Energy plays a major role in Australian households, which use a variety of energy sources for heating, cooling, cooking, entertainment and transport. In 2018–19, households consumed 10.5% of Australia’s total energy (Australian Energy Update, 2020).
The good news is that Australia’s energy productivity is improving – that means we are doing more with the same or less energy. Average energy use per household has been falling over the past 2 decades, mostly because of more energy- efficient lighting, heating and cooling, water heating and appliances.
Households can significantly reduce their energy consumption by using passive design principles in new homes and renovations, changing behaviour to reduce energy consumption, and buying energy-efficient appliances and technologies. Switching to renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar, further reduces greenhouse gas emissions. New products are bringing improved energy efficiency within easier reach, and upfront investment in your home can provide long-term savings.
In this section
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling systems are typically the largest energy user in homes. Careful choice of heating and cooling options, together with good passive design, will ensure your home is both comfortable and energy-efficient.
Water heaters may be storage systems or continuous flow (instantaneous) systems, and can be powered by solar energy, gas or electricity. Your hot water system should be chosen to match your household size, climate and water use.
Australia is phasing out older, less-efficient lighting products. Efficient and well-designed lighting should maximise the use of natural light and deliver the most appropriate lighting for tasks and spaces.
Appliances and technology
Home appliances and equipment use an average of 25% of household energy. Upgrading to energy-efficient models can provide ongoing savings by reducing energy bills. Use Energy Rating Labels to compare products and find the right one for your household.
In a connected home, appliances and technology can be controlled automatically and remotely using your home internet connection or phone. Systems such as heating, cooling, lighting and entertainment can be connected to suit your lifestyle and save energy.
There are various options for powering your home with renewable energy. For example, you can install a solar hot water system, or meet all of your energy needs with renewable electricity from a photovoltaic system.
Photovoltaic systems convert solar energy into electricity. Photovoltaic systems, also known as solar PV, are increasingly used to supply energy to homes and businesses across the country.
Batteries allow you to store energy to be used at a later time, and can be a useful component of household electricity generation systems. Battery systems may be stand-alone or connected to the grid.
Active transport options and new vehicle technology can reduce your fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles are becoming an option for more households as their range and availability, as well as the number of charging stations, increase.