How to Pick Gas and Water Appliances
Or how to Achieve An Energy & Water Efficient Home
Ever wondered why your energy and water bills are so high?
To give you an idea, the average Australian household will spend around $1,750 on electricity each year, with heating and cooling accounting for 40% of the costs, followed by water heating at 23%, and other appliances at 14%.
In addition, Water Corp calculated the average water usage for the year 2017-2018 was 123,000 litres per person, that’s enough water to fill a 12 by 6 family sized swimming.. per person!
But all is not lost.
It is quite clear that Australian’s are large consumers of energy and water, so much so, the federal government has implemented two schemes in a bid to help reduce our energy and water usage.
1. Energy Efficiency at Home
Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS)
The NatHERS scheme is a star rating system out of 10 that rates the energy efficiency of a home, based on its design.
It provides a measurement to a home’s potential heating and cooling energy requirements and helps to make Australian homes more comfortable for their inhabitants while reducing their energy bills through smarter design choices.
It takes into account hundreds of factors, including local climate, orientation and the buildings construction to give a score out of 10. This concept can also be referred to as a ‘Passive Home’.
Energy rating and efficient appliances
You may have seen a sticker on appliances in-store, has a couple of stars on it and says ‘Energy Rating’. This is called an Energy Star Rating and it represents how energy efficient the appliance is relative to other models of the same size.
The more stars it has the more efficient it is when compared to other models, the cheaper it is to run. Most products are given a rating between 1 and 6 stars, however, as technology continues to advance, you’ll now see super-efficient appliances with an extra row of stars, reaching up to 10.
Appliances alone can account for more than 30% of a home’s energy use, for this reason, choosing the most rated product can increase your home’s overall energy efficiency, reduce the cost of your energy bill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy efficient solutions:
- Washing machines must have at least 3.5-star energy rating, an energy efficient washing machine can help you save 25% of running costs (for a lifetime)
- A dryer should have at least 2 stars, and can help you save 15% of running costs (for a lifetime)
- An efficient dishwasher has an energy rating of 3.5 stars or more, each star reduces running costs by around 30% each year. To maximise efficiency, only buy a dishwasher suited to your needs.
- Efficient fridges have a 4-star rating, make sure to purchase a size that is suited to your liveability. Choose energy efficiency options which include thermostat control and door alarms.
- Regular upright freezers must have a 4.5-star rating and 3.5 for smaller chest freezers.
- Aim for a 5-star rated hot water system, this will save you 15% on running costs. Larger households should opt for standard storage systems, whereas smaller homes should aim for continuous flow.
- Swapping all light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs or LED lights can save you up to 80% on lighting costs.
- Heating and cooling accounts for 40% of your energy usage. Choose an air conditioner with at least 4.5 stars, avoid using your A/C during the hottest parts of the day. 15-25% of heat loss occurs in a home that is not properly sealed. Seal gaps around doors and windows to stop draughts and prevent heat escaping. Consider a NatHERS design or transforming into a Passive Designed Home to naturally heat/cool your home.
Energy saving tip: Use dimmer switches wherever possible. Timers and sensors are also recommended for outdoor lights.
2. Water Efficiency at Home
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS)
Just like the Energy Star Rating, WELS star rating labels help Australians compare the water efficiency and consumption of a range of appliances and fixtures. It requires certain products to be registered and labelled with their water efficiency, including washing machines, dishwashers, as well as bathroom fixtures, such as showerheads, toilets, taps and flow controllers.
The label consists of a 1 to 6-star rating which allows for a quick assessment and comparison of a model’s water efficiency and consumption — the more stars on the label, the more water-efficient the product is.
By using more water-efficient products, Australians could save up to $2 billion by 2030, with an average savings of $175 per household each year. Energy.Gov estimate 65% of these savings are from reduced electricity and gas costs avoided from water heating and 35% from a reduction in water bills.
- Showerheads water consumption rate is litres per minute, L/Min. Switching to a 3-star showerhead consumes 9L/min and will save you 70kL and $210 each year on water bills. A 4-star showerhead at 6L/min will save 105kL and $315 each year on water bills.
- Low-flow taps can reduce tap-water usage from a standard 15-18L/min down to as little as 2L/min.
- Toilets operate by water usage per flush. Every litre saved in a flush will save a family of 4 nearly 6kL, $17.50 each year in water supply charges. Based on 4 flushes per person per day, replacing an old single-flush toilet with a 4-star toilet will save 50kL and $148 each year on water bills.
- A 5 star rated washing machine can help save you 21,000 litres of water a year, greatly reducing your water bill.
- A WELS 6 star rated dishwasher that uses 9.5L per wash instead of a low rated 2-star machine that uses 19L per wash can save you 3.5kL water usage each year.
Water-saving tip: Simply upgrading your bathroom fixtures to more Waterwise products can reduce your water usage by 55%.
Water efficiency starts with a Waterwise home
Did you know ignoring a leaking tap can waste more than 12,000L of water a year? Combine that with outdated and non-efficient bathroom fixtures, and that 123,000L figure doesn’t seem so unrealistic anymore.
If you think your fixtures are costing you more than they should be and your water bill seems unusually high, contact Gillies Group today for a waterwise assessment, and start saving.