4618.4 - Domestic Use of Water and Energy, South Australia, Oct 2004  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/04/2005   
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Adjusted water level when washing clothes or dishes

Includes adjusting water levels on washing machines to suit the amount of washing to be done and the use of washing machines that automatically measure the size of the load and adjust the water levels accordingly.

Air conditioner

An apparatus for controlling the temperature of an enclosed space. It can be portable or fixed into the structure of the dwelling, usually in the wall or ceiling.

Area of usual residence

A person's area of usual residence as classified by the Statistical Region structure in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). Data are available on request for a classification which divides SA into two Major Statistical Regions - the Adelaide Statistical Division and the Balance of SA. For further information on the ASGC refer to Australian Standard Geographical Classification (cat. no. 1216.0).

Around the dwelling

Around the dwelling refers to areas or property the household owns or is responsible for, e.g. gardens and lawns, as opposed to public property like footpaths or parks.

Bottled gas

Gas provided in a large bottle or canister which is located near the house. A gas retailer may remove empty canisters and replace them with new ones.

Ducted air conditioner

A ducted air conditioner is one where air is piped through the dwelling to more than one outlet from a single source.

Electric ceiling, wall or floor radiant heating

Wall or floor radiant heating is provided by panels that are mounted to the wall/floor. These radiate heat into the room without the assistance of a fan. Ceiling radiant heating is provided by heating elements that are inserted between the ceiling material and any insulation. These elements radiate heat through the ceiling into the room below. The addition of insulation on top of the elements prevents the radiated heat escaping through the roof.

Electric off-peak heat bank

An off-peak heat bank operates along the same principle as in slab heating. A heating grid is contained in a large mass of concrete which acts as a thermal mass. This can be heated overnight using off-peak electricity and the heat is released during the day. The main difference between in slab and heat banks is that heat banks are usually used as space heaters to heat individual rooms, whereas in slab heating tends to heat large portions, if not all, of a house.

Electric off-peak in slab heater

In slab heating is usually installed when a house is built. Before pouring the slab, a heating grid is laid in the ‘slab area’ and the concrete for the slab poured over and around it - literally ‘in slab heating’. The heating grid heats the concrete of the slab which then radiates it to the rooms of the house. An advantage of in slab heating is that the concrete slab acts as a ‘thermal mass’ storing the heat and releasing it slowly. This means that off-peak electricity can be used to heat the slab overnight and this heat is released during the day. This form of heating is commonly found in colder Australian climates but is becoming more common in South Australia.

Equivalised gross household income

Gross household income that has been adjusted using an equivalence scale. For a lone person household it is equal to gross household income. For a household comprising more than one person, it is an indicator of the gross household income that would need to be received by a lone person household to enjoy the same level of economic well-being as the household in question. The scale allocates 1.0 point for the first adult (aged 15 years and over) in a household; 0.5 for each additional adult; and 0.3 for each child (aged less than 15 years). Equivalised household income is calculated by dividing total household income by the sum of the equivalence points allocated to household members.

Equivalised gross household income quintile

These are groupings of 20% of the households when ranked in ascending order according to equivalised gross household income. The quintile boundaries of the equivalised gross household income for the 2004 Domestic Use of Water and Energy Survey, SA, household population were:

  • Lowest quintile: Less than $240 per week
  • Second quintile: $240 to 365 per week
  • Third quintile: $366 to $567 per week
  • Fourth quintile: $568 to $860 per week
  • Highest quintile: $861 or more per week.

Households in the 'Not known or not stated' category include those containing at least one person for whom income was not known by the respondents.

Evaporative air conditioner

An air conditioner that draws outdoor air through a water filtration system whereby some heat from the air is absorbed through water evaporation. The cooled air is then redirected indoors. An evaporative air conditioner contains water within the system to cool the air circulating through it. It has a cooling fan that draws air through moistened pads. The air is cooled and filtered as it passes through these pads.

Fixed sprinkler system

A grid of sprinklers that has been installed to provide complete coverage of an area without any need to remove the sprinklers.

Front loading automatic washing machine

An automatic washing machine that opens and is loaded from the front. The user is able to set the machine and the machine then proceeds with washing and spinning without the intervention of the user.

Gardens or lawns

Private gardens or lawns attached to a dwelling. A garden refers to any outside garden of any size which contains any number of living plants and may include ferneries, flower beds, greenhouses etc. which are outside the house. Excludes pot plants on a balcony or in a courtyard, e.g. in a unit, and atriums within the dwelling.

Gas ducted heater

Ducted systems consist of heat piped through the dwelling to more than one outlet from a single heat source (e.g. a gas furnace).

