4602.0.55.001 - Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, Mar 2008 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2008  First Issue
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Energy Use and Conservation Survey that was conducted throughout Australia in March 2008 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The major aim of the survey was to collect data on how households use and conserve energy. It is a continuation of a series of surveys on this topic conducted since June 1994. The previous survey was conducted in March 2005.

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS, which also applies to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing.


Survey Vehicle

3 The Labour Force Survey is based on a multi-stage area sample of private dwellings (houses, flats, etc.) and a list sample of non-private dwellings (hotels, motels, etc.). The sample for a Labour Force survey is approximately 34,000 dwellings but only half of these were included in the March supplementary topic. For the March 2008 survey, there were 12,965 fully responding households.

Data collection

4 Information was collected through interviews conducted over a two-week period during March 2008.

5 Information was collected from any responsible adult in the household who was asked to respond on behalf of the household.


6 The estimation process for this survey ensures that estimates calibrate exactly to independently produced population totals at broad levels. The known population totals, commonly referred to as 'benchmarks', are produced according to the scope of the survey. The same is true for estimates of households produced in this survey. However, in these cases the household benchmarks are actually estimates themselves and not strictly known population totals.

7 Since this survey was last conducted, the process for producing household benchmarks has been refined. Whilst this process is still under review, it represents a significant improvement to the previous method and household benchmarks produced using the new method are considered to be of sufficient quality for use in household survey estimation. In addition, measures of the variability in household benchmarks have been incorporated into household estimates for the first time. These changes may result in unexpected movements in total households (at some broad levels) due to revised benchmark methodology.

8 A paper describing these issues in detail is currently being developed and will be released on the ABS website with catalogue number 3107.0.55.007.


9 The scope of this supplementary survey is restricted to people aged 18 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings and excludes the following:

  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependents)
  • residents of other non-private dwellings such as hospitals, hotels and motels
  • people living in very remote areas.

10 Students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for people with disabilities) and inmates of prisons are excluded from all supplementary surveys.

11 The exclusion of people living in very remote areas will have only a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for individual states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for over 23% of the population.


12 The estimates in this publication relate to households covered by the survey in March 2008. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


13 Prior to 2008, the annual publication Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) focussed on one of three rotating topics each year: Energy Use and Conservation, Waste Management and Transport Use and Water Use and Conservation.

14 For 2008 this publication has been renamed Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001).

15 An important point to note is that the environment topics were surveyed using a 'personal interview' methodology before 1997. From 1997 onwards the 'any responsible adult' methodology has been applied. When comparing post-1997 and pre-1997 data readers should be aware that some differences in the data may be explained by the change in methodology rather than representing real changes over time.


16 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:
  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For further information refer to the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether in a full count or a sample survey. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error to a minimum by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient data processing procedures.


17 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics ACT 1905.


18 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in March 2011.


19 Users may also wish to refer to the following ABS publications:
      Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) - 1994 to 2007 issues.
      Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Accounts (cat. no. 4604.0) - 2001 issue
      Detailed Energy Statistics, Australia (cat. no. 4648.0.55.001) - 2004 issue


20 Further key references on environmental concerns, energy use and conservation can be found through the following websites:
21 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available from the Statistics page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.