Tips & Advice

How to tell how energy efficient a product is

An energy efficiency product is either something that uses a minimum amount of electricity to run it or one that assists in energy saving measures.

The latter are usually easy to spot; compared with the regular product options in their category, the energy efficient option will likely be labeled or named as such to set it apart.

The products that use electricity (appliances and devices) require a bit more thought as they will all claim to offer energy efficiency to one degree or another.

First, let’s look at some of the largest consumers of energy around the average home, then we’ll discuss determining how energy efficient they really are.

Heating

  • 30-35% of power bill
  • Heat pump – 30c an hour
  • Two-bar heater – 58c an hour

Hot water heating

  • Accounts for at least 30% of energy costs in the average home.
  • Running a large bath will cost around $1.54 a time
  • A 10 minute shower is almost half that at about 83c

Lighting

  • Around 8-15% of energy costs
  • Traditional 100-watt bulbs cost 15c for six hours use
  • Energy-efficient 100-watt-equivalent compact fluorescent bulbs cost 80% less at just 3c for six hours 

Fridge/freezer

  • Always running
  • Accounts for about 11% of a typical home's power bill
  • New energy-efficient models will cost around 32c a day
  • A 15+ year-old model could be as high as 51c a day

Jug

  • 2-4c per boil depending on how much water

Washing machine

  • cold wash - 5.6c each
  • warm/cold wash - 45.8c each
  • hot/cold wash - $1.26 each

Other

  • Cooking -6% of power bill
  • Other appliances – 4%
  • TV, computers, other electronic devices – 12%

When it’s time to buy new electrical appliances and devices, how can you tell how energy efficient it is?

Comparing the energy rating labels is a simple way to compare like for like products (eg, one 372L fridge with another 372L fridge) to see which one performs better; the more stars on the label, the more energy efficient it is.

When you want to compare products of different sizes and/or types look at the energy consumption figure on the labels. This tells you how many kWh per year the appliance is likely to consume; the model with the lowest kWh per year is the most energy efficient.

EECA Energywise has created a handy energy consumption calculator. Use it to find out how the energy rating affects the amount of energy different appliances use, and how much each appliance will cost per year to run.

If you’re building a new home and are interested in making it as energy efficient as possible, you’ll find our free guide to be a useful starting point.

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