Gas heater

Includes heaters that use gas for heating, but need electricity to ignite or start the appliance.

Government housing authority

Government housing authorities in South Australia are the Aboriginal Housing Authority, the South Australian Community Housing Authority and the South Australian Housing Trust.

Hand watering

Includes using a hose or buckets.

Hot water system

A device used for heating water in a dwelling. The energy source for heating is generally solar, gas or electricity, although some systems use other sources (e.g. wood combustion). Hot water systems are usually instantaneous or storage/tank systems. An instantaneous hot water system heats water instantly as it flows through the system, whereas a storage/tank hot water system heats water and stores it in a tank until it is needed.


A group of residents of a dwelling who share common facilities and meals or who consider themselves to be a household. It is possible for a dwelling to contain more than one household, for example, where regular provision is made for groups to take meals separately and where persons consider their households to be separate.

Household income

Income from all members of the household including profit or loss from members' unincorporated business or share in a partnership, profit or loss from rental property, dividends or interest, wages or salary, government pensions or allowances, Family Tax Benefit A or B if received as a payment from Centrelink, child support or maintenance, superannuation or annuity and regular income (where at least one payment a year is received).

Mains gas

Gas connected to the household by underground pipes and provided on a continuous basis (never runs out).


Material that is put on the surface of the soil in gardens in order to reduce water evaporation and weed growth. Examples of types of mulch include grass clippings, wood and bark chips, straw, lucerne, hay, newspaper, compost and stones. Excludes manure and fertilisers which, if used in sufficient quantities to act as a mulch, would kill plants.

Number of air conditioners

Ducted air conditioning systems, and air conditioning systems with more than one outlet are counted as one air conditioner.

Off-peak electricity

Supply of electricity at periods of time of less activity than at peak times. Hot water systems that use off-peak electricity are set to operate only during an off-peak period, normally during the night.


One thousand million million (1,000,000,000,000,000) joules.

Planted drought tolerant plants or lawn

Includes any drought tolerant plants which have been planted by members of the household and excludes trees or shrubs that were planted by previous residents.

Portable air conditioner

A portable air conditioner is one which may be moved around the dwelling.

Portable electric heaters

Includes oil column heaters which, although they are filled with oil, are powered by electricity.

Rainwater tank plumbed into the dwelling

A tank used to store rainwater that is connected with pipes to a tap, washing machine or toilet inside the dwelling.

Recycled or re-used water

Sometimes known as ‘grey water’ or ‘dirty water’, covers a broad range of practices undertaken by households to re-use water (after it has been used once, and that would normally go down the drain but is used for another purpose) from in and around the house. Examples include using sophisticated recycled water systems, collecting water from running a shower or bath, using suds saver on washing machine, and pouring leftover water from water bottles and vases onto gardens/lawns.

Reduced flow shower head

A water saving device that restricts water flow through shower heads. Sometimes referred to as a low flow shower head. A low or reduced flow shower head is specially designed to deliver a limited rate of flow of water with a pressure comparable to normal shower heads.

Reverse cycle air conditioner

A reverse cycle air conditioner may also be used as a heater. The temperature is able to be varied between warm and cool settings.

Soaking method

Watering gardens and lawns less frequently but for longer periods.

Solar hot water system

Includes solar hot water systems that have boosters to heat water during periods of rain or overcast conditions, and when heavy demand exhausts the hot water supply before it can be reheated by the sun.

Split system

A split system air conditioner is separated (but still connected by pipes or ducts) into a main unit that houses the compressor, and one or more outlets. The main unit is usually located outside the dwelling.


A portable watering device that attaches to the end of a hose and sprays water.

Stop watering the lawn

Includes deciding to let the lawn ‘brown off’. Excludes not watering the lawn during the winter or wet weather when the household is planning to resume watering when the weather becomes hotter and/or drier.

Tenure type

Describes the legal right a person has to occupy a dwelling (e.g. owned without a mortgage, owned with a mortgage, rented). Other tenure type includes house-sitting, payment in kind for a specific service, life tenure scheme, and participant of rent/buy (or shared equity) scheme.


Includes manual and electric timers which allow users to set the amount of watering time.

Top loading automatic washing machine

An automatic washing machine that opens and is loaded from the top. The user is able to set the machine and the machine then proceeds with washing and spinning without the intervention of the user.

Usual residents

Persons who usually live in a particular private dwelling and regard it as their own or main home. Excludes usual residents who were away from the dwelling for more than six weeks altogether and visitors to the dwelling who do not usually live there, do not regard it as their own or main home, but are temporarily staying there.