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4656.5 - Household Choices Related to Water and Energy, WA, October 2009  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/06/2010   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


INTRODUCTION

This publication presents the results of the Household Choices related to Water and Energy Survey conducted in October 2009. The survey collected data on dwelling access to water and energy, water usage, space cooling and heating and water heating. The survey also collected information on white goods, the type, number and reasons for purchase as well as information on high energy using electrical appliances. Where applicable, data from the 2009 WA survey has been compared with data from the 2006 WA Domestic Use of Water and Energy Survey. However, due to slight methodological differences between the surveys, any differences in the results should be treated as indicative only.

Another environmental component of the survey was public transport use, whether regular use of public transport had increased or decreased and, if so, the reasons for those changes in usage patterns.


WATER AND ENERGY OVERVIEW

The Household Choices Related to Water and Energy Survey estimated that at the time of the survey, there were 862,000 private dwellings in WA. Water and energy attributes of those dwellings, at the time of the survey, include:


Energy supply

Almost all dwellings in WA had access to electricity. Other sources of energy include:

  • Mains gas - connected to 83% of dwellings in Perth and 32% in the remainder of WA
  • Solar energy - used in 16% of Perth dwellings and 28% in the remainder of WA
  • LPG/bottled gas - used by 50% of dwellings outside the metropolitan area.


Water supply

As well as the mains water supply, 8% of Perth dwellings had rainwater tanks and 25% had access to a garden bore.


Water using facilities
  • 505,400 WA dwellings had two or more toilets and 456,700 had two or more showers.
  • In 749,700 (87%) dwellings, all toilets were dual flush.
  • In 442,000 (51%) dwellings, all showers had low flow shower heads.


Watering gardens and lawns
  • An estimated 747,500 dwellings in WA had gardens and/or lawns, with the majority (85%) having a mix of both.
  • Water from garden bores was used by 22% of dwellings for watering gardens and/or lawns.
  • Reticulation systems were used by 71% of dwellings for watering and, for 29% of these systems, the water was sourced from a garden bore.


Insulation
  • Insulation was installed in 618,200 (72%) dwellings.
  • Rental accommodation had the lowest level of insulation installed (38%) compared with other tenure types.
  • Separate houses had the highest rate of insulation installed (77%) compared with 58% of semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc. and 39% of flats, units or apartments and other dwelling types.


Space cooling and heating
  • 680,900 (79%) dwellings had some form of air cooling system.
  • Reverse cycle split systems and evaporative ducted air conditioning systems accounted for 60% of all main air conditioners - used in 218,700 and 188,100 dwellings respectively.
  • 778,200 (90%) dwellings had space heating.
  • Non-ducted unflued gas heaters and non-ducted reverse cycle air conditioners were the most common forms of heating - used in 247,600 and 141,200 dwellings respectively.


Water heating
  • 19% of WA dwellings used electricity and 18% used solar energy for water heating.
  • In the Perth metropolitan area, mains gas was used for water heating in 67% of dwellings.
  • 59% of WA hot water systems were storage tanks, while 37% were instantaneous water heaters.


White goods
  • 366,300 (43%) dwellings had dishwashers.
  • 570,700 (66%) WA dwellings had top loading washing machines.
  • Energy star ratings were considered by 61% of people who purchased white goods.
  • Water ratings were considered by 34%.


Other electrical appliances
  • Almost all households had at least one television and 90% had DVD players.
  • 59% of Perth dwellings had more than one television.
  • Cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions were still the most common with 67% of Perth dwellings having at least one.
  • LCD or plasma televisions were reported in 60% of Perth dwellings.
  • 60% of Perth dwellings were reported to have a Desktop computer while 55% had a laptop/notebook computer.


Perth public transport use
  • An estimated 232,500 (18%) Perth residents aged 18 years and over usually used public transport for their regular activities.
  • In the two year period before the survey, 13% of Perth residents (aged 18 years and over) indicated that they had increased their use of public transport, while 9% reported a decline.


DWELLING CHARACTERISTICS

In 2009, 81% of WA dwellings were separate houses, 10% were flats, units or apartments and other dwelling types, while 9% were semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc.

