Where is your electricity going?

The average Australian house uses 16 kWh of electricity per day.

What is a kWh? It is a kilowatt hour; a unit of energy. It is the amount of electrical energy used by an electrical device that draws 1kW of power, if it is left on for an hour.

An example of a device that draws around 1kW is a small pool pump. So a typical pool pump will use about 1kWh of electricity for every hour it is running.

Another way to visualise how much energy a kWh is:

  • 1200 electric shaves (> 3 years)
  • Drying your hair 15 times
  • 4 TV evenings
  • Listening to 15 CD’s
  • Using a (small) refrigerator for 24 hours
  • 20 microwave meals
  • Drilling 250 holes
  • 4 evenings of light with 60 W incandescent lamps
  • 20 evenings of light with 11 W compact fluorescent light

If you can dig up a recent electricity bill, have a look at it. It will tell you how many kWh you averaged per day over the last 3 months.

There are a lot of homes in Australia that get by on 5-6kWh per day. And these aren’t all super efficient green homes. Many have just followed a methodical process to see what their top energy users are, and then made a small investment to fix up the worst performers.

The way to get started is to focus on the big energy users in your home first – so you can make the biggest reduction with minimum investment.

Here’s a breakdown of energy use in a typical Australian household:


energy usage - typical home


If you look at this chart, you can see that 87% of your energy bill is used by just 5 segments:

  • Heating and Cooling
  • Water Heating
  • Other Appliances
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Lightiing

So these are the areas we are going to concentrate on.

By the way, see how standby power only accounts for 3% of your bill? So why does almost all the advice you get from the government start and end with “Switch everything off at the wall”. You can run around all day like a headless chook – but it will only take 3% off a typical bill. Total waste of your focus!

I’ll start with the easiest one. Lighting only makes up 7% of an average home’s bill –  but it is so easy and cheap to use modern LED technology to get your lighting bills down to almost nothing, that I suggest tackling your lights first.

If you have halogen downlights in your home then this first step is absolutely essential!

So let’s get started.

Next: Everything you need to know to reduce your lighting bills by 80% >> 

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