Choosing Appliances

Appliances represent a significant proportion of our energy use and household greenhouse emissions. They also add to our energy bills.

With most appliances having lifespans between four and 15 years, the opportunity to buy or replace a large appliance occurs rarely. Take the time and effort to research and make the right choice, both for your hip pocket and the environment.

The most efficient new family fridge will save more than 2 tonnes of greenhouse gas over its life compared with the least efficient new model of similar size.

Source: The Australian Greenhouse Office
  • Things to consider

  • Size – The first thing to think about is your household needs. For example, a large family fridge is unnecessary for a small office or single-person household and will need more energy to run.
  • Efficiency – The Energy Rating label program helps you to compare the energy efficiency of the various options available by providing a typical energy consumption figure and an overall star rating for dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, clothes dryers and airconditioners. The more stars a product is given, the more energy efficient it is. Similarly, the Gas Energy Rating label program rates the efficiency of gas heaters, hot water systems and cooking appliances.
  • Features – Look for green features, such as 'eco' cycle options on washing machines. Remember that some features, such as automatic ice dispensers built into fridge doors, may increase an appliance's energy consumption.
  • Budget – Consider both the purchasing price and the ongoing running costs. A cheap appliance that's inefficient may cost far more over its life than a seemingly more expensive, more efficient one. Running costs can be estimated online at http://search.energyrating.gov.au.

Each tonne of greenhouse gas avoided through reduced energy use could save between $130 and $470 per year, depending on the type of energy used and the tariff paid.

Source: Australian Greenhouse Office

Also look for

  • Extended warranty programs – you may have to pay a little more for these, but they will help to ensure your appliance has a long efficient life.
  • Favour brands that have a good reputation for reliability, long product life and corporate environmental responsibility.
  • If the appliance you're buying uses water, also look for a water efficient model, using the Water Rating label.

Useful links & resources