Everything you need to know about energy-efficient appliances

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Home design, Sustainable homes

Few things are as essential to the planet and our survival as water. From hydrating us to keeping us clean, it’s easy to take this element for granted. Whether you’re looking to decrease your carbon footprint, cut down on your energy bills or both, there are huge benefits to choosing energy-efficient appliances for your new home. Let’s take a look at energy-efficient appliances, including tips on choosing the right appliances that will help you make big savings on your energy bills.

What makes an appliance energy efficient?

Energy efficiency is measured by how much energy -be it electricity usage, gas or water efficiency – is used for the appliance to achieve its purpose. For example, when comparing two washing machines, the model that uses less energy to wash a load of clothes is the more energy-efficient model. You won’t personally have the opportunity to try every single model for yourself, hence why there are systems like the energy efficiency star rating to help you.

Understanding energy efficiency rating

The easiest, most immediate way to understand how energy-efficient most appliances are is to read the energy efficiency rating sticker found on the device. Through a star rating, these stickers indicate the energy efficiency or water efficiency (or both) of the appliances you’re considering. Along with the star rating itself, the sticker will offer an estimate of how many kilowatts per year your device will use. With energy efficiency in technology constantly improving some devices will also feature an extra row of ten stars along the top of the sticker to further detail the product efficiency.

For the following appliances, it is mandatory that they display an energy efficiency rating:

  • non-ducted household air conditioners
  • clothes dryers
  • clothes washers
  • computer monitors
  • dishwashers
  • household refrigerators and freezers
  • pool pumps
  • televisions.

If you see one of these devices and they don’t have a sticker on them, you should ask the store staff to provide you with this information.

Example of what to expect when looking at energy rating stickers.

What are the environmental benefits of energy-efficient appliances?

Energy-efficient appliances use less energy and therefore have a lower impact on the environment. Along with saving money, using eco-friendly products will reduce energy consumption and your overall carbon footprint.

There are plenty of impressive benefits to eco-friendly appliances.

How to build a home with a focus on energy-efficient appliances?

The key to building an energy-efficient home is finding means to cut down on your overall energy usage while still meeting all your everyday needs. For example, while never washing your clothes would certainly drop your energy costs, it probably won’t make you very popular with the general public. However, there are plenty of washing machines on the market which are designed to cut down on your overall energy use, while still reliably cleaning your clothing. Some appliances are more necessary and frequently used than others, so try to figure out what is essential and buy the most energy-efficient you can afford.

Energy efficiency in the kitchen

Your kitchen is one, if not the, most appliance-filled room in the house. Some of the electrical appliances that use energy include ovens, stoves, microwaves, fridges and freezers, dishwashers, and coffee machines. All of these purchases are opportunities to find eco-friendly options.

Here are some bonus tips to help you be sustainable with your kitchen appliances:

  • Only buy what you need: We’ve all been guilty of buying something that we end up never using, and a lot of kitchen appliances fall into this category. A rice cooker is fantastic for people who eat a lot of rice but pointless for those who don’t. Consider what you’ll use on a weekly, or daily basis, and try to find the most energy-efficient model you can find.
  • Choose the right size: If there are only two of you in the house, you probably don’t need the biggest fridges and freezers you can find (you’ll end up with leftovers going mouldy in the back of your fridge). Buying the smallest model of appliance that meets your needs will help reduce energy usage.
  • Placement matters: Something as simple as where you place your appliances makes a difference. For example, if your fridge is next to your oven, it’ll need to work harder to stay cool whenever you cook a meal.
  • Practice good habits to help your appliances: Simple habits like waiting until food cools before putting leftovers in the fridge or freezer or filling the dishwasher before turning it on will make a big difference in the long run. Even if it’s just a few hundred bucks you save, we’re sure you can think of something to spend that extra cash on.

Energy efficiency in the laundry

Washing machines and dryers both use a lot of energy so buying eco-friendly models will make a big difference to your overall energy bill. Families in particular use these appliances on a nearly daily basis, so buying a highly energy-efficient model will have an impact.

Extra Tips:

  • Use cold water to clean clothes
  • Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or dryer.
  • Use your clothesline on sunny days.
  • Buy eco-friendly detergent. This won’t cut down on your expenses but will have a positive impact on the environment.

Choosing energy-efficient air conditioning systems

Let’s face it: in areas like South-East Queensland, you’re going to need something to cool down your home or else life is going to be unbearable. When it comes to choosing air conditioners, they will include a Zoned Energy Efficiency Rating that will indicate how the system will perform in different areas of Australia. Energy consumption is affected by the environment you’re trying to use the air conditioner in, so be sure to choose a model that works in your conditions.

Air conditioners in Australia must meet a minimum rating to be legally sold in local stores.

Tips for buying an air conditioner:

  • Check energy rating labels
  • Choose the right size air conditioner for your home.
  • If money is tight, prioritise which rooms should be air-conditioned (bedrooms, living area, etc).
  • Design your home to be eco-friendly to minimise how often you need your air-con. Make the most of natural light and breeze, install quality insulation and work with the sun’s orientation.

Hot water heaters

Hot water is an essential part of any home. Heating water can make up for a substantial part of your overall energy bill, so your choice of water heater can have a major influence on your overall costs. We’ve written an entire article on choosing eco-friendly hot water heaters, so why not click the link below to find out more!

Capitalising on renewable energy & solar panels

Solar panels are so associated with clean energy, that they might as well be a symbol for it. Installing solar panels in your home will make it more sustainable and can help you save energy and money in the long run.

What are the long-term savings of energy-efficient appliances?

Appliances are items that are used for everyday, essential tasks, therefore purchasing energy-efficient products will noticeably drop your energy use. Think about how many times you use your washing machine, dishwasher, dryer, oven and other appliances throughout the week. If some or all of these were even 5% cheaper to run, it’d make a noticeable difference in your monthly power bills.

Our practical tips for new home builders

  • Building a new home is a perfect opportunity to buy more energy-efficient appliances. Though more expensive initially, you’ll save money on running costs.
  • To increase the sustainability of your home, make sure your home design is also eco-friendly. Some things that can increase the sustainability of your home include:
    • Building your home at the right orientation about the sun
    • Using sustainable materials
    • Open floor plans that utilise natural light
  • Know your budget. Money (or lack of) is one of the most common problems people face when building a new home. Understanding your budget, knowing the limitations of your finances and sticking to a financial plan will make your entire building journey a smoother experience.
  • Talk to a building broker like Buidli. We can guide you through the entire building process, ensuring you make the best choices for your dream home. We’ve saved our clients time, frustration and money so why not get in touch to see how we can help you?

Looking to design a sustainable home? Get free advice from an experienced building broker


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