More than two thirds (69%) of these dwellings were either fully owned or being paid off. Almost one in four (24%) were private rental properties.

Six in ten dwellings housed fewer than three people (26% one person households and 34% two person households). A further 37% of dwellings contained three to five person households and the remaining 3% contained six or more person households.


WATER SUPPLY

The survey obtained information about sources of water to WA's 862,000 private dwellings. As well as access to the mains water supply, information was sought about the number of dwellings with rainwater tanks installed or with access to garden bores.

Water use within the home, including measures taken to reduce water use in showers and toilets, was also obtained.


Mains Water Supply

At the time of the 2009 survey, 825,700 (96%) WA dwellings were connected to the mains or town water supply. In the Perth region, only 2% of dwellings were not connected, compared to 11% for the Balance of WA (Table 4).


Rainwater Tanks

Using water tanks to capture storm water run off is one way of reducing the use of water sourced directly from the mains water supply. Water collected in rain water tanks can be used in the garden and/or plumbed into dwellings.

Rainwater tanks were found in 109,700 (13%) WA dwellings with almost half (43% or 47,100) plumbed into the dwelling. Outside the Perth metropolitan area, 28% of dwellings had rainwater tanks, a level more than three times greater than that of the Perth metropolitan region (8%) (Table 4).

Rainwater tank ownership was highest in separate dwellings (15%) compared with other types of dwellings (3%) (Table 5) and more common in dwellings that were either fully owned or being paid off (15%) than other tenure types (including rental and other tenure) (7%) (Table 6).

All dwellings, Alternative sources of water - Region
Graph: All dwellings, Alternative sources of water—Region



Garden Bores

An estimated 187,300 (22%) WA dwellings had access to a garden bore (either from a single household bore or a bore shared with other households)(Table 6).

While many dwellings had access to garden bores, not all were used. Garden bores were used, either within the dwelling or outside in the garden, by 92% of dwellings with access to a garden bore (Table 4).


WATER FACILITIES

The WA Water Corporation estimates that 43% of total household water use is inside the home. Modifications to available water facilities can make a big difference to water consumption (Water Corp.). Two areas accounting for much of a dwelling's water use are toilets and showers. Improved water consumption can be obtained in these facilities with dual flush toilets (see glossary) and installation of low flow shower heads (see glossary).

As an indicator of the effect on water consumption of water efficient toilets and showers, the Department of Water estimates that retrofitting low flow shower heads and water efficient toilet suites would save 1.5 GL and 2 GL of water respectively per year (Dept. of Water 2009).


Toilets

In 2009, more than half (59%) of all dwellings in WA had more than one toilet; 9% had three or more toilets, and 50% had two. The remaining 41% of dwellings had one toilet. This pattern was reflected in the Perth metropolitan area where the proportions were 10%, 50% and 40% respectively (Table 9).


Dual Flush Toilets

In a large proportion of WA dwellings (87%), all the toilets were dual flush. A further 9% had no dual flush toilets while in 4% some toilets were dual flush (Table 9).

In 2009, at least one dual flush toilet was reported in 91% of Perth dwellings. In 2006, 84% of dwellings were reported to have at least one dual flush toilet (ABS 2006)(Table 9).

Dual flush toilets, Perth - 2006 and 2009
Graph: Dual flush toilets, Perth—2006 and 2009



Dual Flush Toilets and Household Income

Households in the lowest household income bracket (less than $25,000 per year) had the highest proportion of single toilet dwellings without dual flush (12%) compared with 2% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more per year (Table 13).

Conversely, in dwellings with two toilets, both dual flush, the proportion increased with household income, from 29% of dwellings with a household income of less than $25,000 per year, to 59% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more per year (Table 13).


Showers

Almost a third of water use in a dwelling is for showering. Older conventional style showers use on average 12 litres of water per minute. To reduce the amount of water used, householders have been advised to install low flow shower heads (see glossary), reducing water use by one third (Water Corp.).

