Appliances and technology

Key points

  • Appliances and equipment – including your kitchen and laundry appliances, TV, home entertainment, and office equipment – are a key factor in the energy use of your home. Home appliances and equipment use an average of 25% of household energy.
  • New appliances are far more efficient than older designs, and upgrading your appliances and technology will reduce your energy consumption.
  • When buying appliances or equipment, look for the right size to suit your household and lifestyle. If you simply buy the largest you can afford, you may waste money in running costs.
  • Once you know the size you need, consider buying the most energy-efficient model that suits your needs. Most appliances must carry an energy rating label which tells you how efficient the model is compared with others of the same type and size. The more stars an appliance has, the more efficient it is.
  • Look at the lifetime costs as well as the purchase price: a cheaper, less-efficient model will cost more in energy use in the long run. Use the Energy Rating Calculator to find out how much an appliance will cost you over its lifetime.
  • Operate appliances efficiently by following the instructions, and keep appliances well maintained. Switch appliances off at the power point when you are not using them and when you go on holiday, unless it is necessary to have them switched on all the time.

Understanding appliances and technology

Household appliances and equipment account for an average of 25% of total residential energy consumption across Australia. However, this proportion will vary by household depending on the climate, the types of appliances in your home, and the way they are used. Heating and cooling uses around 40% of household energy use.

Appliances that use the largest amounts of energy include fridges and freezers (responsible for an average 7% of household energy use), clothes dryers (up to 10% of household energy use for heavy users), and TVs and home entertainment equipment (an average of around 5% of household energy use). In homes with a pool, the pool pump is a high user of energy (up to 18%).

Household appliances contribute to peak electricity demand, which refers to major spikes in electricity use that occurs at certain times (for example, between 5pm and 8pm when people arrive home from work and turn on their air-conditioners, TVs, lights, and other appliances). If peak demand exceeds the maximum supply levels, some regions can experience electricity outages. Supplying electricity for an ever-increasing peak demand requires building more electricity infrastructure, which is paid for by increases in energy prices.

The National Construction Code sets minimum requirements for new homes in Australia, including a minimum star rating for thermal performance and a minimum Whole of Home energy use rating. The Whole of Home rating allows households to better understand the energy use profile of their home based on its design and major appliances and how these can work with renewable energy such as solar panels to see their overall usage. The Whole of Home rating includes the predicted energy use of air-conditioning, heated water system, lighting, and swimming pool and spa pumps.


Making smart choices when buying and using your appliances can save energy and money, and reduce peak demand. New smart devices can help you to program your devices for better energy efficiency (refer to Connected home for more information).

Energy rating label

The energy rating label tells you how efficient the appliance is compared with other appliances of the same type and size. The label on most appliances shows a star rating from 1 to 6 stars: the more stars, the more efficient the product. Products that exceed 6 stars can show a modified label with a ‘coronet’ of extra stars that extend the scale to 10 stars.

The energy rating label also shows the estimated annual electricity usage in kWh per year. It is important to look at this figure when comparing products, because a large model with the same star rating as a smaller model uses more electricity.

When considering buying a new appliance, many people compare star ratings of new products against the fading label still on their existing one, but this can be misleading. For most appliances, the rating scales have been adjusted over time to take into account changes in technology and performance. The energy consumption number (usually kW or kWh) on the label is the most reliable basis for comparing old and new appliances.

To compare the lifetime cost of different products, visit the Energy Rating Calculator.

An energy rating label indicates the number of stars given to the appliance, out of ten, as well as the energy consumption in kilowatt hours per year.

Choose an appliance with a high star rating


The energy rating label is an Australian Government requirement for certain appliances. Products that must carry energy rating labels are:

  • air conditioners
  • computer monitors
  • clothes dryers
  • clothes washers
  • freezers
  • fridges
  • swimming pool and spa pool pumps
  • TVs

Recently, a new Zoned Energy Rating Label has been introduced for air-conditioners, which shows a rating scale from 0 to 10 stars for heating and cooling in 3 climate zones across Australia and New Zealand. The more stars, the more efficient the air-conditioner.

Energy Rating Calculator

Buying a cheap appliance can actually cost you more in the long run – if it is less efficient than other models, it will use more energy and cost more money to run.

The Energy Rating Calculator allows you to compare the total cost of an appliance, including the upfront and running costs over its lifetime (assumed at 10 years). You can compare different models of appliance and weigh up their star rating against the upfront purchase and future running costs.

