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Energy Consumption in Australia


Discuss about the Energy Efficiency and Its Impacts to the Environment.

People use energy every day for either cooking, transportation, heating and cooling, manufacturers, entertainment and many others. Almost every household in Australia uses energy, energy consumption vary from house hold to household. Energy is not only consumed in the household but also in the industries, organizations, government institutions, schools and many other places. It is through energy we are able to cook, use refrigerator, heaters, coolers, lighting among other things. Energy use has really helped in for example in the households, in operating different machineries like the vacuum cleaners, iron box, laundry among others. It is because of the energy system that the machinery operates hence saving time. It is notably that different institutions uses different amount of energy in their daily operations. The big institutions like companies or industries use the most amount of energy compared to household energy consumption. The more energy consumed the more capital is paid and vice versa. There are several ways in which energy consumption can be reduced and also alternative remedies have been put in place for the purpose of reducing energy consumption (Tiwari, Mishra & Royal Society of Chemistry, 2012). Reduced energy consumption reduces the amount of carbon dioxide gas emitted in the atmosphere hence reducing environmental pollution.

For the purpose of writing a better analysis of energy efficiency, I am going to use observation method for data collection in my home to carry out a survey on the level of energy consumption. I am using my home as the point of data collection because of the high consumption of energy and this after the data collection I will be able to identify which appliances leads to high energy  consumption and find a remedy or a solution to reduce the level of energy consumption in my home.

There are various uses of energy in or daily life at home, some of the common uses of energy include watching television, which is the most common thing especially when we are home or the children are home, the television is always on. Laundry or washing clothes is also one of the daily activities that involve energy use on a daily basis, another daily energy use is lighting and heating, at any point the lights must be on and the room must be kept at good temperatures.  Others also include cooking, fridge and freezer, taking a shower, and flushing the toilet. These are appliances in the home that consume energy on a daily basis; they are the highest contributors of high energy consumptions in our homes and represents a basic need that we cannot do without at any point at home.

Daily Uses of Energy in Homes

After the survey and data collection it is identified that the most energy consuming appliances at home are room coolers and heaters and also water heaters. These two appliances uses 47% and 14% energy use respectively. According to the data collected however much there are other home appliances that come close like the washer and drier and lighting, the two still takes the lead in most energy consumption (Taylor, 2017). There are ways in which these two home appliances can efficiently be used to reduce or cut the cost of energy they consume, there are also alternative ways that can be used to replace these two home appliances for the purpose of reducing the consumption of energy and cost (Marti?n, 2016).

Room coolers and heaters are rated the most energy consumer yet they are very important throughout all the four seasons. They help in heating the room during the cold seasons and cooling the room during the hot seasons therefore it is a necessity. However there are identified ways through which the heating and cooling system can be used efficiently for the purpose of saving energy by;

Maintaining the equipment, this is important because clean filters prevent dust from building up in the system hence reducing high cost of maintenance and early system failure and tuning up your HVAC equipment to make sure that the system is in good condition.

Using programmable thermostat; this is important in efficiency use especially if one is away for example for a week or two, or when you are at work or school by using a programmed thermostat you are able to program it depending on your schedule and this in return helps in cutting energy use hence reduced bills.

Sealing the heating and cooling ducts; it is important that you make sure that the ducts are sealed in a manner which does not allow leaks, the ducts should not have holes and should be will connected since most energy is lost either through the holes, and poor connection which allows for leaks.

Sealing and insulating with Energy Star; this involves the exterior of the homes, like the outer walls, windows, ceiling and floors. By sealing and insulating the home envelope correctly one is able to save up to more than 10% of energy consumption. However apart from efficiency use there are other alternatives of heating and cooling system at homes, this alternatives cut the energy consumption up to 50% and they are defined as the best alternative for homes. They include; furnaces and boilers, stoves and fire places, heat pumps, air conditioning, water heating, and thermostat among others. These alternatives act as cutting cost to heating and cooling system (Great Britain, 2008).   

Identifying Most Energy-Consuming Home Appliances

Water heaters efficient use; after data collection and analysis water heater is the second most energy consuming appliance in the home by using energy of up to 14% of the total energy use. There are various ways or measures identified through which water heating system can be used efficiently to reduce the amount of energy consumed and some of the two easiest way is to use less hot water and to reduce heat loss in the heating and hot water distribution system. By reducing hot water use you are already controlling the consecutive times the water heater is operating for example reducing hot water use when washing dishes. Another efficient way of using water heater is by reducing waste in heating and distribution of hot water for example you can insulate water heater, insulate the hot water pipe and install heat traps. Lastly efficiency can be attained by using the modern water heater which has inbuilt-in heat traps; with the new system you can easily turn down the temperatures setting of the water heater to increase efficiency (Vezmar et al., 2014).