In 2006, 51% of dwellings in Perth had at least one low flow shower head installed (ABS 2006). In 2009, this had increased to 60%, comprising 51% with low flow shower heads connected to all their showers and 9% with some low flow showers. In 39% of dwellings, no showers had low flow shower heads (Table 13).

Low flow shower heads, Perth - 2006 and 2009
Graph: Low flow shower heads, Perth—2006 and 2009



Showers and dwelling type

More than half (53%) of WA flats, units and apartments had no low flow shower heads, compared with 47% of semi-detached, row or terrace houses and townhouses etc. and 36% of separate houses (Table 10).

All dwellings, Low flow shower heads - Dwelling type
Graph: All dwellings, Low flow shower heads—Dwelling type



Showers and dwelling tenure

The absence of low flow shower heads was more common in rental dwellings. Over half (52%) of all rental dwellings (both public and privately rented) were without low flow shower heads compared with one in three (33%) dwellings that were either owned outright or being paid off (Table 11).


Showers and household size

There was an association between the number of low flow shower heads and the number of people in the dwelling. For example, the proportion of dwellings with all their showers being low flow increased with household size, from 48% of one person dwellings to 60% of dwellings with six or more persons (Table 12).

All dwellings, Low flow shower heads - Household size
Graph: All dwellings, Low flow shower heads—Household size



GARDEN WATER USE

Just over half of all household water use is outside the home. With climate change and an increasing demand for water, efficient water use is more important than ever (Water Corp).

The survey asked householders (excluding those in flats, units and apartments) whether their dwelling had lawns and gardens and the sources of water used for watering them. It also asked whether the gardens and lawns were watered by reticulated watering systems, whether these systems were sourced from the mains water supply or from garden bores or any other source, and whether the reticulation systems were automatically or manually operated.


Gardens and Lawns

An estimated 747,500 dwellings (excluding flats, units and apartments) had gardens and/or lawns, including 651,900 (87%) with lawns and 729,100 (98%) with gardens.

The majority of dwellings (85% or 633,400) had a combination of both gardens and lawns, 13% had gardens only and 2% had lawns only (Table 14).

Of the 651,900 dwellings with lawns, 69% had lawn in both the front (including front and side verges) and back yards, 20% had lawn in the front yard only and 11% had it in the back yard only (Table 14).


Garden Water Source

A number of water sources were used for watering gardens and lawns with some dwellings having used a combination of sources. The mains water supply was the source of water for 72% of dwellings with gardens and lawns, while a garden bore the source for 22%. Recycled water or grey water was also used by 4% of dwellings and water from a rainwater tank used by 3%. For 5% of dwellings, the gardens and/or lawns were not watered, relying solely on rainfall (Table 14).

There were some differences between Perth and the Balance of WA. Within the Perth region, the mains water supply was a source of water for 70% of dwellings, while 26% used bore water. Outside of Perth, 76% used mains water and 11% used bore water (Table 14).

Dwellings with gardens and/or lawns, Sources of water for watering - Region
Graph: Dwellings with gardens and/or lawns, Sources of water for watering—Region


Use of the mains water supply for watering was more common in semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc. (87%) than in separate houses (70%) where access to a garden bore was more common (24%) than in other dwelling types (6%) (Table 15).


Reticulated watering systems

Of the 747,500 dwellings (excluding flats, units and apartments) with gardens and/or lawns, 527,100 (71%) used reticulated watering systems. Two thirds (69%) of these reticulated watering systems were connected to the mains water supply and 29% were connected to garden bores (Table 14).

Almost three quarters (71%) of WA's 527,100 reticulated watering systems were automatic and of these, 72% were connected to the mains water supply and 28% connected to garden bores (Table 14).

Reticulated watering systems were used at 71% of separate house dwellings (481,700) compared with 64% (45,300) of semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc. (Table 15).

The mains water supply was the source of water for 67% of reticulated watering systems at separate houses, compared with 92% of reticulation systems at semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouses and other etc. (Table 15).

Whether mains water reticulation systems were automatic or manually operated also varied according to dwelling type. More than three quarters (76%) of mains reticulated systems at separate house dwellings were automatic, compared with 63% at semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc. (Table 15).

