How to save on your energy bills

ENERGY CONSERVATION How to save on your energy bills Saving energy in the home can be so easy. This booklet shows you how. At a glance, you will see...
Author: Alicia Lloyd
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How to save on your energy bills

Saving energy in the home can be so easy. This booklet shows you how. At a glance, you will see typical running costs for hot water, heating and household appliances. There are lots of handy hints which will make a big difference to your household energy costs. Using less energy also means less pollution and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. So start now and save energy, the environment and hundreds of dollars on energy bills. The information provided in this publication relates to a ‘typical’ household. Each individual household will vary. The information is intended only to provide guidance to the householder. All costs refer to winter costs, and all costs are quarterly. Bear in mind that winter energy bills are usually higher than summer bills.

The living room Costs about $128 per winter quarter (It could cost you over $360 or as little as $52) Three 60 watt lamps, 5 hrs/day costs $8 a quarter

Space heater* costs $80 a quarter

Ceiling fan 4hrs/day costs $3 a quarter

Stereo 3 hrs/day costs $2.90 a quarter

Heated aquarium costs $11 a quarter

Video recorder 5 hrs/day costs $7 a quarter

Cat’s heat output worth 60c a quarter

Colour TV 8 hrs/day costs $16 a quarter

* Natural gas, off-peak electric or reverse cycle air conditioning Approximate maximum savings per quarter

Approximate extra costs per quarter

Leave the heater on 24 hours a day Leave windows open while the heater is on Heat an area twice as large for 8 hours a day Raise the thermostat setting by 1°C Leave curtains open at night Use central heating 8 hours a day (to heat the entire house) Use more lighting (e.g. numerous downlights or spotlights)

Change to more efficient lighting by: • replacing 60 watt globes with compact fluorescent globes


Save up to $60

You would spend more if you:

Put in ceiling insulation Block off the open fireplace to stop warm air going up the chimney Seal gaps around external doors and windows to stop draughts Prevent heat loss through windows by using heavy drapes fitted with pelmets Keep all doors to unheated areas closed Use the heater on a lower thermostat setting Choose an energy efficient model if installing a gas heater or reverse cycle air conditioner— one that has a 5 or 6 star rating (some are up to 40% cheaper to run) Use a ceiling fan to help distribute heat Regularly maintain the heater

Save up to $40

You could save on these costs if you:

save $7.00

$72 $40 $80 $12 $2 $122 $23

And remember: • If your heating bills are higher than those shown here, each energy saving measure will result in bigger energy and money savings. • Insulation, sealing out draughts and effective window coverings improve comfort as well as energy efficiency. • Check Other Fuels and Appliances on page 8 for information on the costs of other heaters and fuels.

The kitchen Costs about $75 per winter quarter (It could cost you over $140 or as little as $40) Electric kettle 5 times/day costs $6 a quarter Automatic toaster costs $1.50 a quarter

Three 75 watt lights for 3 hrs/day costs $6 a quarter

Microwave oven used for 10% of cooking needs costs $2 a quarter Each sink of hot water costs about 4c Regular washing up costs $8 a quarter

Fan and light in rangehood costs $3 a quarter

Two-door cyclic-defrost refrigerator costs $18 a quarter

Gas cooker costs $20 a quarter

Dishwasher with hot water connection costs $9 a quarter

Radiator 1 hr/day costs $9 a quarter

Approximate maximum savings per quarter

You could save on these costs if you: Use an energy-efficient 5 star rating refrigerator Replace spot lights with compact fluorescent globes Use energy efficient cooking methods: • minimum grilling • minimum water in pots • lids on pots • simmer instead of boil Use the microwave whenever possible

You would spend more if you: $6.00 $5.00 $5.00


And remember: • When purchasing a refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, dryer, washing machine or air conditioner, check the energy rating label and save yourself hundreds of dollars on energy costs over the lifetime of the appliance. The more stars, the more energy efficient. • Costs of other kitchen appliances are included in Other fuels and appliances on page 10.


