Household Savings: Fact and Fiction


We are often bombarded with information on how you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. But what is fact and what is fiction? We have analysed the 8 most frequently suggested recommendations to present to you what behavioural changes have a tangible effect on New Zealand’s future.

  1. Approximately Filling a Kettle.

It is assumed that each New Zealand household boils 3 L of water per day with a 1.5 L consumption; this 50% wastage consumes an excess 1600 J of energy.

  1. Turning Lights Off

Unused lighting has long been a target of energy savers everywhere; we represented this with the energy savings from 10 lights switched off for 2 hours less every day.

  1. Converting to LED lights

Well how about if you changed the lights completely; LED lights half the power intake while retaining the same light output, with reduced costs they are becoming a standard input for new builds.

  1. Standby Mode

Our office is hot on the debate of stand-by mode; is it worth it to turn our electronics off at the wall every time? For this analysis we are looking specifically at a TV, which has a reported stand-by mode of 5 W.

  1. Washing Dishes by Hand

Assuming a 3-star energy rated dishwasher is used once every day this will use more energy than a sink full of hot water for hand washing.

  1. Shorter Shower’s

Halving your 10 min shower to 5 min probably won’t make a difference to how clean you get and can have a pretty significant impact.

  1. Not using a dryer

Assuming you used out the clothes racks to replace your 3-star energy rated dryer that you operated 3 times a week, what would the savings be?

  1. Biking to work one day a week

Transport New Zealand is pushing people onto their bikes. Alongside the great psychological and physiological benefits there are also some decent dollar and carbon savings. We assumed you biked a 20km round trip to and from work once a week for our analysis.

These 8 energy saving recommendations are summarised below. There is significant difference in savings between the suggestions.  Converting household lights to LED bulbs is one action with a long lasting impact, compared to other actions which require a continuous change in day to day lifestyle.

Assuming New Zealand’s 1,800,000 households are not currently participating in any of these small behaviours, then as a nation we can reduce annual carbon output by approximately 1,780,000 T. For perspective; that is 2.2% of New Zealand’s total carbon output and the equivalent of 180,000 Ha of 10 year old pine trees, enough to cover Molesworth Station. An old Chinese Proverb follows; “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be only afraid of standing still”. So is it possible to bike to work and use your household appliances wisely? 

Have we missed something? If you have more information or a great idea; let us know.

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