The majority of households (77%) resided in separate houses in 2008. Of these separate houses, 37% comprised four or more bedrooms.
There has been an increase in the use of insulation in homes, up from 52% of dwellings in 1994 to 61% in 2008. The main reason for having insulation was to improve comfort (given by 83% of households installing insulation). Only a small proportion (4%) of households reported that they had installed insulation in order to save energy. The main reason for not installing insulation was that the household was not responsible for insulation (34%), i.e. that they were renting their dwelling.
Electricity was the main source of energy in 2008, used by nearly every household (99.9%). It was the main source for ovens (75%) and for cooktops (56%). Electricity was also the most commonly used energy source for hot water systems (46%) and space heating (35%).
Solar energy use has increased from 5% in 2002 to 8% in 2008. It was used primarily for heating water. In the Northern Territory and Western Australia, 54% and 21% of households respectively, had solar hot water.
The use of off-peak electricity in hot water systems increased from 30% in 2002 to 35% in 2008. Queensland recorded the highest proportion of households using off-peak electricity for hot water systems (49%) in 2008. Tasmania had the most substantial increase since 2002, from 8% up to 32% in 2008.
In 2008, more than three-quarters of Australian households (77%) had a heater, two-thirds (67%) had a cooler, more than half (56%) had a clothes dryer and more than one-third (38%) had a laptop computer. Most Australian households (60%) had a desktop computer.
There was a substantial increase in the number of households with coolers (air conditioners and evaporative coolers) from 32% of dwellings in 1994 to 67% in 2008. Reverse cycle/heat pump has been the most popular system of cooling since 1994.
Over half of households with normal picture tube televisions had two or more of this type of television (57%). Almost one-fifth of households with LCD televisions (19%) had two or more LCD TVs.
Water and energy efficiency were the main factors considered by Australian households when replacing or buying white good appliances. Energy star rating ranked first over cost when replacing/buying a refrigerator (50%), separate freezer (46%) and clothes dryer (45%). Energy star rating was ranked first over water efficiency rating for a dishwasher (48%), but water efficiency rating was ranked first over energy star rating for a washing machine (49%). Cost was considered most important when buying/replacing a heater (40%).
Nearly three-quarters of Australian households used cold water (74%) rather than warm water (17%) in washing machines (the remainder used hot water or varied the temperature). This was an increase in cold water use from 61% in 1994.
More than half of all households (52%) were aware of GreenPower in 2008 (including 5% already paying for GreenPower). This was a large increase compared with 2005 and 1999 when 29% and 19% respectively were aware of GreenPower. One-third (32%) of households that were aware of GreenPower were willing to support the scheme in 2008, up from 23% in 2005.