The ACT has some of the lowest electricity and gas prices in Australia, but our cold winters mean we use a lot of energy for heating. There is more we can all do to reduce the amount of energy we use in our homes and businesses without compromising on our comfort and convenience.
By improving our energy efficiency we can reduce and get more out of the amount of energy we use. Improving energy efficiency helps us in other ways. It keeps energy price hikes as low as possible, and it delays the need to invest in new infrastructure to meet the energy needs of the Territory's growing population.
The ACT Government is also working to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, buildings and appliances through many programs and policies. Here are some examples of the available Actsmart programs:
- Home Energy Advice Service
- Home Energy Efficiency Program for low income households
- Business Energy and Water Programs
The ACT Government has been driving improvements to energy efficiency through its Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme since January 2013. The scheme sets a Territory-wide energy savings target and obliges ACT electricity retailers to contribute to that target in proportion to their electricity sales. Retailers incur penalties if they do not meet their targets.
The scheme gives electricity retailers options on how to meet their retailer energy savings obligation. One of these is to undertake eligible energy saving activities approved by the Minister for the Climate Change and Sustainability. These activities must be carried out in accordance with codes of practice approved by the scheme’s administrator.
Due to its success, the government has extended the scheme until the end of 2020. This scheme is being expanded to include even more cost-effective energy savings in ACT households and businesses.
Households can participate in ActewAGL’s:
Businesses can participate in ActewAGL's Big Business Light Switch.
Home energy ratings
Home energy ratings tell us about the thermal performance of a building, or how well it can maintain a comfortable temperature. Understanding our home's thermal performance can help us live cheaply and comfortably. We also need to think about how we use both the building and the appliances inside.
In the ACT all new buildings must meet the government's energy efficiency standards. These standards also apply when we substantially alter dwellings. The standards apply to the whole building, not just the part being altered. Find out more in the fact sheet on energy rating of residential buildings in the ACT, and through the EnergyFit homes Initiative.
New apartment buildings must meet the equivalent of five stars with an average of six stars across all apartments in the building.
All homes being sold in the ACT must have an energy rating. If a rating has been done it must be disclosed when advertising a home for rent. The ACT Government is also considering options for providing more directly relevant energy efficiency information to all potential ACT tenants. See the updates posted each six months on the AP2 Implementation website.
As one of the first jurisdictions to successfully implement the National Energy Customer Framework reforms, all household electricity bills must tell you how much electricity households in the ACT use on average depending on the number of occupants. This means households are able to compare their own current usage against the average usage of others in the ACT.
The energy we consume in running our appliances and equipment is expensive and a big source of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy labels and appliance standards help us to track and reduce these costs and emissions.
Energy Rating Labels are the red and white star stickers showing the energy performance of appliances and equipment. We can use the label to work out how much a particular model will cost to run each year, and to compare different models before buying. The more stars shown on the label, the more efficient the appliance.
The Energy Rating Label Guide explains how we can use the label to estimate how much it will cost to run a particular appliance each year. The Energy Rating App also gives estimates of the costs to run different appliances. It is easy to install and use while shopping, or to check the efficiency of appliances already used in your home.
The efficiency of space heaters and air conditioners also depends on the climate zone where they are installed. For instance not all reverse cycle air conditioners/heaters work well in Canberra, because some are inefficient when the temperature drops below zero. New Zoned Energy Rating Labels are being developed, and are expected to be shown on all new appliances by late 2017.
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