These handy energy saving tips will help you and your family do your bit to save
the planet as well as saving you money.
- Electric hot water systems
Switch from electric to gas hot water, or gas-boosted solar and you may be eligible
for a rebate and incentives to help cut the cost of installation. Not only will
your solar hot water system reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it can also save you
up to 75% on your hot water bill. Solar hot water system rebates and incentives
are available through a range of retailers and installers across Victoria. For more
information, visit saveenergy.vic.gov.au.
- Swimming pool
Pool pumps use more electricity than you might expect – in terms of electricity
usage, having a swimming pool can be the equivalent of having seven extra people
in your household! Some pool pumps use a lot more electricity to filter your pool
effectively than others, so look for energy star ratings (to be introduced in mid
2010) when purchasing a pool pump.
- Electric cook top
Gas appliances can be more efficient than electric appliances, so switch to gas
if you can. Also, to reduce electricity use when cooking, remember to keep a lid
on it! Cooking with pots and pans covered can conserve energy and reduce your bills
at the same time.
- Electric oven
Gas appliances can be more efficient than electric appliances, so switch if you
- Air conditioning
Air conditioning can be a major contributor to peak electricity loads. However,
how often you use your air conditioner will determine whether or not air conditioning
is a major contributor to your overall electricity consumption. Look for air conditioners
with at least a 4.5 star energy rating - every extra star can reduce running costs
by 10%. In summer, set your thermostat to about 26 degrees. For every 1ºC you increase
your thermostat, you can save about 10% on running costs.
- Electric under floor heating
An energy-efficient heating system costs less to run and produces less greenhouse
gas emissions. Look for the energy star rating on central heating systems and reverse
cycle air conditioners - the higher the rating, the more efficient the system will
be. Go for 4 to 6 stars if you can. Incentives are also available to help you switch.
To find out more, visit www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au.
- Electric central heating (ducted/split cycle/reverse
An energy-efficient heating system will cost less to run and produce less greenhouse
gas emissions. Look for the energy star rating on central heating systems and reverse
cycle air conditioners - the higher the rating, the more efficient the system is.
Go for 4 to 6 stars if you can. Incentives are also available to help you switch.
To find out more, visit www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au.
Switch your computer, monitor, printer and speakers off whenever they are not in
use. Standby energy consumption can be considerable and contributes to increased
greenhouse gas emissions. Try to buy appliances that use no more than one watt of
electricity when in standby mode.
Switch off any extra fridges you have when not in use. When buying a fridge, always
look for one with at least 4 stars, or 4.5 stars if you are buying a freezer. Every
extra star can save you money on running costs. Incentives are available for the
purchase of high efficiency fridges and for the disposal of energy guzzling fridges
through the Energy Saver Incentive scheme. To find out more, visit www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au.
Switch off your television when you're not watching it. When buying a new television,
choose the most energy efficient one you can. Use the energy efficiency rating label
on the television to help guide you in making your purchase.
Run the dishwasher only when it's full. Use the most efficient program you can,
i.e. with the lowest temperature or shortest running time. When buying a dishwasher,
choose one with at least 3.5 star energy rating. Every extra star can reduce running
costs by up to 30% a year - the more stars, the more you save. The most efficient
dishwashers also use half the water of average models.
- Clothes dryers and Washing machines
Save energy by drying your clothes on a clothesline whenever you can. By partly
drying your wash load in the sun or wind (even on a cloudy day), you'll be saving
energy - your dryer can then be used to finish off the drying as required. When
buying a washing machine, choose one with at least a 3.5 star energy rating and
a dryer with at least 2 stars. Washers are also rated for water efficiency - go
for at least 4 stars. Every extra star rating can cut 25% off the lifetime running
costs of washers and 15% off dryers.
Want more energy saving tips and ideas?
Visit these sites:
Further to these great resources, the Home Energy Saver Scheme is provided through community organisations around Australia and can help by offering low-income households experiencing difficulty meeting and paying for their energy needs. For information on what HESS can offer you, visit the Australian Government website here.
We’ve put together some simple checklists to help you cut the cost of your domestic
gas and electricity bills. Print and keep them in a handy place for quick and easy
- In the kitchen
It runs 24/7, so it's important to make sure it's energy efficient.
