1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
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Contents >> Environment >> Energy use by households


The vast majority (around 98%) of people are members of households living in dwellings such as houses, flats and units. The remainder live in institutions such as hostels, nursing homes, prisons, etc.

The amount and type of energy used in the home has considerable implications for the environment. The production and use of energy can deplete natural resources, generate greenhouse gas emissions and pollute the air. Households account for about 11% of total energy use in Australia.

Natural gas and electricity continue to be the main energy sources for room heating (graph 2.3), water heating (graph 2.4) and cooking. In 2005, 78% of all households used room heating; gas (33%) and electricity (32%) were almost equally preferred for room heating, ahead of wood (12%).

Electricity was the major energy source for hot water systems installed in dwellings (51%).

2.3 Main source of energy used for room heating
Graph: 2.3 Main source of energy used for room heating

2.4 Sources of energy used for water heating
Graph: 2.4 Sources of energy used for water heating

The use made of solar energy in Australia is primarily for heating water. It was used by 4% of all households in 2005, with the Northern Territory having the largest proportion of households (42%) using solar energy to heat water (graph 2.5). Solar energy for water heating was also popular in Western Australian households (16%).

2.5 Solar hot water used
Graph: 2.5 Solar hot water used
Heaters and coolers are major contributors to household energy use and costs. They account for nearly two-fifths (39%) of total household energy use and 14% of the residential sector greenhouse gas emissions. Unducted gas was the most common form of heating system used by households in 2005 (27%), followed by unducted electric heating (19%) and ducted gas heating (15%) (graph 2.6). Reverse cycle air conditioners were used in 20% of Australian households, up from 14% in 2002.

2.6 Main heating system used
Graph: 2.6 Main heating system used

In 2005, six in ten dwellings had some form of cooler installed (i.e. air conditioner or evaporative cooler). Since 1994, the most popular system of cooling has been reverse cycle/heat pump air conditioning (57% in 2005) (graph 2.7).

2.7 Main cooling system used
Graph: 2.7 Main cooling system used

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