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Teens are the biggest household energy wasters, new data reveals

5 min read
30 Jan 2019

An overwhelming majority of Aussies agree that kids are the biggest energy wasters in the home, with screens primarily to blame, according to new research.

Leading energy comparison service[1] commissioned a survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1,087 Australian adults to gauge energy habits at home across the generations.

Three quarters of respondents believe that kids are the biggest household energy wasters, with 58 per cent admitting teenagers and young adults are the worst offenders. Only a quarter of people think that it is parents who waste the most energy around the house.

When presented with a list of home energy uses and asked where kids and teens waste the most energy, 60 per cent of respondents chose TVs, computers and game consoles. Fifty-nine per cent (59) per cent said not switching off lights, and 39 per cent chose charging devices for unnecessarily long periods, and through air-conditioner and heater usage.

On the other hand, of the respondents who said that parents waste the most energy around the home, 45 per cent said it was through air conditioners and heaters, and 44 per cent thought it was by using the washing machine.

Rod Attrill, money expert at, said: “Whether it is keeping lights or TVs on when they leave the room, blasting the air conditioner, or throwing just one item in the washing machine, kids are notorious energy-wasters. But there are many easy energy-saving tricks parents can teach their kids, to help families save hundreds a year on energy bills and also reduce their carbon footprint.”


Rod provides 8 tips parents should teach their energy-guzzling kids:

  1. Don’t charge your screens all night. We love our gadgets so much that we often drain the battery during the day and end up charging them throughout the night. It only costs around 75 cents a year to fully recharge an iPhone[2] but given that it takes about two hours to fully charge, you should be unplugging chargers at the wall to prevent unnecessary power usage and added costs to your bills.
  2. Switch off at the wall. Little items like a desk lamp, electric clock or mobile phone charger are drawing power even when they are not in use. Other electronics on standby power can account for more than 10 per cent of your electricity use[3]. Get in the habit of turning electronics off at the wall, and your household could save up to $193 a year[4].
  3. Turn off the TV when leaving the room. Many kids have a terrible habit of leaving the TV on when they leave the room. If this sounds familiar then it’s time to get them to break that habit! Also, keep in mind the bigger the screen, the more energy it uses[5]. It’s best to aim for a moderate-sized screen when upgrading the TV, and make sure you ask about its standby energy score.
  4. Wash only on a full load. A half-empty washing machine uses just as much energy as a full machine[6] Have the kids wait to wash their clothes along with the rest of the family’s items. This also applies to items in driers and dishwashers. Try to run the washing machine, dryer or dishwasher only when they are full.
  5. Hang clothes to dry. Using a clothesline instead of a dryer wherever possible can save you around $79 a year[7]. If kids do use the dryer, teach them how to use it efficiently, such as to avoid placing dripping wet clothes in the dryer, and not scheduling it to run for longer than needed.
  6. Get them to understand your bills. Electricity bills vary but they all contain the same vital information. Getting the kids to review your bills can help them to understand the costs you face. It’ll also stand them in good stead for when they have to pay their own bills.
  7. Monitor screen times. Limit kids’ TV time to no more than two hours a day and encourage them to get outside more. Consider removing TVs or computers from their bedrooms and place them in a shared area, making it easier to monitor how much time they spend in front of their screens.
  8. Air conditioners don’t have to be set to freezing. You can cut cooling costs by 10 per cent by setting an air conditioner just one degree warmer[8]. Teach kids to set temperatures on air conditioners to no cooler than 24 degrees during summer and heaters to 22 degrees in winter. Make sure kids also know to close doors and windows in the room when the air conditioner is on and to turn it off when no one is at home.


About is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, travel and personal finance products from a wide range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool enables consumers to find products that best suit their needs and back pocket.


[1] Survey conducted by Pureprofile
[2] Ergon Energy, ‘How much it costs to charge your devices’:
[3] Australian Government – Department of the Environment and Energy, ‘Reduce energy bills’:
[4] Australian Government – Department of the Environment and Energy, ‘Reduce energy bills’:
[5] Ergon Energy, ‘Home entertainment’:
[6] Red Energy, ‘How to Save On Your Laundry Energy Bills’:
[7] Australian Government – Department of the Environment and Energy, ‘Reduce energy bills’:
[8] Ergon Energy – Air Conditioning Calculator:

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avatar of author: Hannah Twiggs

Written by Hannah Twiggs

Hannah (or Twiggs as she's known by most of her colleagues) is a non-stop talker, avid snack eater, dog lover and passionate writer. When she's not chatting to journalists or writing up new story angles, Hannah enjoys a good Netflix binge, going away camping with friends and big brunches - preferably with extra bacon.

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