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4602.0 - Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/12/2002   
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INTRODUCTION

This publication is the eighth of its type and presents the results of a household survey conducted in March 2002. The survey collected information on energy sources, aspects of dwelling materials and fixtures that impact on energy use, and energy using household appliances. These are some of the main determinants of energy use, which in turn has implications for greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and resource depletion.

Two key themes emerged from the survey. Firstly, while there was widespread penetration of some energy saving measures, for example insulation, fluorescent lights and use of cold water in washing clothes, there was also an increase in the number and usage of energy using household appliances. For example there were significant rises in the number of airconditioners and the use of dishwashers.

Greenpower and solar energy, which do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, were used in very few households. A positive finding with regard to greenhouse gases was the increase in the number of households connected to gas. This is significant as burning gas for cooking, space or hot water heating produces less greenhouse gases than using electricity from coal fired generators for the same purpose.

Secondly, the adoption of energy conservation measures seems to have been motivated mostly by lifestyle reasons and a desire to reduce energy costs, rather than any environmental benefits. Cost was the main factor influencing the use of insulation, greenpower and the replacement of white goods.


MAIN FINDINGS

  • There has been a modest increase in the use of insulation, from 52% of dwellings in 1994 to 58% in 2002. The main reason given for insulating was to improve comfort (this reason was given by 84% of people installing insulation), while the main obstacle to installing insulation was cost (as reported by 24% of people without insulation). Saving energy was not high on the list of reasons for installing insulation.
  • Close to half of Australian households (49%) applied at least one measure to regulate heat through windows. Outside awnings and/or shutters were the principal form of window protection and were used by over 30% of households.
  • Close to 60% of Australian households had at least one room illuminated by standard fluorescent lights. Nationally, this represented a marginal increase from 1999, though there were notable changes in the Australian Capital Territory (where a decline of 7% was recorded) and Tasmania (where an increase of 7% was recorded). Around 23% of Australian households had at least one room illuminated by energy saving lights in 2002.
  • Electricity is the main source of energy for Australians, being used in virtually every household (99.4%) in 2002. Electricity was the main energy source for cooking (57%) and hot water systems (61%), but gas remains the main source of energy for space heating (34%).
  • Solar energy is primarily used in Australia for heating water and was utilised by 4% of households, but was used in 53% of Northern Territory households and 16% of Western Australian households.
  • About two in three hot water systems in Australia (61%) were powered by electricity. Approximately half of these utilised off-peak electricity. New South Wales recorded the highest proportion of households using off-peak electricity to power hot water systems (46%), followed by Queensland (37%) and South Australia (29%).
  • The use of power from greenpower schemes was around 3% nationally. The use of greenpower was steady or increased in all states and territories except Tasmania and Western Australia. In Tasmania there was fall of around 27% in the proportion of households reporting using energy from this source (from 88% in 1999 to 62% in 2002). As Tasmania's electricity supply is almost entirely from hydro-electric power, this finding suggests there may be a poor understanding of the definition of greenpower in that state. This lack of understanding may exist in other states too.
  • Cost was the major barrier to use of greenpower, with the majority of households (62%) not willing to pay more for the scheme. In 2002, 26% of respondents who were not connected to greenpower were willing to pay more for the scheme, representing 6% drop in support for greenpower since 1999. Most of these respondents (59%) were willing to pay less than $100 extra per year.
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of households with airconditioners from 35% of dwellings in 1994 to 49% in 2002.
  • Around 30% of households in Australia had more than one refrigerator in 2002. Close to one-third of households reported that their main refrigerator was aged 10 years or more and the majority of those with a second refrigerator (62%) stated it was aged 10 years or more.
  • Around 23% of households replaced one or more white good appliance in 2002. Cost, energy rating efficiency and capacity were the three main factors considered by households when buying or replacing appliances. Environmental considerations were ranked eleventh of the twelve categories mentioned in the survey; availability being the last ranked category.
  • More Australian households used cold water (68%) than warm water (22%) in washing machines (the remainder used hot water or varied the temperature).
  • Suds saving feature in washing machines was reported in 36% of households in 2002. Around 36% (13% of households with washing machines) reported using this water saving feature in 2002, a level which is almost unchanged since 1994.
  • Televisions continued to be the most common non-white good appliance, being present in 99% of households. In addition, computers are becoming a more popular, with their occurrence increasing from 45% in 1999 to 60% in 2002.


SAMPLE TABLES

DWELLINGS WITH INSULATION (a), Reason for installing

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT (b)
ACT
Aust.