Approximate extra costs per quarter

Use a non energy-efficient 1 star rating refrigerator $5.00 Install a freezer (however bulk buying of food could save you more than the extra cost of running the freezer) $22.00 Are careless about refrigerator use and maintenance, such as: $5.00 • restricting ventilation around refrigerator coils • poorly fitting door seals • leaving door open unnecessarily Have an older model gas cooker with a pilot light Use an electric cooker (non-microwave) Allow the hot tap to drip (at 30 drips a minute) Leave lights on for an extra 3 hours a day Rinse dishes under running hot water and frequently use small amounts of hot water from the tap

$8.00 $20.00 $3.00 $6.00



The laundry and bathroom Costs about $68 per winter quarter (Could cost you over $212 or as little as $28) Open window when the dryer is running to get rid of moisture

Exhaust fan (good at getting rid of moisture) costs 20c a quarter

Hot water trough costs $5 per quarter

One light 1 hour a day costs 75c a quarter

One light 1 hr/day costs 70c a quarter

Electric strip heater 1/2 hour/day costs $4.60 a quarter

Hair dryer, electric shaver cost $4 a quarter

Clothes dryer used 3 times a week at 25c a load Costs $18 a quarter Hot water (basin) costs $2 a quarter

Iron daily use costs $3 a quarter

Washing machine used daily on warm cycle costs $7 a quarter

Three 3 minute showers a day costs $15 a quarter One bath a day costs $7.50 a quarter

Approximate maximum savings per quarter

Approximate maximum savings per quarter

You could save on these costs if you:

You could save on these costs if you:

Use cold water for machine washing $2.50 Use ‘suds save’ to reuse washing water $0.70 Run the dryer on medium instead of high $2.00 Use a clothes line or drying racks instead of a dryer $18.00 Use an energy efficient 5 star rating washing machine $2.00 Use an energy efficient 5 star rating clothes dryer $2.50 Replace conventional globes with compact fluorescent globes $0.60

Fit an AAA rated shower head Take 3 minute showers instead of baths

Approximate extra costs per quarter

You would spend more if you: Use hot water for machine washing all the time Use a lot of hot water in the trough Use the washer when it’s not fully loaded Use a non-energy efficient 1 star rating washing machine Use a non-energy efficient 1 star rating clothes dryer 4

$3.00 $2.50 $6.00 $2.00 $2.00

$3.00/person $5.50/person Approximate extra costs per quarter

You would spend more if you: Take long showers $12.00/person Use more bath water $4.50/person Leave hot water running while washing $2.00 Leave a hot water tap dripping $2.50 Use a heated towel rail $29.00 (depends on wattage) Use a spa or sauna $49.00

The bedrooms Costs about $39 per winter quarter (They could cost you over $146 or as little as $20)

Cassette radio costs $1.00 a quarter

Light 3 hrs/night costs $2.00 a quarter

Electric clock costs 50c a quarter

Desk lamp 2 hrs/night costs 40c a quarter

Three lights 1.5 hrs/night costs $3 a quarter

Home computer used 10 hrs/week Cost $12.60 a quarter

Single electric blankets cost $1 each a quarter

Fan heater 3 hrs/night on medium setting costs $40 a quarter

Double electric blanket costs $2 a quarter

Approximate extra costs per quarter

Approximate maximum savings per quarter

You could save on these costs if you:

You would spend more if you:

Switch off the lights as you leave each room $3.00 Insulate and seal out draughts $13.00

Had a heated waterbed Left the lights on for long periods Used the heater for long periods, e.g. all night on low setting Used the home computer for 4 hours every night

And remember: • Protect your family and your home from electrical accidents by installing safety switches in the home. These switches will cut off (or ‘trip’) power to a circuit if there is an electrical fault or leak. Contact a registered electrical contractor or your local electricity distribution business for further advice.

$10.00 $6.00 $43.00 $23.00

And remember • Electric blankets should be inspected for safety at the start of each winter. Contact the manufacturer directly, or take it to an electrical appliance repair centre.


The garage/workshop Costs about $17 per winter per quarter Car fuel costs them about $269 per quarter (These could cost you over $718 or as little as $39) Car fuel 6 cylinder family car, 3800 kms at 12.5 litres/100 km costs about $269 a quarter

Drinks refrigerator costs $15 a quarter Beer, 1 can a day costs $75 a quarter

Light costs 40c a quarter

Power tools cost $1.00 a quarter

Bike used 1 hr/day costs nothing!

