Individuals can practice energy efficiency at a personal level through simple measures such as replacing light globes or turning off appliances at the power point to more sophisticated actions including replacing appliances, ensuring sufficient insulation and solarising the domestic hot water service.
Greenhouse gas savings
The average household's energy use is responsible for over seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs.
Insulation in buildings is a key component to improved energy efficiency. In residential buildings, insulation is a simple and cost effective way to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Around 4.8 million or 60 percent of homes in Australia have insulation.
Lighting choices can also impact on efficiency, with fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights able to last up to 10 times longer than incandescent lighting. The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that in 2008, 58 per cent of dwellings used energy saving lights in at least one room, while 22 per cent had compact fluorescent lights in every room.
By using improved levels of insulation, proper shading and more efficient glazing Australian buildings could substantially reduce the amount of energy required by heating and cooling. According to the Insulation Council of Australia & New Zealand, retrofitting insulation into currently uninsulated Australian homes could save 2.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas every year.
Currently Australia has a range of national and state energy efficiency policies which involve many different initiatives from the provision of information to consumers, regulation of minimum standards, rebates and grants and the use of state based targets - each with their own rules. Click here for list of initiatives
Although there is currently no national energy efficiency target, a number of states have established their own energy efficiency schemes such as the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET), the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESS) and the South Australian Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) which provide incentives to adopt energy saving measures.