My Green Life

Install efficient appliances and fixtures

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When investing in large household appliances and fixtures, use the government's Energy and Water Ratings (stars) to guide you to the most efficient products to save money.

The cost of energy and water is rising and the effect is increasing. Large household appliances (including fridges, clothes dryers and dishwashing machines) and toilets, taps and showers consume the bulk of our household energy and water.

The Federal Government's Water Rating site notes that replacing a single-flush toilet with a water-efficient dual-flush system will reduce household water use by around 1000 litres per year, as well as saving $50 each year over the life of the system.

Similarly, the product comparison charts in the Federal Government's Energy Rating site shows that the difference in the ongoing operating costs between an average family fridge (two-door, 300+ litre volume) with an Energy Star Rating of 2½ and a similar fridge with an Energy Star Rating of 5 (out of 6) is between $750 and $1,000 over a 15 year period, depending on use and the cost of electricity.

Start thinking medium to long-term and invest more now to get the most energy efficient appliances and fixtures. You'll reap the environmental and financial benefits for years to come.

How to do it now!

When you're in the market for large appliances and fixtures use the 'star labelling system' to inform your understanding of the operating costs of your home.

Energy and water ratings and consumption measures. Both the Water (1-6 stars) and Energy (1-10 stars) Rating systems use a combination of a star rating system and an energy/water consumption estimate to determine the efficiency of the appliance or fixture.

Energy labelling. It is mandatory for all of the following electrical products sold in Australia to have an approved energy label:

  • air conditioners
  • clothes dryers
  • dishwashers
  • refrigerators and freezers
  • televisions
  • washing machines

An energy use comparison table of all the products in the above categories is available, with more information about the energy labelling system, on the Energy Rating site.

Water labelling. All of the following water products sold in Australia must have an approved water label:

  • dishwashers
  • flow controllers
  • showers (1-3 stars)
  • tap equipment
  • toilet (lavatory) equipment
  • urinal equipment
  • washing machines

A water use comparison table of all the products in the above categories is available, with more information about the water labelling system, on the Water Rating site.

Campaign to have the energy and water labelling programs expanded. Both of the above rating programs don't cover the full range of products available. Campaign for these programs to apply energy labels to all products used in the home. As well, request that the current labels are extended to indicate the embedded energy and water of a product (i.e. the energy and water required to manufacture the product), which would allow you to view the full environmental impact of your purchase.


The modern demand for Flat screen TV’s is huge, and as the screens get larger and larger, so too does the energy usage, making some TV’s one of the most energy consuming appliances in the house.

Plasma or LCD?

Generally, but not always, LCD TV’s are more energy efficient than plasma TV’s. This is especially true when they include the LED back projection technology that consumes one-quarter to one-third the power of an equivalent sized LCD flat screen.

Buying a TV

When buying a TV it pays to check the power in watts on the label on the back of the TV – the higher the number the faster it consumes energy - 150 watts or less is low in consumption. Also look out for an energy star label. This is different to energy-rating label for most household appliances. It shows you that you can set the TV to automatically go into sleep mode and/or that it uses reduced power in stand-by mode.

Stand-by power

Many appliances including TVs may still be consuming energy even when they are switched off. While this can be convenient, standby mode can make up to 10 per cent of your household energy use.

Switch off appliances at the wall. While not all appliances can be switched off, switching off a computer overnight can save an enormous amount off your energy bill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Fridge Buyback Program

    Fridge Buyback program pays you to help save the environment and reduce your power bills by giving up your old second fridge. To participate in the program, your fridge must be a working second fridge that has been in regular use, is 250 litres or more in size (8.83 cubic feet) and at least 10 years old. Fridge Buyback provides residents with free collections by professional removalists and a $35 rebate.For more details visit the Fridge Buyback website.

    Available from:
    New South Wales Government
    More information:
  • Choosing efficient appliances

    The Smarter Choice Retail Program makes it easier for householders to save on energy and water bills by making smarter choices when buying new appliances and products. Information is also available on how to recycle your old appliances and reduce waste. Read the full program information on the Victorian Government Sustainability Victoria website.

    Available from:
    Victorian Government
    More information:
  • Home energy action kit

    ACT residents can access a home energy action kit from libraries to perform a home energy self-assessment and develop their own home energy action plans.

    Available from:
    Australian Capital Territory Government
    More information:
  • TV & Computer Recycling scheme

    The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme provides households and small businesses with access to free recycling services for televisions and computers. Recycling services are currently available in areas of the ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA, with further services across metropolitan, regional and remote Australia by the end of 2013. Electronic items such as televisions and computers, printers, keyboards, mice and hard drives can be disposed of for free. The scheme does not cover other electronic items such as mobile phones, stereos and video recorders.

    Available from:
    National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme
    More information:
  • Energy Efficiency Scheme

    The Retail Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) provides South Australian households assistance with installing efficient lighting, shower heads, draught proofing and upgrading to energy efficient appliances to reduce their energy usage. For more details visit the Transport, Energy and Infrastructure website.

    Available from:
    South Australian Government
    More information:
  • Actsmart Home Energy Efficiency pro

    The program offers practical ways for low-income households in the ACT to reduce energy and water bills.

    Available from:
    More information:
  • Wood Heater Replacement Program

    The Wood Heater Replacement Program can help Australian Capital Territory residents replace controlled combustion heaters or open fireplaces with a new mains-supplied gas heater or reverse cycle electric system. Rebates of up to $1,100 are available.

    Available from:
    ACT Government
    More information:
  • Home Power Savings Program

    The Home Power Savings Program helps residents with an eligible concession card improve their household energy efficiency. The program includes a home energy assessment, a power savings product kit and a personal action plan.

    Available from:
    New South Wales Government
    More information:
  • Waterfix Program

    While not a rebate as such, the Waterfix program provides assistance for leak repairs and toilet replacements. Learn more here or call the WaterFix hotline on 1800 807 475.

    Available from:
    New South Wales Government
    More information:

Why is this action important?

Science is telling us that we need to live more sustainably. To do this we must aspire to the efficiencies found in nature. This action is intended to help people understand the lasting benefits of sustainability and to be informed when purchasing energy efficient appliances and products.


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