Electric lawn mower used 1/2 hr/week costs $1 a quarter

Approximate maximum savings per quarter

Approximate extra costs per quarter

You could save on these costs if you:

You would spend more if you:

Turn off the drinks fridge except when many visitors are expected $13.00 Use the car less and use alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport. Use local shops, cinemas etc. instead of distant ones up to $182 or Change to a more fuel-efficient car $141 Have the car converted to LPG $178 Drive smoothly with the flow of traffic $27 Drive at 90 km/hr when cruising 10% of instead of at 100 km/hr country fuel costs

Run a large home workshop with heavy equipment $44 Own a thirstier-than-average car $98 Drive above-average distances or $72 per use two cars extra 1000 km Leave a roof rack on the car all the time $27 Leave extra weight in the car all the time $7 per 100 kg Use the choke excessively $27 Drive on under-inflated tyres $14 Drive a badly tuned car $14 – $25



Other fuels and appliances For each room in our room-by-room guide we have made the running cost calculations using the most common types of electric and gas appliances. Compare these costs with the lists showing how you could save and how you would spend more and you will see how you can make savings on energy costs.

But what if you use other fuels or other appliances? The information on the following pages should help you work out your likely costs over the winter quarter. You may need to refer to the room-byroom guide to make cost comparisons.

Space heating The cost to heat the average living room is $80 per quarter. • Natural gas space heaters, off-peak electric storage heaters and high efficiency (4 – 6 star rated) reverse cycle air conditioners have similar running costs to this figure. • Lower efficiency (1 – 3 star rated) reverse cycle air conditioners, space heaters using LPG and slow combustion wood heaters cost about 50% more (so multiply this cost by 1.5). • Heating oil and LPG space heating is about double this cost (multiply by 2.0). • Portable kerosene heaters supply heat at two to four times this cost, depending on the price of kerosene (so multiply the cost by 2.0 to 4.0). • Portable and fixed electric heaters which run on the day rate tariff, and pot belly wood heaters, supply heat at approximately 3 times this cost (multiply the cost by 3.0). • An open fire provides heat at about eight times the cost (so multiply by 8.0). For wood bought at $160 per tonne


Central heating

Other factors

Using a space heater to heat a typical living room costs approximately $98 per quarter. If central heating is used to heat an entire house, costs would increase.

Although running costs of heaters are important, other factors can affect the overall cost of heating.

• In-slab heating (electric or hydronic) costs around twice this amount, if kept at about 18°C. • Natural gas ducted heating using a high efficiency (4 – 6 stars) furnace, and hydronic heating with radiators using natural gas also costs around twice this amount. • Natural gas ducted heating using a standard efficiency furnace (1 – 3 stars), electric radiant ceiling heating and ducted reverse cycle air conditioning cost around three times this amount. • Ducted or hydronic heating using LPG costs around four times this amount. • Remember, central heating costs vary widely, depending on the temperature set, the area heated, the length of time a system is on for, and the efficiency of the model.


• Sleeping or formal living areas often do not need to be heated to the same temperature, or at the same time, as informal living areas. If you are considering purchasing a central heating system, look for one which can be ‘zoned’ to heat different areas of your home at different times. This can easily halve your central heating costs. • If, for instance, you have an area that is heated only for short periods, the purchase cost of your heater could be far more than the running costs. In such areas, a portable heater may be a more practical alternative than a fixed space heater. • Different types of heaters provide comfort in different ways. In a large draughty room a radiant heater which warms you directly will be more effective and economical than a fan type heater which tends to heat the air before the person. Radiant heating is especially useful in bathrooms.

