland.
In the kitchen
In the living room
In the laundry and bathroom
In the bedrooms
In outdoor areas
Hot water systems
Summer cooling
Cooling appliances
Winter warmth
Home lighting
Appliance labelling
EnergyWise Queensland
EnergyWise home
Saving energy in the home can be so
easy! This booklet shows you how.
At a glance you will see the typical running
costs for hot water systems, refrigerators,
air conditioners and other household
appliances. You may be surprised how
much energy some appliances use.
Using less energy also means less
pollution and reduced greenhouse gas
emissions. So start now and save energy,
help save the environment and save
hundreds of dollars on your energy bills.
The household
Welcome to a typical Queensland
household. Yours might not be exactly
the same, but statistics indicate that
this house and family, their lifestyle and
type of appliances are representative
of many Queensland households. Each
individual household will vary, even
with the same appliances and number of
people. Energy consumption will also vary
depending on the climate you live in.
EnergyWise Queensland
In the kitchen
Energy can cost between $75 and $90 a quarter.
$ per quarter
Two door refrigerator 400 – 500 litre
– cyclic defrost _______________________ 30.00
– frost free ___________________________ 40.00
Electric stovetop and oven ______________ 18.50
Washing up by hand 3 times a day _______ 13.50
12 place dishwasher – normal
program x 1 load a day _________________ 13.00
Three 75 watt bulbs for 3 hrs/day __________ 9.00
Electric kettle 5 times a day_______________ 4.00
Microwave – 1 hr/week _________________ 2.00
Fan and light in rangehood ______________ 0.75
Automatic toaster______________________ 0.75
To make energy and dollar savings
• When buying a new fridge, freezer or
dishwasher, select one with the best energy
star rating you can afford and that meets your
needs. Since refrigeration operates day and
night, energy costs (and so potential energy
savings) are high. Refrigeration accounts for
nearly 8 percent of the electricity consumption
in a typical household.
• Well maintained cyclic defrost refrigerators
are more economical than frost-free ones.
• Where practical, switch off appliances at
the power point. You can save up to $100 on
your annual electricity bills by switching off
appliances at the wall when not in use.
• Avoid leaving the fridge door open and
ensure door seals are working efficiently. To
check this, place a piece of paper where the
door or lid closes. If the paper is held firmly,
the seal is sound.
• Defrost the freezer when there is a 6mm (1/4
inch) frost build-up.
• Set the temperature between 20C and 50C for
the refrigerator and between –110C and –230C
for the freezer.
• Place the fridge in a cool, well-ventilated
position out of direct sunlight and not
adjacent to a heat source such as an oven.
• Keep exposed condenser coils at the rear
of older style fridges free from fluff or
dust. Some refrigerators and freezers have
condenser coils under the outer case which
should also be kept clean. Maintain around
150mm space between the coils and the rear
wall, at the top of the fridge and on both
sides to allow heat to escape.
• Only run your dishwasher with a full load.
• Consider using the dishwasher at night and
switching it to Tariff 33 which is cheaper
to run.
• Use the dishwasher’s ‘economy’ setting to
wash lightly soiled dishes and to save water.
• Avoid opening oven doors when baking as
hot air escapes and lengthens cooking time.
If applicable, select the fan forced setting.
• Where possible use lids on pots and
saucepans to reduce cooking time. Defrost
frozen food in the fridge ahead of time to save
the cost of running the microwave.
EnergyWise Queensland
In the living room
The energy cost could be as much as $30 a
quarter in summer and $160 in winter. With
air conditioning, the cost could be as much as
$180 for the summer quarter.
$ per quarter
Air conditioner 6000 watt output
(2400 watt input) 6hrs/day – max _______ 180.00
Heater 2400 watt 5 hrs/day ____________ 155.00
Three 60 watt bulbs 5 hrs/day ___________ 12.00
Colour TV 51cm 8 hrs/day _______________ 10.00
Video games console 3 hrs/day ___________ 1.75
Stereo 3 hrs/day _______________________ 1.50
Ceiling fan 5 hrs/day ____________________ 0.60
Video recorder 2 hrs/day ________________ 0.53
DVD player 2 hrs/day ____________________ 0.30
To make energy and dollar savings
• Install dimmers or two-way light switches.
• Install energy efficient (e.g. compact
fluorescent) bulbs in rooms you use regularly
– they consume 80 percent less energy than a
comparable incandescent bulb and can last up
to eight times longer.