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards

Saving water saves money and puts less strain on our water resources. The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme is a mandatory national labelling scheme for some whitegoods and certain other plumbing products.

The water rating label has 1 to 6 stars, and more stars indicates those products with better water efficiency. The label shows the star rating and the water consumption rate per load for dishwashers, clothes washers and applicable clothes dryers (and flow rates for other plumbing products such as tapware and showerheads). Total water consumption per wash cycle under test conditions is also shown.

The WELS website has additional information on the scheme and calculators to help with product selection. Compare similar sized appliances and then choose an appliance with a high star rating.

A water rating label indicates the number of stars given to the appliance, out of six, as well as the water consumption in litres per wash.

The WELS label shows water use efficiency and total water consumption for the appliance



Choice is an Australian consumer advocacy group that tests and reviews products, providing information for consumers on performance; energy and water efficiency; environmental impact; reliability and safety; and warranties. The results of these product reviews are published monthly in Choice magazine, and online, and are accessible to members. A lot of other information on product choice and considerations is available for free. Most public libraries subscribe to Choice online, which can be accessed there for free.

Choosing and using appliances and technology

Considerations when buying

Choose the right-sized appliance for your needs. A large model with the same star rating as a smaller model uses more energy and costs more to run. The number on the energy rating label shows the annual consumption under standard test conditions, while the star rating allows you to compare the energy efficiency of similar models with the same size and capacity. Consider the full lifetime cost when choosing an appliance; ongoing running costs can easily exceed the appliance’s original purchase price (refer to the Energy Rating Calculator for more information). Also consider stand-by electricity use and choose models with low stand-by electricity needs.

Some people are concerned that the energy savings from replacing an old appliance may be cancelled out by the energy required to manufacture the new one. This is usually not a significant issue for appliances:

  • Studies of the embodied energy generally show that it is recovered within a few years, much sooner than the lifetime of the new appliance. The best new models are typically much more energy- and water-efficient than the appliances they replace.
  • In most cases, the appliance to be replaced has only a few years life remaining before it will have to be replaced anyway.
  • If the old appliance is recycled, much of the energy used in its manufacture can be recovered. For fridges and air conditioners, high climate impact refrigerants can be recovered, instead of leaking into the atmosphere as the appliance ages.

Buying a fridge or freezer

Fridges and freezers are on all the time, so it is worth trying to make sure they use as little energy as possible. Upgrading your old appliance can be worth it, because newer fridges and freezers are far more efficient than older models. Fridges and freezers have been subject to strict minimum energy performance standards since 1999. Recent changes to the method for calculating star ratings mean that a 5-star model from the 2000s would now only score 2 or 3 stars.

In addition, many older fridges use much more energy than when they were new, due to factors such as loss of refrigerant, deterioration of insulation and door seals and accumulated dust around the compressor and coils. A brand-new replacement may provide surprisingly large energy savings of up to 50% if you select an efficient replacement.

Choose the right size and configuration for your needs and then purchase the most energy-efficient model you can. Consider both the upfront and ongoing running costs. A higher rated fridge may cost more but can save you several hundred dollars over the appliance’s life. This is equivalent to receiving a large discount on the initial price relative to a less efficient model. The savings accumulate over time instead of being visible in the showroom.

For example, a 2-star rated 400L fridge can use approximately 540kWh/year, whereas a 4-star rated fridge of the same size uses only 320kWh/year, a saving of 220kWh/year, or 40%. That is approximately $63 in electricity costs a year or $630 over a 10-year life (calculated using an electricity tariff of $0.29/kWh).

Upright fridge–freezers with one compartment above the other are more efficient than appliances with full-height doors for both the fridge and freezer compartments. Products with additional features, such as ice-makers, may use more energy than products without those features.

Look for features such as easy access to the thermostat, simple thermostat controls, separate thermostats for fridge and freezer compartments, a door-open alarm, and rollers or castors and adjustable shelving that can also make cleaning and using the fridge easier.

In some climates, a cool cupboard can keep many fruits and vegetables well, allowing you to choose a smaller fridge. Locate the cool cupboard in the coolest part of the house and have good airflow in at floor level and out at the ceiling. Be careful to ensure that the cupboard has a well-sealed door to prevent loss of heated air from your home in the cooler months.

Be aware that LPG–electric fridges, thermo-electric fridges, wine coolers and micro-fridges use a lot more energy than traditional fridges. They do not have to carry energy labels and cannot easily be compared with other fridges.

A modern-day model refrigerator.