Other fuels and appliances Hot water The average hot water cost is $60 per quarter. • High efficiency natural gas storage hot water systems and electric off-peak systems are similar in running cost to the above figure. • High efficiency natural gas continuous flow or instantaneous hot water is cheaper to run (multiply the above cost by 0.85). • LPG hot water is up to 2.5 times the cost of the standard gas or off-peak units (so multiply the cost by 2.5). • Peak tariff electric hot water systems (instantaneous and continual reheat) are about 2.5 times the cost of off-peak electric hot water (so multiply the cost by 2.5). • A solar hot water system will reduce annual costs on average by 50%* saving an average family up to $150 a year. * In northern NSW, this saving can be up to 80%

Cooking The average cost for cooking is $15 per quarter.


• For a smaller household the cost would be $12 while for a larger household the cost would be closer to $20.

The cost to cool a typical living room with a fan is $3.00 per quarter.

• Conventional electric cooking costs over double (multiply the cost by 2.5).

• refrigerated air conditioning will cost around $36 per quarter while an evaporative cooler will cost $12-15 This will be better suited to western NSW.

• LPG cooking costs over twice that of natural gas (multiply the cost by 2.5). • However, electric frying pans and deep fryers cost about 15 cents an hour. When used for short periods, they are more economical to run than an electric or gas stove. Using a microwave for most of their cooking saves Brian and Katherina’s over $5 a quarter.

Used for 4 hours a day on hot days:

• a ducted evaporative system to cool the whole house will cost up to $36 a quarter; and • a ducted refrigerative system will cost around $100 a quarter.

Appliances that hit the hip pocket Some other seemingly innocent appliances can have surprisingly large effects on energy bills. These include: Quarterly cost

• • • • •

Swimming pool filter pump up to $55 Swimming pool heater (natural gas-fuelled) up to $325 Sauna up to $55 Spa $165 100 watt security light left on 16 hours a day $14


Buying a new appliance? You can save energy, money and our environment

Look for an energy rating label Energy rating labels will help you to buy an energy-efficient model which could save you hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of the appliance. Every energy rating label has from 1 – 6 stars marked on it. The more stars you see the more efficient the appliance and less energy it uses. This equates to significant savings on running costs every year. They can be found on all: • • • • • • • •

Refrigerators and freezers Dishwashers Air conditioners Gas space heaters Gas ducted heating furnaces Gas hot water services Clothes dryers Washing machines

For more information, visit


The greenhouse effect How saving energy helps reduce the greenhouse effect

Almost all of the energy we use, whether for heating, cooking or transport, contributes to the greenhouse effect. Energy sources such as coal, petroleum and natural gas produce CO2 (carbon dioxide) when burnt to provide us with useful energy. By wasting energy in our daily activities we contribute unnecessary quantities of CO2 to the atmosphere.

What you can do Here are some things you can do to help reduce CO2 emissions. • Turn off the heater at night before you go to bed (save 600 kg CO2 per quarter) • Use a microwave for most of your cooking needs (save 810 kg CO2 per quarter) • Use a clothes line rather than a dryer (save 260 kg CO2 per quarter) • Drive smoothly with the flow of traffic (save 140 kg CO2 per quarter) Any fossil fuel based energy you save will help reduce the greenhouse effect. NSW contributes over 80 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere per year. This is equivalent to the combined weight of 210 000 jumbo jets, or about 18 tonnes for every person in the State.


Inc om so ing l rad ar iat ion


Some heat radiation escapes but gases trap the rest


Water vapour


Nitrous oxide

Carbon dioxide

Many sources

Cattle Paddyfields Gas distribution losses

Fertiliser Fossil fuels

Coal Oil Petrol Gas



Aerosols Fire extinguishers Refrigerations


Household cleaners Electrical equipment


The Energy Smart Information Centre is a free advisory service provided by the NSW Government. Energy experts can provide information on a wide range of topics including Energy Smart design for new homes and renovations, appliance selection, solar and wind power systems, choosing heating and cooling systems, insulation, lighting and water saving devices.

Energy Smart Information Centre Sustainable Energy Development Authority Level 6, 45 Clarence Street, Sydney PO Box N442, Grosvenor Place, NSW 1220 Telephone 1300 138 638, or (02) 9249 6125 Facsimile (02) 9290 3483 Email [email protected] The information printed in this brochure was derived from various sources and was believed to be correct when published. Printed on 100% Australian made recycled paper. March 2002.

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