• Use the power button on the television and
stereo or switch them off at the wall rather
than leaving them in standby mode.
• Empty or replace dust bags in the vacuum
cleaner regularly to ensure your vacuum
works efficiently.
• Install ceiling insulation and shade your
windows to prevent heat infiltration.
• Consider using ceiling fans for cooling instead
of air conditioning as they are cheaper to run.
• If you have one, set your air conditioner at
around 240C for maximum efficiency.
TVs, videos, microwave ovens, computers and
computerised game machines all use energy if
plugged in and left on at the power point. This
is called standby power and can cost as much
as $100 a year.
Switch appliances off at the power point when
they are not being used.
Living room
How much are idle appliances
costing you?
EnergyWise Queensland
• Insulate ceilings and seal gaps to prevent
• Close all windows and doors to the heated
room. It is more energy efficient to heat a small
room than a large open-plan living area.
• Set your reverse-cycle air conditioner or heater
to around 19 – 200C .
In the laundry and
Energy can cost up to $50 a quarter in summer
and $90 a quarter in winter.
$ per quarter
Three 3-minute showers a day ___________ 40.00
Clothes dryer used 3 times a week _______ 25.00
Washing machine (top load) used daily
on warm normal cycle __________________ 18.00
Electric strip heater (1000 watt) 1 hr/day ___ 13.00
One bath a day ________________________ 12.00
Hair dryer, electric shaver ________________ 3.50
Two 100 watt lights 1 hr/day ______________ 2.75
Iron used 10 minutes daily _______________ 2.00
Hot water (basin) _______________________ 0.90
Exhaust fan ____________________________ 0.52
To make energy and dollar savings
Clothes washing and drying
• Use the economy settings and always try to
wash a full load of clothes, but don’t overload
the machine.
• Use the ‘solar’ clothes dryer in your back yard
(the clothes line) as much as possible and erect
a washing line under cover for natural drying on
rainy days.
• Wring out or spin-dry clothes before placing
them into a tumble dryer – they will dry faster
and that will save you money on running costs.
• Always clean the lint filter after using your dryer
and open windows or doors to remove moisture
if the dryer is not vented to the outside.
• Consider connecting your dryer to Tariff 33.
• Front loading washing machines are the most
energy and water efficient.
• When purchasing a new washing machine
or dryer buy the highest energy star rated
appliance you can afford.
• Install efficient three star or higher rated
showerheads. By changing your 20 litres a
minute showerhead to an efficient 10 litres a
minute showerhead, the average household
will save at least $34 in ongoing operational
costs in water and energy each year.
• Have a three-minute shower instead of a bath.
• Don’t run the tap while shaving or brushing
your teeth.
Safety hint
Clogged filters in clothes dryers are a known
cause of house fires.
Money down the drain
About 60 drips a minute will add up to 9000
litres of water a year. If this is hot water, about
$40 (on Tariff 33) will go down the drain.
Laundry & bathroom
• Iron low temperature fabrics first to reduce the
warm up time and switch the iron off before
finishing the last garment.
• Iron large batches of clothing at the same time
to avoid wasting energy in reheating.
EnergyWise Queensland
In the bedrooms
Energy can cost about $40 per quarter.
$ per quarter
1500 watt heater 3 hrs/night ____________ 60.00
100 watt light 3 hrs/night ________________ 4.00
Home computer used 10 hrs/week _________ 3.50
Electric clock___________________________ 3.45
Two 60 watt bulbs 1.5 hrs/night ___________ 2.50
Double electric blanket 2 hrs/night ________ 1.80
Portable stereo _________________________ 1.50
Desk lamp 2 hrs/night ___________________ 1.00
To make energy and dollar savings
• Switch off all lights as you leave each room
and clean lamp shades and bulbs regularly to
ensure maximum light output.
• Install a light dimmer to reduce the energy
use of incandescent bulbs.
• Consider using ceiling fans instead of relying
on air conditioning at night.
• A standard air conditioner in the bedroom
(output of 2500 watts) running for eight
hours will cost around $90 a quarter.
Install a safety switch to protect you and your
family from electric shock resulting from faulty
power circuits in your home.
Safety hint
EnergyWise Queensland
• Adjust controls of heated waterbeds to the
lowest comfortable temperature. Covers will
also help insulate it and save up to one third
of the energy it uses.