All dwellings with gardens and/or lawns, Type of reticulation system - Dwelling type
Graph: All dwellings with gardens and/or lawns, Type of reticulation system—Dwelling type



SOURCES OF ENERGY

Of the 862,000 dwellings in WA, 861,600 were connected to mains electricity, 71% had mains gas and 19% made use of solar energy (Table 4).

In Perth, where all dwellings were connected to mains electricity, 83% were also connected to mains gas. Outside the Perth metropolitan area, mains gas was connected to 32% of dwellings (Table 4).

LPG/bottled gas was more commonly used outside the Perth metropolitan area and was used by half (50%) of all regional dwellings. In the Perth metropolitan area, 5% of dwellings used LPG/bottled gas (Table 4).

Similarly, the proportions of dwellings using wood and solar energy were higher outside the metropolitan area, with 37% burning wood and 28% using solar energy compared with 11% and 16% respectively in Perth (Table 4).

All dwellings, Sources of energy - Region
Graph: All dwellings, Sources of energy—Region



SPACE COOLING AND HEATING

Space cooling and heating are high energy users. Whether a dwelling has insulation installed and the type of air conditioner or heater used will influence the amount of energy used.


Insulation

Ceiling insulation is one of the most effective ways to improve energy efficiency in a dwelling by making a significant difference to the cost of running air conditioning units. Ceiling insulation helps to keep a dwelling cooler in summer by reducing the amount of heat entering, and in winter, helps keep it warmer by keeping warm air inside. As a consequence, running costs of cooling and heating appliances are reduced, either by needing to use the appliances less often, or when they are used, the appliances are not required to work as hard (DCCEE 2010).

In 2009, almost three quarters (72% or 618,200) of WA dwellings had insulation installed, while 16% had no insulation. A further 13% of respondents were uncertain about whether insulation was installed (Table 16).

Insulation was more commonly installed in separate houses (77%) than in semi-detached, row or terrace houses, town houses etc. (58%) or flats, units or apartments and other types of dwellings (39%) (Table 16).

Installation of insulation was reported in 38% of rental accommodation (both public and other), less than half the rate for dwellings that were either fully owned or being paid off (84% and 87% respectively) (Table 16). However, it should be noted that for 33% of rental dwellings it was not known whether insulation was installed. This was in contrast with dwellings that were owned outright or being paid off where 4% did not know whether insulation was installed.

Householders in the 66,200 WA dwellings that were not insulated and not rented (i.e. fully owned or being paid off, or other) were asked for the main reason they had not had insulation installed. The most common reasons given were: had not got around to it (26%), cost (21%) and had not considered it a priority (14%) (Table 17).


Space cooling

Space cooling accounts for a small share of total household energy use. However, the most significant issue is spikes in usage. On a hot day, average residential domestic air conditioner use can cause large spikes in electrical demand resulting in blackouts and damage to household goods (DEWHA 2008).

Over the last two decades, WA's space cooling energy consumption has increased steadily from 0.4 petajoules in 1990 to 1.3 petajoules in 2009 (DEWHA 2008). Air conditioner ownership and use has increased, partly because it has become more affordable and partly because of recent housing designs that have tended to minimise or eliminate shading to walls and windows (DEWHA 2008).

In 2009, 79% (680,900) of WA dwellings used some form of air conditioning for cooling (Table 18). Three years earlier, 71% of WA dwellings were reported to use an air conditioner or evaporative cooler (ABS 2006).

Householders were asked about their main air conditioner used for cooling, i.e. the one used most often. One quarter (25%) of WA dwellings had a reverse cycle split system air conditioner which they used as their main cooling device. Ducted evaporative systems were used in 22% of dwellings and ducted reverse cycle systems were used in 10% of WA dwellings (Table 18).

