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USE OF APPLIANCES AND WHITE GOODS IN AUSTRALIAN HOMES
The selection and use of appliances and white goods in Australian homes affects energy consumption and the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
Heaters and coolers are major contributors to household energy use. In 2005, they accounted for more that two-fifths (41%) of household energy use and nearly one-fifth (19%) of residential sector greenhouse gas emissions (DCC 2008). Nearly eight in ten dwellings (77%) across Australia had a heater in 2008, with the most popular type of heating being unducted gas (26%) followed by unducted reverse cycle air conditioners (18%).
More than one-third of households (39%) nominated ‘Comfort/convenience’ as the main reason for their choice of heater (regardless of type). Less than 2% of Australian households chose their type of heating based on environmental considerations. Between 2005 and 2008, the duration of use of heaters decreased, with households using their heater for six months or more in the year falling from 13% to 7%. It is likely that changes in the duration of use of heaters and coolers is strongly influenced by climatic conditions as well as environmental considerations.
Cooling has a low contribution to household energy consumption compared to heating, although energy consumption for cooling has been growing rapidly, up from 3 petajoules in 1990 to 12.5 petajoules in 2008 (DEWHA 2008). Two-thirds of Australian homes used some form of cooling (i.e. air conditioner or evaporative cooler) in 2008, up from 59% in 2005 and 35% in 1999. The use of coolers has been rising, with households using their cooler for 3 to 6 months rising from 26% in 2002 to 33% in 2008. Households using their cooler for 1 to 3 months rose from 35% to 40% in the same period.
Nearly half of all Australian homes (45%) had a dishwasher in 2008. The proportion of homes with dishwashers increased substantially between 1994 and 2008, from 25% to 45%. Three-quarters of all households used their dishwasher at least once a week, including almost one-third (29%) using their dishwasher daily. This was a substantial decrease in daily use, down from 37% in 2002.
Almost all Australian homes had washing machines (97%), with 20% of households using a more energy efficient front-loading washing machine. This was a large increase from 13% in 2005. Australians have been using their washing machines less frequently. Since 1994, the proportion of households averaging five washing machine loads or less per week has increased from 63% to 75% in 2008. In the same period, the number of households averaging six loads or more per week has decreased from 38% in 1994 to 25%.
The use of cold water for washing, rather than hot, is also increasing, rising from 61% in 1994 to 74% in 2008. In 2008 56% of homes had a clothes dryer, with half of these households using it only seasonally or depending on the weather. One fifth (21%) reported that they used their clothes dryer at least once a week, and 13% reported that they never used it at all.
The type of lights chosen by a household affects the amount of electricity used. Fluorescent lights and compact fluorescent lights are considered the most energy efficient form of lighting, as they use less energy and can last longer than conventional lights. In 2008, more than half of all homes (58%) in Australia used fluorescent lights or other energy saving lights (59%).
1.6 USE OF ENERGY SAVING LIGHTS (a) IN HOMES,
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