MARCH 2002
Number ('000)
Achieve comfort
545.5
466.9
268.5
184.5
233.4
52.3
5.6
31.3
1,788.0
Save on energy bills
51.2
100.9
12.8
18.3
14.9
9.0
0.5
6.9
214.5
Use less energy
12.0
27.1
5.9
6.2
3.3
1.7
0.0
2.5
58.7
Other
22.4
26.9
11.3
2.8
5.3
2.2
0.0
0.2
71.2
Total reasons for installing insulation
631.1
621.9
298.5
211.8
256.9
65.3
6.1
40.8
2,132.4
Proportion (%)
Achieve comfort
86.4
75.1
90.0
87.1
90.8
80.2
92.0
76.6
83.8
Save on energy bills
8.1
16.2
4.3
8.6
5.8
13.8
8.0
16.9
10.1
Use less energy
1.9
4.4
2.0
2.9
1.3
2.7
0.0
6.0
2.8
Other
3.5
4.3
3.8
1.3
2.1
3.4
0.0
0.5
3.3

MARCH 1999
Proportion (%)
Achieve comfort
88.8
80.2
94.0
87.7
92.3
82.1
66.5
77.6
86.5
Save on energy bills
6.9
13.2
3.4
8.6
3.6
11.8
6.6
14.2
8.5
Use less energy
1.8
3.0
0.6
2.3
2.2
3.8
0.0
5.4
2.2
Other
2.6
3.6
2.0
1.3
1.9
2.4
26.9
2.7
2.7

JUNE 1994
Proportion (%)
Achieve comfort
81.2
66.0
86.1
78.6
86.2
76.2
94.3
63.5
76.4
Save on energy bills
12.2
25.6
4.5
16.2
10.3
17.1
3.0
21.6
16.3
Use less energy
4.1
6.7
3.8
4.1
1.6
5.9
0.0
12.9
4.9
Other
2.6
1.8
5.6
1.1
2.0
0.8
2.6
2.1
2.4

(a) Covers dwelling that were owner-occupied and respondents who were responsible for installing insulation.
(b) Northern Territory data refers to mainly urban areas only.


USE OF FLUORESCENT LIGHTS (a), Number of rooms mainly lit

NSW
Vic.
Qld.
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

MARCH 2002
Number ('000)
None
1,107.4
843.4
354.1
295.8
310.0
109.7
7.6
64.3
3,092.3
One
622.3
548.1
393.9
167.1
245.7
47.2
16.3
32.8
2,073.5
Two
381.1
253.6
285.3
86.1
110.4
19.5
11.0
15.5
1,162.5
Three
176.8
97.9
151.4
35.8
45.5
7.1
6.1
5.7
526.3
Four
79.6
37.5
91.2
11.4
19.8
3.3
3.1
2.4
248.2
More than four
89.0
48.7
130.0
14.8
21.0
3.2
9.5
2.6
318.8
Whole House
15.9
8.1
23.8
1.7
1.2
0.0
1.1
0.2
52.1
Total dwellings
2,472.1
1,837.4
1,429.8
612.8
753.6
190.0
54.7
123.5
7,473.7
Proportion (%)
None
44.8
45.9
24.8
48.3
41.1
57.7
13.9
52.1
41.4
One
25.2
29.8
27.5
27.3
32.6
24.9
29.9
26.6
27.7
Two
15.4
13.8
20.0
14.1
14.6
10.3
20.0
12.6
15.6
Three
7.2
5.3
10.6
5.8
6.0
3.7
11.2
4.6
7.0
Four
3.2
2.0
6.4
1.9
2.6
1.7
5.6
1.9
3.3
More than four
3.6
2.7
9.1
2.4
2.8
1.7
17.4
2.1
4.3
Whole House
0.6
0.4
1.7
0.3
0.2
0.0
1.9
0.2
0.7

MARCH 1999
Proportion (%)
None
43.3
44
23.9
44.7
41.1
51
14.6
45.1
39.8
One
26.4
32.8
25.7
31.5
33.9
26.4
36.3
27
29.1
Two
16.4
13.1
20.3
13
14.9
11.6
15.9
15
15.7
Three
7.2
4.9
10.9
5.2
5
6
11.4
6.2
6.9
Four
2.9
2.3
6.3
2.5
2.2
1.9
6.3
3.1
3.3
More than four
3.8
3
12.8
3.1
2.8
3.1
15.4
3.6
5.2

(a) In 1999, respondents were only asked about fluorescent lights, but in 2002, respondents were asked about fluorescent lights and energy saving lights.
(b) Northern Territory data refers to mainly urban areas only.


SAMPLE GRAPHS

USE OF FLUORESCENT LIGHTS AND ENERGY SAVING LIGHTS — 2002
GRAPH - USE OF FLUORESCENT LIGHTS AND ENERGY SAVING LIGHTS - 2002

ENERGY USE, Electricity - 2002
GRAPH - ENERGY USE, Electricity - 2002

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