Since 2006, the proportion of reverse cycle systems used as the main cooling system has increased. In 2006, 49% of all cooling systems were reverse cycle systems. By 2009, this proportion had increased to 56%. As a consequence, the representation of evaporative and refrigerated systems has declined. Evaporative systems declined from 35% of main air conditioners used in 2006 to 31% in 2009 while refrigerated air conditioners declined from 16% to 12% (ABS 2006) (Table 18).

Dwellings with air conditioners, Main conditioner type, 2006 and 2009
Graph: Dwellings with air conditioners, Main conditioner type, 2006 and 2009



Space Heating

Space heating is one of the largest single end uses of power in the residential sector in Australia and currently accounts for 38% of total energy consumption. However, unlike the trends in space cooling, WA space heating energy consumption trends from 1990 to 2010 have shown little variation (DEWHA 2008).

An estimated 778,200 (90%) WA households reported having some form of heating. Of these, 41% used gas (mains or LPG/bottled) and 42% used electricity as the heating energy source. In 2006, gas and electricity, as the main form of heating, were used in 46% and 35% of dwellings respectively (Table 18) (ABS 2006). These changes in heating sources may be attributed to increased use of reverse cycle air conditioners. In 2006, reverse cycle air conditioners accounted for 21% of all heaters. By 2009, they represented 31% of main heaters used (Table 18).

Dwellings with heating, Energy source - 2006 and 2009
Graph: Dwellings with heating, Energy source—2006 and 2009


Of the 778,200 dwellings in WA with heating the most common heater types used were non ducted-unflued gas heaters (32%) and reverse cycle heaters (both ducted and not-ducted) (31%). Wood burning heaters were the main heater type for 15% of dwellings with heating while electric resistant/radiators etc. represented 10% of main heaters used (Table 18).

Dwellings with heating, Selected heating types - Dwelling type
Graph: Dwellings with heating, Selected heating types—Dwelling type


While there was little difference across income groups in the sources of energy used for space heating, there was some variation in the type of heating used. For example, electric resistant, radiators etc. heaters (which are usually cheap to buy but expensive to operate) were more commonly used as the main heating source in lower income groups. This type of heater represented 16% of heaters in dwellings with a gross annual household income of less than $25,000 and decreased to 5% of heaters in dwellings with a household income of $110,000 or more. Similarly, the proportion of not-ducted reverse cycle heating tended to decrease with increasing income. In contrast, ducted reverse cycle systems increased with income (Table 20).

Dwellings with heating, Selected electric heating types - Gross annual household income
Graph: Dwellings with heating, Selected electric heating types—Gross annual household income



WATER HEATING

Water heating has been a significant contributor to household energy consumption. However, it is anticipated that there will be an overall downward trend in energy consumption for water heaters from 2002 to 2020 due, in part, to the uptake of natural gas for water heating and the increased use of solar energy. Solar water heating has had an increased uptake due to government initiatives and rebate schemes (DEWHA 2008).


Water heating energy source

In 2009, over half (56%) of all WA dwellings used mains gas as the main source of energy for heating water, 19% used electricity and 18% used solar energy (Table 21). Three years earlier, the corresponding proportions were mains gas (56%), electricity (21%) and solar energy (15%) (ABS 2006).

In the Perth metropolitan area, water heating energy sources were mains gas (67%), electricity (16%) and solar (14%). For the remainder of the state, use of these three water heating energy sources were more evenly distributed - 23%, 29% and 28% respectively. In the non-metropolitan area, because of the lack of access to mains gas, LPG bottled gas was used by 19% of dwellings for water heating compared with 2% in Perth (Table 21).

The use of mains gas as the energy source for water heating was highest in semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc. (64%) followed by separate dwellings (55%) and flats, units, apartments or other dwellings (50%). The use of electricity for water heating was more variable and ranged from 15% for separate house dwellings to 42% for flats, units, apartments and other dwellings. Solar water heating was mostly confined to separate houses and accounted for 147,800 of these dwellings (21%) (Table 22).


Hot water system type

The 2009 survey found that 59% of water heaters in WA were storage type while 37% were instantaneous (Table 21).

In the Perth metropolitan area, 56% of hot water systems were storage type and 39% were instantaneous. Outside the metropolitan area, the gap was greater with storage type water heaters representing 68% of heaters and instantaneous representing 30% (Table 21).