• Consider having your waterbed heater
connected to Tariff 33.
• Use electric blankets as bed warmers only
and switch off the blanket before going
to bed.
In outdoor areas
The backyard and pool can cost up to $120 a
quarter in summer and up to $60.00 a quarter
in winter.
$ per quarter
Swimming pool pump for 8 hrs/day
–Tariff 11 ___________________________ 120.00
–Tariff 33 ____________________________ 66.00
Spa pump and heater 4 hrs/week ________ 22.00
One 150 watt light 2 hrs/night ____________ 4.00
To make energy and dollar savings
• Consider using a movement detector and light
sensing controls on security lighting to enable
activation of lights only between dusk
and dawn.
• Clean light fixtures regularly and keep
vegetation away from light fixtures.
• Replace existing incandescent bulbs with
compact fluorescent bulbs where possible and
consider using solar-powered walkway and
patio lights.
• Install 120 watt incandescent spotlights with
improved reflector or 100 watt tungstenhalogen spotlights.
Swimming pools and spas
EnergyWise Queensland
• Ensure the correct type of timer is installed
and programmed to run at the minimum
recommended time for each season
(6 – 8 hrs a day in summer and 2 – 4 hrs a
day in winter).
• If needed, select solar pool heating instead
of gas or electricity.
• Cover spa with an insulated cover to reduce
heating costs by up to 50 percent and switch
off if not used for some time.
• Set spa temperature to a minimum level
when not in use and turn up the setting an
hour before using.
• Connect the pool and spa to Tariff 33.
Hot water systems
Water heating accounts for up to 40 percent of
energy used in the home. So a wise choice about
which hot water system you buy can make a
substantial difference to your energy bill.
The amount of hot water used by a household
can vary widely and depends on the daily
amount of bathing, clothes washing, cooking
and dishwashing. The average family uses about
90 – 120 litres of hot water each day.
When you install a hot water system in a new
house, or replace an old system, give some
thought to the type of system that best meets
your needs. After all, the purchase of a hot water
system entails a significant initial cost outlay,
as well as a commitment to buy energy for the
expected 10 – 15 year life of the system.
The main energy sources for hot water systems
in Queensland are electricity, gas and solar.
Why choose solar?
Economical — a solar hot water system can
reduce your hot water bill by up to 80 percent so
you can recoup the purchase cost over time.
Reliable — provided you have a suitable sized
tank and booster system installed, you should
have a reliable supply of hot water at night and
during cloudy days.
Environmentally friendly — a solar hot water
system uses solar energy instead of electricity
or gas to heat water, reducing fossil fuel use and
hence reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Each
solar hot water system installed reduces carbon
dioxide emissions by an average 2.5 tonnes
a year.
Types of solar hot water systems
Thermosyphon system — can be either closecoupled with the tank on the roof above the
panels or have the tank inside the roof and
above the panels.
Forced (pumped) circulation system — panels
are located on the roof, the tank at ground level
and a small pump circulates the water through
the panels into the tank.
Solar boosted heat pump system — uses heat
exchanger panels to absorb heat energy from the
ambient air.
For all hot water systems
• Insulate the first two metres of the hot water
pipe from the hot water system.
• Reduce your running costs by connecting your
hot water system to the most economical tariff
– check with your electricity supplier.
• Turn off the hot water system when going away
for more than a few days.
Hot water
• Conserve hot water by using it efficiently.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for
maintenance of your solar hot water system.
• When possible, do jobs requiring hot water
early in the day, so the water remaining in the
tank is reheated by the sun, reducing the the
need to use the booster.
• Choose the type of booster carefully. Different
types available include gas and electric.
• The recommended setting for the booster
thermostat is approximately 600C. The lower
the thermostat setting the less energy used to
supplement solar heating.
EnergyWise Queensland
Tips for solar hot water systems
Summer cooling
A cool and comfortable house can be achieved by
applying energy efficient house design principles
or by buying energy efficient cooling appliances.
The Energy Advisory Service has detailed
publications on energy efficient house design
(see back cover for contact details).
There are many ways to apply energy efficient
design and landscape principles to an existing
Design features
• Install insulation with the recommended ‘R’
value in ceilings and walls – this makes the
ambient temperature of rooms up to 20C cooler
in summer.
• Shade east and west facing windows with
external vertical shading devices, such as
blinds, awnings or shutters.
