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Advice for your home

All-Electric Home

All Electric Home

In Australia, powering our homes makes up the largest portion of our domestic emissions – 42%.

Not to mention it costs us heaps of money!

This is including our cars, water heaters, air conditioners, cooktops, lights, fridges, dishwashers, dryers, etc. If you electrify everything in your home you will see a drastic reduction in both your energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

However, without a solar system on your roof, you will still be pulling energy from the grid, which is predominantly powered with gas and coal.

Of course, as a nation we must strive towards the decarbonisation of the grid entirely, but that is a huge goal, and it will use up the one resource we have very little of – time.

Conventional Energy Emissions = ~11,000kg CO2-e Emissions Per Year
Estimated Savings (2030) = ~$0 Per Year for Conventional Homes
Data from: Castles & Cars Technical Study

 

An electrified home is relatively easy to achieve and can be heavily subsidised by both state and federal governments, and in some cases local government, such as the Better Energy Banyule program. With just a few household decisions, everyday Australians can drastically reduce their individual carbon footprint while saving heaps of money in the long run. Most of our appliances are already electric, the main ones that need replacing to achieve an all-electric home are your:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Water heater
  • Cooktop
  • Vehicles

(Image credit: Rewiring Australia: https://www.rewiringaustralia.org/what-is-an-electrified-household)

Electrified Energy Emissions = 0 CO2-e Emissions Per Year
Estimated Savings (2030) = ~$5,433 Per Year for Conventional Homes
Data from: Castles & Cars Technical Study

 

Once you are fully electric you can reap the rewards of Australia’s most famous and abundant resource – the sun! Installing solar on your roof lets you generate cheap, clean, and renewable energy to power all your electric home appliances.

You can read more about going solar here.

If you are unable to get solar, modern innovations, such as community batteries, would allow you to benefit from excess locally generated renewables.

But wait – there’s more!

Not only do these modern electric appliances use no fossil fuels (unless pulling electricity from the grid), but they are also much more efficient, which reduces your overall energy usage throughout the year. This will further reduce your costs and emissions.

This recent Environment Victoria report provides plenty of compelling evidence – including estimates that an efficient all-electric home can knock two full years off a home loan if energy bill savings are put onto a mortgage.

Energy Literacy

One of the first steps is understanding and keeping on top of your energy use – energy literacy is a broad topic with many elements.

For some, it’s about knowing where their energy comes from. For others, it’s exploring Australia’s fast-changing energy industry.

But for most people, it’s simply about understanding their power bill – what they’ve paid for and whether they’ve paid too much.

It can be confusing – but tracking your own energy use is a powerful first step in taking back control of your energy costs.

And it’s easy to do than you might think.

  1. Check here if you don’t know which electricity distributor you use.
  2. Jump onto your distributor’s website and follow the prompts to track your household use – either at CitiPower, United or Jemena.

Once you better understand where your energy is coming from, you can assess whether you’re paying too much and make informed decisions about electrifying your home.

Efficient Hot Water

Heating the hot water for your home can make up over 20% of your entire household energy usage. Installing an efficient electric hot water heat pump will drastically reduce your bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

What is a hot water heat pump?

Heat pumps are currently the best option for hot water because they are unbelievably efficient – Up to 500%. A heat pump could reduce your costs of hot water by 50-80% compared to other systems!

The running costs of a hot water heat pump are very low, and can save you up to $500 per year, depending on your current hot water appliance and your water consumption.

A hot water heat pump also stores hot water in its tank for up to 48 hours. This essentially makes them “thermal batteries” by storing cheaper, cleaner energy for later use.

By replacing your current hot water system with a hot water heat pump, your personal carbon footprint reduction is equivalent to:

 

Read our hot water heat pump FAQs here.

Efficient Heating

Replacing your current heating system with reverse-cycle split system air conditioners is by far the most cost effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly option.

Compared to other types of heating and/or cooling (excluding fans and heated blankets), they use the lowest amount of electricity to run.

The heat pump technology that is found inside reverse-cycle air conditioners is incredibly efficient, up to 600%! This means that they use a small amount of energy to produce a large amount of heat.

This efficiency is represented by a coefficient of performance (COP) – a ratio of the amount of heat moved to the electrical input into the unit.

What about replacing old air conditioner units?

Old air conditioner units that can only cool your house are not as efficient. Running the unit will be noisier, more expensive, and less environmentally friendly than running a split system, typically costing you 20 to 45 cents per hour.

How do I know which size is good for me?

To find the perfect unit for your house, you must consider:

  • The size of the room you’d like to heat – Typically you should aim for around 1kW per 10 square meters.
  • How insulated your house is. If your house hasn’t been insulated since 2010, or if you’ve got a lot of single glazed windows, then sizing the unit up would be better for you. You can also consider insulating your ceiling to avoid running the unit as often.

Read more of our reverse cycle FAQs here.

Induction Cooking

The cooktop is often the last appliance to get electrified. One of the main reasons for this is the bad reputation induction cooktops have compared to gas cooktops.

Let us reassure you – you don’t have to give up your best stir-fry recipe by changing to an induction cooktop. On average induction cooktops boil water in under 2 minutes, while other appliances would need more than 5 minutes to bring water to a boil. This is because they waste less energy as they only heat the pot or pan that is on top of it.

They are also easier to clean and safer to use, especially if you have kids at home that like to put their hands everywhere. It will also benefit your health since they do not release harmful gasses in the room.

Read our induction cooktop FAQs here.

Electrifying Our Vehicles

Electric vehicles are approximately three and a half times more efficient than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

A standard gasoline engine loses around 80% of its fuels energy in the form of heat and a small amount of noise (meaning it has an efficiency of ~20%, and that’s being generous). This is incredibly inefficient, and essentially means that for every dollar you spend on filling up your car with petrol or diesel, 80 cents is wasted. And with the current cost of petrol, who can really afford that?

In contrast, the motor in an electric vehicle is 95% efficient.

Many people seem to believe that the infrastructure for EVs is not ready, but it is now incredibly easy to have a charger installed in your home and as more EVs flood our highways and the demand for charging stations continues to rise, they will start popping up everywhere and at every petrol station. Every vehicle on the road will soon be electric, it is just a matter of time.

An electric vehicle being plugged in to charge

If that wasn’t enough justification for you to consider electrifying your vehicle, there is also the opportunity to use an EV as a home battery. What is an electric car if not a giant battery on wheels? With vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging technology now becoming more popular, users will be able to supply power back to the grid, or power a home by storing energy in the EVs battery and releasing it when needed.

So now what?

Hopefully you now have a better understanding on the concept of an all-electric home and the steps you can take to achieve it.

When we look at the comparison of energy usage between a fossil fuel reliant home and an electrified one, the benefits become irrefutable. You can achieve the exact same lifestyle and halve your total energy usage!

 

Let us make this even clearer:

  1. For hot water and space heating, electric heat pump technology needs a quarter of the energy of heating the same thing with fossil-fuels.
  2. Induction heating needs half the amount of energy than using fossil fuels.
  3. An electric vehicle uses one third as much energy as a gasoline powered one. 

Lower energy usage. Lower bills. Lower emissions. A huge win for you and the environment.

 

Also if you use this efficient heating… more efficiently (i.e sealing off draughts and better insulating our walls, ceilings, and windows) you will see costs drop even further.

 

“Half the energy for the same comfort, and the majority of emissions gone overnight, all at lower weekly costs. Of course there are numerous other benefits, like safer indoor air quality, not needing to visit a petrol station each week, a battery to get us through blackouts and more.”

 

    – Dr. Saul Griffith, Rewiring Australia

Further Reading