Storage hot water systems were more common in separate houses (63%) than in other dwelling types (42%) (Table 22).


ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES-WHITE GOODS

In the last few years, a lot of work has been done to improve the energy efficiency of new white goods. While improvements continue to be made, the increased efficiencies are offset by increased ownership of a variety of high energy using electrical appliances. It is anticipated that energy consumption by household appliances is likely to grow rapidly due to increased availability of plasma and LCD televisions, standby-ready for use electronics, DVD players, entertainment systems, computers and associated products, dishwashers and clothes dryers (DEWHA 2008).


Washing machines

There has been a shift to more water and energy efficient front-loading clothes washers since 2006, possibly due to mandatory water labelling (WELS-Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme) introduced in 2006, state subsidies from water authorities for more water-efficient washers and growing concerns about water shortages.

In 2006, 71% of washing machines in Perth dwellings were top loading and 25% were front loading. In 2009, 64% of Perth dwellings had top loading washing machines and 34% had front loading washing machines. Outside the metropolitan areas, 73% had top loading washing machines and 25% had front loading washing machines (Table 25) (ABS 2006).

Washing machines, Perth, 2006 and 2009
Graph: Washing machines, Perth, 2006 and 2009


There was an association between gross annual household income and choice of washing machine. Among those in the lower income group (less than $25,000) the gap between ownership of top loading and front loading washing machines was almost 60 percentage points. This gap decreased with increasing household income. In the highest income group ($110,000 or more) the gap was reduced to 12 percentage points (Table 28).

All dwellings, Washing machine type - Gross annual household income
Graph: All dwellings, Washing machine type—Gross annual household income



Clothes Dryers

In 2009, over half of WA dwellings (56% or 486,000) had a clothes dryer (Table 25). Ownership of a clothes dryer varied according to dwelling type. They were reported in 60% of separate dwellings, 48% of semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses etc. and 34% of flats, units or apartments and other dwellings (Table 26).

Ownership of clothes dryers increased with household size from 42% of one person households to 73% of six or more person households (Table 7).

Ownership of clothes dryers increased with gross annual household income, from 40% of dwellings with a household income of less than $25,000 to 68% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more (Table 28).

All dwellings, Clothes dryer ownership - Gross annual household income
Graph: All dwellings, Clothes dryer ownership—Gross annual household income


The use of 54% of WA's 486,000 clothes dryers was dependent on the weather and/or the season, while 24% were used at least once a week. Almost one in ten ( 9%) clothes dryers were never used (Table 25).


Dishwashers

Since the early 1990s, new dishwashers have become more energy and water efficient. However, this increased efficiency has been offset by the increased ownership of dishwashers. It is expected that despite further efficiency gains over the coming years, these gains will be modest and therefore energy use will continue to grow (DEWHA 2008).

In Perth, 44% of dwellings had a dishwasher. In 2006, 38% of Perth dwellings were reported to have a dishwasher (Table 25) (ABS 2006).

There were differences in ownership of dishwashers according to dwelling type. Almost half (48%) of all separate houses in WA had a dishwasher, compared with 28% of semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses and 16% of flats, units or apartments and other dwellings.

Ownership of dishwashers increased with household size, ranging from 22% of one person households to 55% of six or more person households (Table 27).

Household income was a significant factor associated with dishwasher ownership, ranging from 19% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of less than $25,000 to 64% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more (Table 28).

All dwellings, Dishwasher ownership - Gross annual household income
Graph: All dwellings, Dishwasher ownership—Gross annual household  income



Dishwasher use

Dishwashers were used either on a daily basis or three times or more each week in almost two thirds (65%) of the 366,300 dwellings in WA with dishwashers (Table 25).

Frequency of use tended to be associated with the number of people in the dwelling, with larger households having made the most use of their dishwashers. Dishwashers were used on a daily basis in 6% of single person households with dishwashers. This increased to 59% in six or more person households, with 8,600 of the 14,500 dishwashers used on a daily basis (Table 27).

