Efficient appliances will save energy and money.
When your old white goods conk out, it’s wise to buy efficient new ones, says Ian McNicol from Sustainability Victoria. “Energy prices are certain to rise over the life of the appliance – typically about 13 years – so the savings from buying high-efficiency products will get bigger and bigger.”
To help you choose well, government regulations require that key appliances carry labels detailing their energy and water use. From next year, governments also plan to take over the industry-run rating scheme for gas appliances, starting with water heaters.
For now, all the labels carry up to six stars – the more stars the better. They also include a standard consumption figure in the sticker’s central box to make it easy to compare like-products. You’ll find the labels on all white goods, as well as air conditioners, gas space and water heaters, toilets, urinals and fittings such as taps and showerheads.
Wide-screen televisions are our newest power-guzzlers. “The energy consumption some of the bigger TVs can be as large, if not larger, than a refrigerator,” says Mr McNicol. Last November, the federal government introduced voluntary television energy labelling and it’s slated to become mandatory from 1 October 2009. TVs will also be the first to be rated up to ten stars for the super efficient – other products will follow.
“With a one star improvement, the appliance can be from 10 to 30 per cent more efficient, depending on the appliance type,” Mr McNicol says, “and they’re not necessarily more expensive upfront.”