Today’s fridges and freezers use considerably less energy than those from 20 years ago


Buying a washing machine

Choose a washing machine that is the right size for your needs. Washing is most efficient when there is a full load. An oversized model will often be used with partial loads and you end up using more energy than if you had selected a smaller model and use it fully loaded. Once you have identified the features and size you need, select the most energy- and water-efficient model within your budget.

Washing machines that include manual load size selection or automatic load-sensing features allow the machine to use less energy and water when washing less than a full load. A programmable or delay start feature can have further benefits by enabling you to run the machine during certain times of day or night, such as periods of off-peak or similar if you are on a flexible electricity tariff. If you have solar panels installed, then running your machine during the day becomes more economical as you are directly benefitting from energy as it is captured.

Models with a high spin speed are also desirable, especially if you use a clothes dryer. Top of the range models with spin speeds of 1800 revolutions per minute (rpm) or more can extract twice as much moisture than models with only low spin speeds (less than 800rpm).

Front-loaders are usually more water and energy-efficient. They are gentler on clothes, use less detergent and save space as they can be installed under a bench. They usually have a higher spin speed, so clothes come out drier.

A photo of several washing machines at a store; in particular, a washing machine that is a front loader, and has a prominent energy rating sticker visible.

Front loader washing machines are generally more energy and water efficient

Photo: Getty images

Look for machines that offer an ‘economy’ cycle which often washes perfectly adequately (particularly for lightly soiled clothes) while saving both energy and water. Manufacturers often provide information on the energy consumption of different wash cycles in their user manual, which can be downloaded from their websites.

Make sure the washing machine you buy includes cold wash program options. A warm or hot wash can cost 80% to 90% more than a cold wash. Some washing machines have an energy label with energy consumption displayed for both cold and warm washes.

An energy rating label indicates the number of stars given to the appliance, out of ten, as well as the energy consumption in kilowatt hours per year.

A cold wash energy figure is voluntary for the manufacturer to display


If you will be doing warm washes, choose a washing machine with a hot water connection, particularly if you have an efficient hot water system such as solar or heat pump. Washing machines without dual water connections (hot and cold) have an internal heater to heat water, which is more expensive to run. Dual connections are less common in front loaders but important to consider if you want to do warm washes. Where connecting to solar hot water, hot water supply temperatures must not exceed the maximum specified for the washing machine. If there is no temperature controller for the hot water system, a tempering valve may need to be installed.

Buying a clothes dryer

Clothes dryers are energy-hungry appliances, so look for the most efficient dryer you can afford. This is particularly relevant if you are unable to dry clothes outside and must use your dryer frequently. A 6-star dryer uses approximately half the electricity of a 2-star dryer. For example, a 7kg, 6-star dryer used daily uses around 1150kWh of electricity a year, whereas a 7kg 2-star dryer used daily uses around 2210kWh of electricity a year – a difference of 1060kWh. This amounts to an annual saving of $304 on your energy bill (calculated using a tariff of $0.29/kWh).

Look for an ‘auto-sensing’ feature on your dryer, which automatically stops the dryer as soon as clothes are dry. Look for easily accessible lint filters and other features such as reverse tumbling and special fabric cycles.

Be aware that condenser dryers, which use cold water from the tap to condense water vapour from the dryer exhaust, are both energy and water wasteful (around 2-star). They should not be confused with very efficient (6- to 10-star) heat pump dryers, which can also often be referred to as ‘condenser’ dryers.

Heat pump dryers are much more efficient as they recover most of the energy in the humid exhaust air and reuse it to dry the clothes. However, they also use a refrigerant cycle to recover the heat, including use of refrigerants with high global warming potential such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Buying a combination washer-dryer

Some washing machines can also dry your clothes. These combination washer dryers are front-loading machines, and they can save space because you are buying 1 appliance instead of 2. Their washing efficiency is similar to other front-loading washing machines. However, they have poor drying efficiency and take much longer to dry clothes than a clothesline or stand-alone dryer.

Watch out for washer dryers that use water during the drying phase (to cool the drum of the machine and condense water evaporated from the clothes). In some cases, the water consumed during the drying phase can exceed that used to wash the clothes.

Buying a dishwasher

A modern dishwasher with a water star rating of 5 can wash a full 12-place setting with less than 10L of water, and typically uses significantly less energy and water than handwashing dishes. While older dishwashers had shorter cycles, they used significantly more energy and water than newer models (higher water use typically also means higher energy consumption). A dishwasher manufactured in the early 1990s uses on average more than twice as much water – and 80% more energy – to wash the same-sized load as a current day model.