• Where required, provide additional shading
to north-facing and south-facing windows with
pergolas or verandas.
• If replacing sun-exposed windows, use tinted
glass to reduce heat gain and consider installing
reflective film on east and west facing windows.
• Seal any gaps around windows and skirting
boards, cornices and between different wall
materials to keep hot draughts out.
• Open doors, windows, curtains and blinds once
it is cooler outside than inside.
• Close off unused rooms. These can act as a
buffer zone to keep living areas cooler.
• Install weather-stripping and draught excluders
on windows, external doors and doors to
high ventilation areas such as bathrooms and
Landscape features:
• Avoid paving or concrete slabs in front of
windows to reduce the effect of reflected heat
into the house.
• Select and position plants to provide effective
summer shading and a buffer against hot
winds and maximise the effect of cool changes.
• Consider the use of deciduous trees and vines
on the northern side to allow access of light
and warmth in winter.
EnergyWise Queensland
It is usually easier and more cost-effective
to incorporate energy efficient features into
your home when building or renovating. More
information on Smart Housing design principles
can be found at
Cooling appliances
If supplementary cooling is required, fans,
evaporative cooling or refrigerated air
conditioning can be used. The best option
depends on climate, house design and lifestyle
as well as your budget. Here are some tips to
help you choose:
• Ideal in well insulated and shaded rooms, day
and night.
• Available as portable units (desk, floor or
pedestal mounted) or as fixed ceiling fans.
• Reasonably priced.
• Low running costs.
Evaporative coolers
• Best in hot, dry climates.
• Available as portable units, wall mounted
units or ducted systems.
• Purchase price varies from around $250 for a
portable unit to $3500 for a ducted system in
a typical house.
• Reasonable running costs – less than half that
of refrigerated air conditioners considering
both electricity and water.
• Must be operated with doors or windows
open for external ventilation.
• Should be thoroughly cleaned at the
end of each season in accordance with
manufacturer’s instructions.
• Available in various styles and capacities
– choose the model that suits your rooms and
• Purchase price varies from around $300 for a
small bedroom unit to around $16,000 for a
ducted system.
• High running costs particularly in very warm
and humid climates.
• Filters the room air, removing airborne dust,
pollens, hair and lint.
• Thermostatically controlled, allowing you to
select a desired temperature.
• Should be placed on the shady side of the
building (or shade the air conditioner itself),
and make sure the airflow isn’t obstructed.
• Before turning on the air conditioner, close all
doors and windows and draw the curtains or
blinds to prevent unnecessary heat getting in
and cool air escaping.
• Drawing warm air in from the outside uses more
electricity, so select the ‘air recirculate’ setting
on your air conditioner.
• In summer, set the thermostat control on as
high a setting as is comfortable. By increasing
the room temperature by one degree, you can
save up to 10 percent of operating costs.
• Set your air conditioner at 240C in south east
Queensland in summer, 250C in other areas
of Queensland.
• If the machine has adjustable vents, direct
them towards the ceiling when cooling and
towards the floor when heating.
• Clean the filter according to the manufacturer’s
EnergyWise Queensland
Refrigerated (including reverse cycle)
air conditioners
Winter warmth
Space heating, although not required for long
periods, still represents up to 10 percent of
energy bills. In the southern ranges and inland
areas of Queensland a greater portion of winter
energy bills will be for heating.
• Choose the right size heater to suit your
room and conditions and keep it in good
operating order.
• Install insulation and seal gaps to prevent
• Decide which rooms require frequent heating
and cooling. Make sure they are well insulated
and can be closed off from the rest of
the house.
Types of heating
Radiant heating — heats objects rather than
air but will eventually heat the air, e.g. bar
radiators, gas radiant heaters, open fireplaces
and kerosene heaters. This type of heating is best
suited to provide immediate personal warmth in
larger rooms.
Forced convection — involves a fan drawing air
into a heater where it is heated and then sent
out as warm air, e.g. electric fan heaters, reverse
cycle air conditioners and gas heaters. These
heaters are designed to heat the air in the room
and are particularly suitable for where people
move around.
Reverse cycle air conditioning set at 190C is the
most efficient way to heat your home.
Convection heaters — circulate warm air
through the room by natural air currents, e.g.
some electric, oil and gas heaters and slow
combustion stoves.