- Choose a fridge with a top star energy rating label. This could save up to 4.5 tonnes
of greenhouse gas and a whopping $450 over its lifetime.
- Open the fridge door only when necessary. Take out or put back several items at
a time to preserve the cold air inside and save energy.
- An old fridge could be using three times the energy of a new one.
- Is a 'beer fridge' really necessary? A rarely-used second fridge can cost more than
$200 a year in energy bills.
- Fridges operate at peak efficiency when full.
- Locate your fridge in a cool place away from the oven (and the sun).
- If your fridge has coils at the back, make sure there's enough space for ventilation.
- Each year, defrost chest freezers once or twice and upright models twice or three
times, to keep them running at peak efficiency.
- Fridge door seals should be completely air tight. Test them by closing the door
over a piece of paper so that it's half in and half out of the refrigerator. If
you can pull the paper out easily, the hinge may need adjustment or the seal may
It may get things squeaky clean, but how much energy is it using to do so?
- Choose a dishwasher with a top star energy rating label.
- A half-filled dishwasher uses the same energy as a full one, so make sure you have
a full load before running the next cycle.
- Turn your dishwasher off before the drying cycle. Open the door, and allow the dishes
to air dry.
- Always follow manufacturer instructions to obtain peak efficiency. Pack dishes correctly
and be sure there are no large items preventing the wash arms from rotating.
- Use small load or half load options, short wash cycles or rinse-only cycles for
maximum energy efficiency.
The oven and cook top
Here's how to whip up an energy-efficient feast in the kitchen!
- Microwaves, electric fry pans and pressure cookers are more energy efficient than
- Thaw frozen foods thoroughly to save energy and cooking time.
- Keep the oven door completely closed until food is cooked. Try not to open the oven
door while baking.
- Fan forced ovens use less energy than conventional ovens, reducing baking times
- Cook vegies in just enough water to create steam, saving the energy required to
boil more water than is necessary. More nutritionally valuable, too!
- Pressure cookers save approximately 25% of energy used in a standard convection
- Always use the right pot or pan size for your hotplates, and cook with the lids
- Use a small amount of water in pots and bring liquid to boil quickly on a high setting,
then turn the heat down so food simmers while cooking.
- Use your jug or kettle to boil water, rather than the stove.
Gradually replace old, expensive-to-run appliances with new appliances that have
high energy star ratings.
The more stars your appliance has, the more energy efficient it will be - and the
lower the running costs.
Over ten years, you could save up to $1,400 and prevent up to 14 tonnes of greenhouse
- In the laundry
Saving in the laundry
The washing machine
It's time to clean up your act when it comes to the weekly wash!
- Use cold water whenever possible.
- Front-loading machines use less energy and water than top-loaders.
- Washing machines use the same amount of electricity for a full load as they do for
a single item. If you can't delay until you have a full load, adjust the clothes
washing cycle to match the load size.
- Never overload your washing machine, or it will not clean effectively.
- Take advantage of energy (and money) saving features on your machine. Soak cycles
remove stubborn stains on a one-wash cycle and a suds-saver allows you to recycle
soapy water if required.
Is it really necessary? How's the weather out there?
- If it's a sunny day, ditch the dryer. Hang your washing outside instead.
- Spin dry clothes before putting them in your dryer.
- Clean the lint filter on your dryer regularly to maintain full air flow. Do this
little job frequently, and you maximise drying efficiency and minimise fire risk.
The best way to save energy here would be not to iron at all! But seeing as the
crumpled look is not for everyone, here are some energy saving tips for ironing.
- Iron large batches of clothing at one time to avoid wasting energy reheating the
- Steam ironing uses more energy, so use a dry iron wherever possible.
- Sort ironing by fabric type and iron lighter fabrics on lower settings first.
- Turn the iron off and use residual heat for delicate items.
- Heating and cooling
Saving with heating and cooling
Summer or winter, a few simple changes will help you reduce your energy bills.
- Don't overheat. The temperature of a heated room in winter should be 18-21 degrees.
- Your gas heater will work more efficiently if you stick to the manufacturer's recommended
- Gas heaters are cheaper to run and generate lower greenhouse gas emissions than
- Seek advice to help you choose the right size gas heater for the area you want to
- Close doors and only heat the main living areas.