Choose the right size for your needs to avoid washing partial loads and select the most energy and water efficient model you can. Two-drawer and benchtop models are available and can be more efficient in households where frequent small loads are washed. Look for models with hot and cold connections or cold connection only. Hot connection only models use much more energy because the whole cycle uses hot water, not just the wash and rinse phases.

Look for models with an eco-cycle. Some models also offer a ‘half wash’ mode that washes just the lower basket to save water and energy. Some modern dishwashers come with sensors that monitor how soiled the water is as it is undergoing filtering and reuse. This means they can store the water from the last rinse to use for washing the next load. These models have very low water consumption.

Research performance well before buying a new dishwasher. Check which wash program the energy rating applies to: the wash program used for the test must meet a cleaning and rinsing performance benchmark so it will be suitable for normal washing after the dishes have been scraped. Apart from referring to the energy rating label, check sources such as Choice magazine or website for more detailed information on such things as washing and drying performance, noise, ease of use, and so on. Check that the basket and rack design suit your dishes.

Some models appearing on the market in Europe are equipped with heat pumps to reduce their energy consumption. The number of these products available is limited and prices are considerably higher than conventional dishwashers. These prices may fall as more products become available.

A woman is opening a dishwasher in a kitchen. The dishwasher has an energy and water rating label.

Select the most energy and water efficient model for your needs.

Photo: Stefan Postles/Content Group

Buying a TV

When buying a TV:

  • choose a model that is the right size for your room, rather than buying the largest screen you can afford. If the TV is too big and you cannot sit the right distance away from it, you will see the pixels (dots) that form the picture
  • once you have decided on the size, purchase the most energy-efficient (highest star rating) TV you can. A large screen TV may have the same star rating as a smaller TV, but it uses more energy and generates more greenhouse gas emissions. Use the star rating to compare models of the same screen size and technology, otherwise use the estimated annual electricity usage on the label or use the Energy Rating Calculator.

A diagram shows the best sitting distance for viewing a high definition television based on the television size.

When choosing a TV, consider how far away from the screen you will be sitting for optimum viewing and to avoid a more energy-consuming product than is needed

Source: Adapted from

There are different types of TV screen, some of which consume more energy than others. LED is the main TV display technology in use today. These have a liquid crystal display (LCD) that uses light emitting diodes (LED) for providing the screen with backlighting. Organic light emitting diode (OLED) screen TVs have become available recently to create light without backlighting. This is the same type of screen that some smart phones have.

Higher resolutions (that is, 4K UHD, full HD, and 8k), larger screen sizes, internet connectivity, and screensavers that keep TV on for longer are leading to increases in energy consumption. LED and OLED energy consumption depends on screen brightness, so turning down brightness (the backlight setting for LEDs) can make the TV consume less energy (although this reduces the contrast ratio for OLEDs).

Buying home entertainment equipment

Home entertainment equipment includes devices such as games consoles, streaming devices, set-top boxes, audio equipment, and DVD players. These devices are not required to carry an energy rating label. However, many of the same principles apply to minimising energy use when it comes to purchasing and using this type of equipment.

In general, try to limit the number of individual home entertainment devices you own and use. A single device combining functions can help reduce purchase and ongoing costs. Aim to purchase equipment that has an Energy Star logo.

Some of these devices may be switched on for short periods of time (like games consoles or streaming devices). For others (for example, set top boxes and especially pay TV types with hard-drive recorders) it is more difficult to minimise their energy use as they generally need constant electricity connection to allow recording, program updating, or memory retention.

Purchase and install a stand-by electricity controller for your home entertainment equipment which automatically turns off all connected devices when the TV is turned off. Alternatively, use a power strip to easily power off all the devices with a single switch. If you do not use a stand-by power controller, purchase products with an on/off switch and make it a habit to use this switch in your daily routine.

For games consoles, consider whether you need a constant connection to the internet. This can draw more electricity even when not in use. Consider connecting only when required. Make the same consideration for peripheral devices that can cause consoles to use more electricity if connected, even when not in use.

Buying home office equipment

Home office equipment includes devices such as computers, monitors, keyboards, external hard drives, printers, and scanners. Even if you do not work from home, most households will have computers or laptops. If you are buying a computer monitor, look for the energy rating label to compare performance.