Dwellings with dishwashers, Frequency of use - Household size
Graph: Dwellings with dishwashers, Frequency of use—Household size



Refrigerators

Virtually all dwellings (99%) in WA had at least one refrigerator, with 61% having one and 34% having two. A further 4% of dwellings had three or more refrigerators (Table 25).

The number of refrigerators in a dwelling was related to the number of people living in the dwelling. Of the 223,900 single person dwellings in WA, 82% had one refrigerator compared with 50% of dwellings with six or more persons. Conversely, two refrigerators were found in 15% of one person dwellings and 41% of all other household sizes
(Table 27).

All dwellings, Number of refrigerators - Household size
Graph: All dwellings, Number of refrigerators—Household size


The age of a refrigerator has some impact on the amount of energy used. The energy efficiency of newer refrigerators has increased significantly over the years. However, many dwellings are still using older refrigerators. In 2009, refrigerators that were at least ten years old were being used as the main refrigerator in almost one in four (23%) WA dwellings (Table 25).


Separate Freezers

In 2009, almost four in ten (39% or 334,100) WA dwellings had at least one separate freezer. In 332,600 of these dwellings, at least one freezer was in use at the time of the survey (Table 25).

Since the early 1990s, the energy efficiency of freezers has improved, partly due to more stringent energy efficient requirements. However many freezers currently in use may not meet energy efficiency standards. Of the 329,600 main freezers in use at the time of the survey, 133,500 (41%) were at least ten years old. These freezers are potentially inefficient energy users (Table 25).

Dwellings with separate freezers in use, Age of main freezer
Graph: Dwellings with separate freezers in use, Age of main freezer



Microwave Ovens

Since 1986, when less than one third (30%) of dwellings had a microwave oven, there has been a steady increase in microwave ownership (DEWHA 2008). At the time of the 2009 survey, 93% (804,600) of households reported having a microwave oven (Table 25).

The proportion of dwellings with microwave ovens increased with gross annual household income, ranging from 87% of dwellings with an income of less than $25,000 to 96% of dwellings with an income of $110,000 or more (Tables 26, 28).

Influencing factors when buying white goods

In the 12 months prior to the survey, white-goods purchases were made by householders in 232,900 dwellings. Householders were asked for the factors that influenced their choice of product. The most commonly considered factors were energy star ratings (61%), cost (55%) and water efficiency ratings (34%). Capacity and dimensions were also common factors considered, accounting for 32% and 28% of purchases respectively (Table 29).

White goods purchased in last 12 months, Main factors considered
Graph: White goods purchased in last 12 months, Main factors considered



ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES-HOME ENTERTAINMENT EQUIPMENT

Householders were asked whether they owned a range of home entertainment equipment including televisions, DVD player/recorders, set top boxes (see glossary), surround sound systems for home theatres (see glossary) and stereo systems. These devices are potentially high energy users, depending on how often used and whether left on stand-by between use.

All dwellings, Selected home entertainment equipment
Graph: All dwellings, Selected home entertainment equipment



Televisions

Television energy use has increased steadily over the last 20 years, but is projected to increase more rapidly over the next few years. Three drivers of this increase are a projected increase in the average number of televisions per household, an increase in the hours of operation and the introduction of new technologies. These new technologies, including LCD, plasma and projection (see glossary), have contributed to a rapid increase in screen size resulting in a rapid rise in energy consumption (DEWHA 2008). These new high energy using technologies have been overtaking the traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) television.

Of the 862,000 dwellings in WA, 99% had at least one television, comprising 40% with one television, 37% with two televisions and 22% with three or more televisions (Table 30).

While CRT televisions were still being used in 68% of WA dwellings, LCD/Plasma televisions, at the time of the survey, were approaching the same level of penetration, found in 58% (499,500) of WA dwellings (Table 30).

The proportion of dwellings with LCD/plasma televisions increased with household income, ranging from 37% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of less than $25,000 to 76% of those with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more.