On the other hand apart from using the efficiency means or reducing energy consumption in the water heating system, installation of solar water heating system is the best remedy because it absolutely depends on the sun for heat and it cuts cost of energy consumption and the amount of energy consumption in day to day use. These are alternative solutions to increase in use but decrease in energy consumption and cost on a daily basis (Oberle, 2016).

According to Denmead et al., (2008), sources of energy such as gas, coal, electricity and solar system have different cost and their effects or impacts to the environment. Each energy source has its positive and negative affects to the environment depending on the amount of production and consumption ad their rate or rather percentage of carbon emission per kg or kWh to the atmosphere is completely different, there are some which are high compared to the other. High level of carbon emission to the environment contributes to global warming hence it affects the environment. All the above mentioned sources of energy help in the home appliance and can be used in heating and cooling system and also water heating system. In Australia, Queensland is leading in carbon emission to the environment with a percentage of 146.7 million tonnes in 2014 down 4.6 percent in 2013 (Energy Consumption, 2010).

Efficient Use and Alternatives for Room Coolers and Heaters

Solar energy is one of the energies used as alternative source of energy compared to others. The impacts of solar energy to the environment are minimal compared to other sources of energy such as fossils fuel. Solar energy depends on the sun for energy generation and its cost is low. The high increase in solar energy system is bringing in a high competition in the energy sources as the cost of gas is rising (Zhang & Anadon, 2013). The cost and benefit of solar energy range is low as compared to other energy sources. However, there are minimal environmental impacts related to solar energy apart from large land surface area, like it affects farming. Solar energy can be used in reducing energy consumption level of heating and cooling system as well as water heating systems. Because it is cost effective and it does not have big impact to the environment (Jack, 2013).

Coal energy on the other hand has an adverse effect to the environment. It is one of the contributors of global warming because of the amount of carbon emission to the environment. Burning coal leads to acid rain, smog and toxic air pollution, due to the emission of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and mercury which affects the environment. Coal mining contributes to large land use, waste management, and air and water pollution. Coal energy is among the most used energy source in Australia and it it’s the highest contributor of carbon emission in Queensland Australia. The cost production of coal is relatively high compared to that of solar energy and that of electricity therefore it cannot be used to help in cutting energy consumption in home appliances that use the most energy in the homes (Thompson, 2016).

Natural gas energy however has a minimal effect to the emission of carbon to the environment. It is one of the energy sources that least pollutes the environment. Burning natural gas for energy produces less emission as compared to burning coal for energy. Natural gas is being introduced as an alternative energy sources because of it least effect to the environment. However the natural gas can be explosive to the environment in case of leaks and this can lead to gas leaking to the environment (Mckerracher & Torriti, 2013). It is therefore, important to make sure that measures are put in place to avoid the risk of gas leaking to the environment. This gas however can be cost effective and can help in reducing the energy consumption used in home appliance such as heating and cooling system and water heating system which mostly consumes high energy level at home (Wallis et al., 2014).

Efficient Use and Alternatives for Water Heaters

Electricity production process creates varying impact on the environment, because different power company’s uses different method or rather processes to create electricity. For example creating electricity using coal is hazardous to the environment. Green houses on the other hand are the most mechanisms for generation of electricity; they release carbon dioxide and other green houses to the environment. This in return has a huge contribution of global warming to the environment. The emission factor of gas, coal, electricity and solar in Queensland relates to the amount of gases emitted in the atmosphere per unit of fuel consumed which is 7.6 kg CO2-e/GL.

The Australian government however has various that advocates and promotes energy efficiency both in commercial use and in home appliances. The Clean Energy Council is an organization based in Australia and its promoting clean energy industry. This organization is a non-profit organization which is dedicated in ensuring a clean and conducive environment for all. They are committed to introducing alternative sources of energy from the industry to home appliances. The organization works with many leading businesses dealing with solar, wind, energy efficiency, hydro, bioenergy among others and  delivers a broad range of services to its members, installers, and retailers and the bigger clean energy industry. Through this company it is possible to acquire and install an alternative source of energy at home for use with home appliances like heaters and coolers and water heaters for the purpose of reducing energy consumption and the cost (Klugmann-Radziemska, 2014).

Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society has also made impact in both Australia and New Zealand for promoting use of alternative sources of energy like solar energy in order to reduce energy consumptions in commercial use and household appliances and to ultimately reduce carbon emission to the atmosphere (Berge, Li, Flora & Ro, 2015). This society believes that change start with an individual.  The society further states that the renewable energy like wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal are stable and can never get finished unlike fossil fuels like gas which are limited and at the same time expensive. Through the use of these alternative solutions in big companies and even for home appliances will help reduce the amount of energy consumed, hence reducing  the cost of energy for a long period of time (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2007).

There are various regulatory measures put in place in Queensland that if followed keenly can help in reducing the amount of energy consumed and the environmental impacts of energy production and delivery.

Environmental Impacts of Energy Sources: Coal, Solar and Natural Gas

Peak demand management- peak demand is the time when maximum use of electricity is experienced and this is between 4pm to 8pm when majority of people return to their homes. During this time a lot of energy is consumed and that is why the Queensland multi-billion electricity network has been built to reduce energy for the high peak loads. Demand management involves the energy use by consumers at peak times and how they can reduce it. One way is by switching off home appliances that are not in use at particular time and only switching them on when they need to use them. It may not necessarily reduce the total energy but reduces the peak hence minimizing need for new infrastructure. This generally will in turn help reduce impacts of energy consumption, production and delivery to the environment (OECD, 2011).

Social – socializing is a way of people getting to learn new things share ideas and also educate others. This can be used as a tool in helping curb energy consumption and it impacts in production and delivery to the environment by for example organizing seminars and campaigns aimed at creating awareness and educating and enlightening people and big commercials on how to reduce their energy consumptions and the effects of high energy consumption and use to the environment.

Financial – the government of Queensland has put in various financial support for alternative energy that are environmental friendly and have low cost in consumption. There are various organizations and groups that are also offering grants and finances to support various companies and researchers in coming up with the best energy sources alternatives. The government also finances institutions and media campaigns that are advocating and creating awareness to the public on how to minimize their energy consumption per household. A good example is the multi-billion electricity network built in Queensland to reduce energy consumption (Harrington, Harrington, Morgenstern & Velez-Lopez, 2012).

Marketing – there are various ways through which awareness and knowledge of the alternative source of energy are being advertised and marketed. Companies that are coming up with alternative sources of energy that helps in reducing energy consumption use different kind of marketing strategies to market their product (Jaber, 2013). They use technology for example television, radio and newspapers which they believe are user friendly to pass down information. It is through marketing that people are able to identify with the best alternative and their cost of installation and the period of sustainability. For example Power Q, is a thirty year strategy put in place to encourage an competitive and broad market that attracts more innovation and investment.

There are various away through which energy can be reduced in our day to day activities and even in the industrial or commercial use. Controlling the use of energy in all appliances is key to reducing energy cost and consumptions. Energy can be reduced in household appliances by doing the basic things like buying machineries that use minimal energy, it is good to avoid using your car even if it is fueled but instead you can cycle, walk, and use public transport among others to reduce the emission of carbon to the environment. Half of the greenhouse gases are generated by electricity. The gas is produced by using most of the home appliance and it is harmful to the environment hence increasing the rate of global warming to the atmosphere (Craddock, 2008). Using green power as an alternative source of energy is important however much it is slightly expensive compared to the standard electricity, it is environmental friendly and it uses less energy (Rennings et al., n.d).   

According to Farber (2012), green power energy is a scheme put in place by the government to help in reducing energy consumption and bringing in new measures that promotes environmental safety. It is the ultimate alternative for other sources of energy; the government has put in place resources and funds to increase green power energy production and use (Palmer, 2014). However, the cost of production and implementation is slightly higher, but the outcome is favorable to the environment. By investing in green power there is going to be reduction in the amount of carbon emission to the atmosphere which results to global warming. By using green power energy the amount of energy consumption and cost is going to be reduced because this energy system is designed to reduce the rate of energy consumption (Guerrero-Lemus et al., 2012).


In conclusion using alternative sources of energy to replace the existing sources of energy that are not environmental friendly is a big step to taking care of our environment. The shift in energy source from those that consume a lot of energy with high energy cost to those that are natural and helps in the consumption of energy is good especially for families and households, because the home appliances used contribute the higher percentage of energy consumption. Green power constitutes of energy sources like the solar system which has been greatly used by many people at home and even in commercial to improve the cost and reduce the level of energy consumed. It is possible to change the environment and our levels of power cost and consumption if we change to the green power energy sources because they benefit both the user and friendly to the environment.


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