- Warm up with a jumper or rug (or cuddles) instead of turning up your heater.
- Window coverings halve winter heat loss.
- Draft excluders across the bottom of doors really work.
- If your home has adjustable louvres, tilt them to draw warmth towards the floor
(hot air rises).
- The temperature of a cooled room in summer should be about 23-26 degrees. (Humidity
indoors will be low, so it will actually feel cooler.)
- Frequent changes in thermostat settings will increase operating costs.
- Set air-conditioning to recirculate cool air instead of pulling warmer air in from
- Clean the filter on your air-conditioning unit every three months.
- If the unit has adjustable louvres, adjust them towards the ceiling when cooling
(cool air sinks).
- Choose an air-conditioner with an inverter drive. It will be more energy efficient,
and therefore more cost effective.
- Ceiling fans are the most energy efficient form of cooling. They are relatively
cheap to buy, cheap to run, quiet to operate and suitable for every room.
- Close curtains over glass areas. This keeps the warmth out and the cool in - and
the reverse in winter.
- External sun blinds will prevent summer heat through windows.
- Wall and ceiling insulation will keep the heat in and the cold out in winter - and
works just as effectively in reverse in summer.
- Good insulation can make your home up to seven degrees warmer in winter and ten
degrees cooler in summer.
- Draughts can increase heating by up to 25%.
- Minimise heat loss in winter and help trap cool air in summer by repairing faulty
door seals, hanging heavy curtains that fit close to the window frames and laying
rugs on bare floors.
Saving with lighting
- Light up your life and reduce your bills at the same time.
- Turn off lights whenever you can.
- Choose energy-efficient compact fluorescent globes - they last 6-10 times longer
and use 80% less energy than standard globes.
- Just one 15 watt compact fluorescent globe saves around $10 per year on your energy
- Use energy-efficient fluorescent lamps in rooms where light is required for longer
periods, such as kitchens and living areas.
- Install a timer/sensor instead of leaving security lights on all night.
- Use separate switches for each light, rather than having several lights activated
by one switch.
- Make the most of natural light, particularly from north facing windows.
- Skylights are a great idea in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Keep lights clean. Dust makes them less efficient.
Types of lighting
- Cheapest isn't always best.
- Choose the light to suit the environment and make the most of natural light.
- Incandescent lights are cheaper to buy but more expensive to run.
- Halogen lights are more expensive, but twice as energy efficient.
- Fluoro lights are the most energy efficient. They're easy to install and use 80%
less energy than a standard light globe to produce the same level of light.
- Hot water
Reduce your Hot Water usage
In the average home, hot water usage accounts for one third of total household energy
consumption. To reduce this figure and your bill, follow these tips:
- Fit an AAA-rated low flow shower head. It'll save you up to $100 per year on your
energy and water bills - and save precious water.
- A high efficiency natural gas water heater produces around two-thirds the greenhouse
emissions generated by an electric heater. It will also save you hundreds of dollars
in energy bills over the lifetime of the system.
- The eco-friendly sun heats water beautifully. A solar hot water system can reduce
your household hot water bill by up to 70%.
- Take 3 minute showers. Baths not only use twice as much water as showers, they require
twice as much energy to heat.
- Going away? Turn the power off on your hot water system.
- Fix any leaking taps to avoid water wastage. Remember that even a small leak wastes
large amounts of water.
- Check the pressure relief valve on the side of your hot water tank to avoid wasting
water you're paying to heat.
- Use cold water in the laundry whenever you can.
- When installing a new hot water system, try to locate it close to your bathroom,
kitchen and laundry. Less heat will be lost traveling through the pipes. Insulate
the pipes to further minimize heat loss.
- The swimming pool
Savings in the pool
Pool pumps are not the only things that impact on energy bills. Keep these tips
in mind to help minimise your pool running costs.
- Get the right size filter for your pool, and know how long it should operate daily
to keep the water clean.
- Check the filter timer regularly.
- Do you heat your pool? Try solar heating. It's a simple energy-efficient alternative
consisting of a large area of black plastic or rubber with tubes through which the
pool water circulates and collects heat.
- Keep your swimming pool and spa covered when not in use.