Oil filled panel-and-columns are relatively slow
to heat up, and are suitable for heating smaller
rooms for a long period of time, especially if
several people are using the room. Most are
thermostatically controlled. Their low surface
temperature makes them safe for small
EnergyWise Queensland
Conduction heating — transmits warmth
directly to the body, e.g. electric blankets
and hot water bottles. This type of heating is
ideal for personal use.
Home lighting
Efficient light fixtures and lamps
• Use fluorescent lights where possible,
particularly in areas where lights are on for
more than one hour at a time. Fluorescent
bulbs give five times the light, last up to eight
times longer than ordinary bulbs and are
around 80 percent more energy efficient.
• By using six fluorescent 20 watt light bulbs
instead of six normal (incandescent) 100 watt
light bulbs for 5 hours each day, you can save
over $100 a year on your electricity bill.
• Use the lowest wattage lamp that will
adequately illuminate the required area.
• Replace old fluorescent tubes (40 watt and
20 watt) with lower wattage tubes (36 watt and
18 watt) which provide the same level of
lighting but use less electricity.
• High efficiency multi-phosphor or tri-phosphor
fluorescent lamps offer outstanding daylightcolour light quality, which is particularly
advantageous in dining areas or sewing
rooms. These lamps use the same amount
of electricity as standard fluorescent tubes,
but they provide about 15 percent more light
output and will maintain their high light
output after years of use.
• Clean lamps and shades frequently.
• Use white or pale coloured lampshades in
preference to darker colours.
Turning off lights
EnergyWise Queensland
• Encourage all members of your household to
turn off lights when leaving a room for more
than a few minutes. Leaving them on when no
one is in the room is a waste of energy
and money.
• Turning incandescent lights on and off does
not use extra electricity. Turning a fluorescent
light on and off uses slightly more electricity
and does reduce its lifetime as it will wear out
the starter device. However they are still more
cost-effective than incandescent bulbs and you
should turn them off if you leave the room for
more than 15 minutes.
• Use task lighting, such as over desks, instead of
lighting the whole room.
• Provide additional switches so one switch
operates only one light.
• Provide two-way switching for stairways, halls
and rooms with more than one door.
• Push button time switches and sensor lights are
ideal for stairways and garages.
• Use programmable timers, daylight sensors
or movement sensors for outdoor and security
When purchasing major
new appliances, look
for the energy rating
label – the more stars,
the more efficient
the appliance.
Major appliances that
use water also have a
water rating label.
Appliance labelling
When buying a new appliance choose the one
that uses the least amount of energy while
meeting your needs. This helps you save money!
• Choose appliances according to their star
rating. Although the purchase price of an
energy efficient appliance may be higher than
one which uses energy less efficiently, you
will save on running costs in the long term.
• Energy rating labels help you make the right
choice when buying a major new appliance.
In Queensland, energy rating labels must
be attached to refrigerators, freezers, air
conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines
and dryers.
• The white stars on the energy rating label
indicate how efficient the appliance is under
set conditions. The more stars the lower the
energy consumption and the more money you
save. The number in the red box indicates how
much energy the appliance is likely to use
in a year. The tests used to measure energy
efficiency for the rating label require the
appliance to perform the job for which it is
intended. If the appliance does not meet this
standard, it cannot get a label or be sold.
• Be sure to compare the labels of machines
in the same category (e.g. there are nine
different categories of refrigerator).
• Many gas heaters and hot water systems are
also labelled under a similar scheme run by
the Australian Gas Association. The labels are
similar to those for electrical appliances, but
are red and blue instead of red and yellow.
For more information on energy ratings, visit
All figures stated in this book are estimates and
are based on average running times. To find out
the specific cost of energy-related running costs in
your home, use an energy calculator – many can be
found on the internet – but we suggest you visit the
ENERGEX Institute ( to
help you to identify the best appliances for
your home.
New building regulations to improve water
and energy efficiency apply to all new home
plans approved in Queensland from
1 March 2006.
This publication has been printed on
environmentally responsible Australian made
stock using a waterless press.
Waterless printing is a lithographic printing
process that eliminates the need for water.
Its benefits include increased productivity,
improved quality, no alcohol to dispose of
and less paper wastage.
EnergyWise Queensland
For more information, contact your local
council or email Building Codes Queensland
at [email protected]
For more information
call 1300 369 388 — email [email protected] — visit
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