New energy efficiency programs



Green energy

Credit: iStockphoto

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The Government has announced three major household efficiency initiatives that are set to prevent up to 19.5 million tonnes of emissions every year by 2020, and save the Australian economy up to $22 billion over the coming years.

The performance- and efficiency-boosting programs for household appliances and lighting, described last week by Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett, include the start of new performance standards and energy labels for televisions, the extension of the current 6-star energy rating scheme for appliances to a 10-star scheme, and the next steps in the phase-out of inefficient household lighting.

The measures are predicted to deliver energy savings of 32,000 gigawatt hours per year by 2020.

Garrett singled out televisions as a major contributor to household greenhouse gas emissions.

"In Australia, we buy over two million TVs every year, adding to the 18 million already in homes and businesses," he said. "In a single day, a large screen TV can use more energy than a dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer combined."

Despite this, televisions have never been subject to the same energy ratings standards as whitegoods, meaning it is harder for consumers to make informed choices.

Under the new scheme, all televisions sold in Australia will have to meet new minimum energy standards and display an energy rating label.

Consumers will no longer be able to buy inefficient household lights, as traditional incandescent bulbs - known to waste 90 per cent of their energy as heat - are completely removed from retail stocks this month.

Manufacturers will also be encouraged to adhere to even stricter minimum energy performance standards as existing ratings schemes for fridges, freezers and air conditioners are extended from six to 10 stars, to help consumers differentiate between products on the market and identify those with truly superior energy efficiency.

"The race is on for Australia's first 'super efficient' whitegoods," Garrett said, with the introduction of the new scheme.

The next item on the Government's agenda is to create similar efficiency and performance standards for other common household items including desktop and laptop computers, computer monitors and swimming pool pumps.