In general, try to limit the number of home office devices you own and use. Multifunction devices are available to perform several functions, such as scanning, copying, and printing. For high volume or frequent multi-page printing, a laser printer may be cheaper to operate than a device using costly ink cartridges. Also consider libraries or print shops that can provide this service if you require print services infrequently and there are facilities near you. For scanning, there are also a number of free smart phone apps that can perform exactly the same function without the need to buy equipment.

A computer does not need to be running constantly and in optimum performance mode to operate effectively. Computers and computer monitors are usually ‘power management’ enabled, able to run in power save mode and entering ‘sleep mode’ after a determined period of inactivity.

Purchase and install a stand-by power controller for home office equipment which automatically turns off devices when the desktop computer is shut down. If you do not use a stand-by power controller, try to purchase products with an on/off switch. If you are not using a device for an extended period of time, save money and energy by turning it off at the electricity outlet. Power bars can also be used to turn off multiple devices with a single switch.

Many homes will have an office set up with a computer or other electronic devices

Many homes will have an office set up with a computer or other electronic devices

Photo: Getty Images

Buying pool equipment

Swimming pools use energy for pumping and filtration. Pool pump operation can be a major part of the electricity bill for those households with a swimming pool – on average up to 18% (DEE 2018). Dual speed, multi speed and variable speed pumps are more energy-efficient than single speed pumps, although they may be more expensive to buy. Variable speed pumps are the most energy-efficient of all pumps, but are also the most expensive to buy.

The most significant energy use in pools comes from heating. If you choose to heat your pool, a good option is solar heating in combination with a pool blanket that traps heat. Solar heating uses only a moderate amount of energy for pumping (costing at most, tens of cents per hour). Gas pool heating consumes 100–425MJ of energy an hour costing considerably more (as much as tens of dollars an hour).

Heat pumps are also being used for pool heating and because they shift heat rather than generate heat, they can be very efficient. Their initial cost can be high, but their operating costs will be much lower than conventional electric or gas heaters. They can be programmed to operate at specific times, so they can take advantage of excess rooftop solar photovoltaic panel output to further reduce running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Heat pumps will run more efficiently if regularly serviced.

If you currently use gas or electric heating for your pool, consider switching to solar or heat pump and combining this with rooftop solar. A pool cover will significantly reduce pool heating costs and will mean that a smaller, cheaper solar pool heating system can be used.

If you have an indoor pool, heat pumps that recover heat from the water vapour and warm air leaving the pool enclosure can offer high efficiency as much of the energy used to heat a pool ends up evaporating the water, which is then released from the building.

Reducing running costs

Following some general principles can keep the running costs of appliances and equipment down:

  • Operate appliances efficiently by following the instructions, and keep appliances well maintained and free of accumulated dust. A clogged filter in a dishwasher or a damaged (leaky) seal on a fridge door can significantly increase running costs and reduce the appliance’s performance.
  • Only use the appliance when it is needed (for example, wait until you have a full load to run dishwashers and washing machines; run the clothes dryer only when it is raining outside; switch off extra fridges or freezers when not in use).
  • Switch appliances off at the power point when you are not using them and when you go on holiday, unless it is necessary to have them switched on all the time (for example, fridges, freezers, or security alarms). Many appliances continue to draw stand-by power even when switched off. Stand-by power for the average home contributes 6% of electricity use and 3% of total energy use, with some of the biggest standby costs attributed to air-conditioners, TVs, home entertainment, and computers.
  • Use power strips (also known as power boards, or surge protectors where that feature is offered) or standby power controllers to turn off several home entertainment or home office devices with a single switch, instead of doing it for each item of equipment individually.

A power strip with multiple sockets and a single switch to turn off appliances.

Power strips can be used as a way of powering off a number of devices with a single switch

Photo: Scott Dwyer

Locating appliances

Layout and placement of appliances should be considered when you are designing or renovating your home. For example:

  • Locate fridges and freezers out of direct sunlight and away from other sources of heat, such as ovens and stoves, as well as avoiding installation on poorly insulated external walls exposed to sun or heat. This is an important consideration in kitchen design.
  • Ensure there is sufficient space around appliances, so that they do not ‘cook’ themselves: most modern fridges rely on good air flow past the sides and rear of the cabinet to remove the heat they release. Poor air circulation can increase energy use by 15% or more.
  • Locate appliances that require hot water as close to the hot water service as possible to reduce heat losses from pipes and ‘dead water’ that cools down between draw-offs.

