A great way of reducing energy use in the home is to pay attention to the appliances you choose. Of course, this doesn’t mean that should run out and replace everything at the first opportunity – that in itself would be inefficient, not to mention expensive – but next time you’re looking for something new, consider making energy efficiency one of your criteria. You’ll be saving yourself money and making a small but positive contribution to protecting the Earth.
When thinking about energy, it’s important to be aware of the appliances in your household that are likely to consume the most energy. Refrigerators are probably the heaviest users of power in your household (a typical 1990 refrigerator releases more than 1,200 pounds of CO2 each year), but dishwashers, washing machines and televisions aren’t far behind. And always remember that the financial and environmental benefits don’t stop with buying an energy-friendly appliance – you have to be aware of how you use it, too, which is why you’ll find some efficiency tips further down the article. Lastly, unlike with furniture, be very careful of buying second-hand: newer appliances are almost certain to be more efficient and will likely save you money in the long run (that’s even before you factor in the cost of extra repairs).
Refrigerators with a top freezer are by far the most efficient variety on offer, using an impressive 10-25% less electricity than a bottom-freezer model or side-by-side doors. Depending on your location, look out for a refrigerator that scores well on the European energy label or that has been certified as energy efficient with an Energy Star rating. Make sure you buy the right size for your needs – you don’t want to waste energy on cooling empty shelves or be forced to buy a back-up fridge.
Always look for a dishwasher with an economy cycle. Buy a larger model rather than a smaller one – as it will use a smaller amount of water per dish washed – and be sure only to run it when it’s full. Remember that with most modern models of dishwasher, there’s no need to wash the dishes before you put them in – you’re simply wasting water if you do so.
Despite increasing numbers of us choosing to stream our favourite shows on a laptop or tablet, statistics show that we’re not ready to give up our TVs just yet (in 2014, for example, the average American watched a massive 35 hours of TV per week!) With this in mind, it makes sense to pick the TV that will use the least energy and save us the most money – and it’s really not difficult to do so. First, check out Alinta Energy’s guide to picking the right size TV for your home. Then, consider what kind of TV you want (LED screens are the most efficient technology currently available on the mainstream market) and be sure to check efficiency labels before you buy. Once you have your new TV, look at whether your brightness levels need adjusting (factory settings are often brighter than they need to be) and always remember to switch off – not onto standby – when you’re not using it.