All dwellings, Television type - Gross annual household income
Graph: All dwellings, Television type—Gross annual household income



Set top boxes

Since the introduction of set-top boxes (see glossary) in the mid 1990s, set-top box energy use has shown rapid growth. Again, the key driver of this increased use is the rapid uptake of new technologies. It is anticipated that there will be a peak in ownership of set-top boxes when analogue broadcasting is phased out in 2012 (DEWHA 2008).

In 2009, set-top boxes were found in 36% of WA households.

There was some relationship between set-top box ownership and household income. Set-top boxes were reported in 23% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of less the $25,000, rising to 44% of those with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more (Table 33).


Other home entertainment equipment

Other home entertainment equipment in WA households included DVDs (in 90% of dwellings), surround sound systems for home theatres (30%), video cassette players (54%), surround sound systems for home theatres (30%), stereo systems (61%) and game consoles (40%).

As expected, household income was a factor associated with ownership of DVDs, surround sound systems, stereo systems and game consoles (Table 33). For example, surround sound systems were found in 12% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of less than $25,000, increasing to 44% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of $110,000 or more (Table 33).

All dwellings, Selected home entertainment equipment - Gross annual household income
Graph: All dwellings, Selected home entertainment equipment—Gross annual household income



ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES-INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PRODUCTS

The survey also asked about the types of information technology products in households. Most common were chargers for mobile phones and batteries which were found in 91% of dwellings. Next in frequency were printers, scanners and fax machines (71% ) and cordless phones (70%). Desktop computers and laptop/notebook computers were found in 60% and 53% respectively of dwellings (Table 30).

All dwellings, Selected Information technology products
Graph: All dwellings, Selected Information technology products


Ownership of information technology products was related to income. For example, laptop/notebook computers were found in 23% of dwellings with a gross annual household income of less than $25,000 compared with 75% of dwellings with a gross household income of $110,000 or per year (Table 33).

All dwellings, Selected information technology products - Gross annual household income
Graph: All dwellings, Selected information technology products—Gross annual household income



PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The survey also collected information on public transport use. People aged 18 years and over who were living in the Perth metropolitan area were asked about their use of public transport (see explanatory notes), whether their usage patterns had changed in the two years prior to the survey, and if so, what were the reasons for those changes.

At the time of the survey it was estimated that 1,257,200 people aged 18 years and over lived in the Perth metropolitan region. In the week prior to the survey, almost one in five (18%) used public transport for regular activities such as travel to work and school. Most of the commuters resided in the North Metropolitan region (86,300) and the South East Metropolitan region (55,300). The Central Metropolitan region had the smallest number of regular public transport users (25,000) (Table 34).

In percentage terms, the South East Metropolitan and Central Metropolitan regions had the highest proportion of public transport users (23% each). For the East, South West and North Metropolitan regions the corresponding proportions were 14%, 15% and 19% respectively (Table 34).


Sex and age

Regular use of public transport was equally divided among males and females (116,300 and 116,200 respectively) (Table 34).

While there was little difference between males and females in regular public transport use, there were some differences according to age. In general, the proportion of each age group using public transport for regular activities decreased with increasing age from 30% of 18-24 year-olds to 13% of people aged 45-54 years. For older groups (55 years and over), the proportion regularly using public transport tended to increase with age (Table 35).

Public transport users, Age groups
Graph: Public transport users, Age groups



Increased public transport use

An estimated 161,700 (13%) people aged 18 years and over reported that, in the previous two years, their use of public transport had increased. The most common reasons given for this increase were: public transport was more convenient than before (35%), changes in work circumstances (17%), public transport cheaper or free (12%) and access to public transport changed e.g. moved house or work location (9%) (Table 36).

Increased public transport use, Reasons for increase
Graph: Increased public transport use, Reasons for increase



Decreased public transport use

Approximately 107,800 (8%) people indicated that their use of public transport had decreased in the past two years. The main reasons given were: having obtained a motor vehicle or driver licence (31%), change in work circumstances (26%), public transport less convenient than before (16%) and access to public transport changed (10%)
(Table 36).

Decreased public transport use, Reasons for decrease
Graph: Decreased public transport use, Reasons for decrease



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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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