Smart habits when using a fridge or freezer

  • Set the fridge thermostat to between 3°C and 4°C, and the freezer to between –15°C and –18°C. Every degree lower requires 5% more energy. A fridge thermometer is a good investment.
  • Make sure the door seal is clean and in good condition. It should hold a piece of paper tightly in place when shut.
  • Avoid overloading the fridge or freezer. Try to leave about 20% free space for air circulation.
  • Defrost frozen food in the fridge – it provides free cooling and reduces health risks.
  • Avoid placing hot food in the fridge — it just makes your fridge work harder. Let it cool first.
  • Do not open doors too frequently or for too long.
  • Empty and turn off a second fridge when not needed. An older fridge could easily be costing $200 or more a year to run. Do not locate it in a hot garage or veranda.

Smart habits when using a washing machine

  • Wash a full load rather than several smaller loads, and use the suds-saver function if available.
  • If your machine has an economy cycle option, use that to save energy and water.
  • Use cold wash programs, as most wash loads are relatively clean and a cold wash gives a satisfactory result. Washing in warm or hot water uses approximately 50% to 85% more energy than washing in cold water - depending on whether you have a front loader (50%) or top loader (85%) washing machine.
  • Washing detergent can have a harmful impact on our waterways so try to use ecofriendly types with low or no phosphorous.

Smart habits when using a dryer

  • To save money and reduce your energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, dry clothes on a clothesline or rack instead of in a dryer.
  • Avoid putting wringing wet clothes in the dryer. Run an extra spin cycle first to remove excess water.
  • Avoid overloading or over-drying, both of which waste energy.
  • Run the dryer on medium instead of high: it takes a little longer but uses less energy and is less damaging to your clothes (does not apply to heat-pump type dryers).
  • Clean the lint filter after each load.
  • Externally vent the dryer to remove moist air from the room (does not apply to condenser-type or heat pump-type dryers).
  • If you are drying clothes indoors this can increase humidity and add to condensation and mould problems. A dehumidifier is an option that can help dry clothes more quickly and reduce the amount of damp air in the house. Dehumidifiers use electricity and so have implications for cost and greenhouse gas emissions, though use can be limited for just when drying clothes outside (or keeping windows open) is not an option (for example, when it is raining).

Clothes drying on a hills hoist-style clothes line in a backyard.

Dry clothes on a line or rack whenever possible


Smart habits when using a dishwasher

  • Scrape plates well before packing the dishwasher; do not rinse them. Most modern dishwashers can easily deal with the remaining soil following scraping alone, so save water, time and energy, and do not rinse.
  • Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.
  • Do not over-pack your dishwasher — it gives poorer wash performance.
  • Use the right setting for the type of load (half load settings adjust the amount of water used and the program times).
  • Use the eco or economy cycle; even though it takes longer, it uses much less energy and water (and it often gets things cleaner).
  • Using a high-quality detergent (and cleaning the filter after every load) often gives the best cleaning results.
  • Select the cycle with the lowest temperature to get the job done.

Smart habits when using pool equipment

  • If you have pool heating, use a pool cover when the pool is not in use.
  • Ask your pool contractor to set the pool temperature and pump running times to maintain energy efficiency, and ask them to show you how to do it. Reducing your pool temperature by 1°C can save 10 to 30% of your energy costs.
  • Run pumps at off-peak electricity times, or, if you have solar panels, at times when the sun is shining. Some energy retailers offer special rates to manage operation of pool pumps remotely, so they can be shut down at times of high electricity prices or when there is risk of electricity shortages.
  • Frequent cleaning or backwashing of filters can save energy, as can installing filters of sufficient size. Flow resistance due to an undersized or clogged filter can dramatically increase the energy use of pool pumps.

Disposing of appliances and technology

When your appliance or equipment comes to the end of its life, carefully consider its disposal. Appliances and electronic devices contribute to the large amount of waste generated by Australia. They can contain chemicals that pose a threat to the environment if not disposed of properly, and they take up landfill space, and consume energy and raw materials in their manufacture.

Most appliances are full of valuable materials and some parts can be recycled. Whenever possible, purchase products that are specifically designed to be recycled. Check your local government website for information on recycling programs in your area. Various services can also help you to recycle your appliances and e-waste properly, depending on where you live. To get some ideas, visit Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You website for options.

References and additional reading

Learn more

  • Look at Heating and cooling to find out how to reduce the largest energy use in your home
  • Explore Connected home to discover how you can use devices in a smart manner
  • Read Designing a home to learn what you should consider when building a new home


Original authors: Chris Riedy, Jack Brown

Contributing author: Geoff Milne

Updated: Robert Foster 2013, Scott Dwyer 2020, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water 2023