A great way to save energy through your mobile phone is to conserve your battery and reduce how frequently you need to charge your phone. While mobile phones don’t necessary use much energy, you can make minor savings on energy use and help maintain the longevity of your phone battery.
Backlit LCD displays constitute the primary source of power usage for modern-day smartphones. You can significantly reduce your power consumption by decreasing the brightness of your screen. In fact, the auto-dim function that most modern smartphones have installed during calls can save up to 40% on power usage.3
Further save power by closing applications you aren’t using; having multiple applications running in the background can eat up your battery. Lastly, don’t leave a fully charged phone plugged in overnight, and turn off power outlets that aren’t being used to avoid standby energy consumption.
Standby mode is a function that enables appliances to stay on without using as much electricity as when they’re in use. It enables appliances to “switch on” faster.
The easiest way to reduce computer usage costs is to turn them off when they’re not in use; turning the power off at the wall is even better. One of the most enduring myths about electrical devices is that turning them on and off uses substantially more electricity than leaving them on. This is not true of almost every device in domestic use.
Furthermore, computers have a sleep mode that allows for a faster start-up after a period of inactivity. These standby settings use much less electricity than a computer left turned on.
Device cost tip: If you work from home, choosing an energy-efficient appliance can save money on your electricity bill.
Most modern laptops are made with LCD displays, which takes a fair amount of energy to run compared to older models. You can make your laptop more efficient by dimming the brightness of your screen. Additionally, configure the settings to trigger sleep mode when you’re inactive for a certain amount of time.
There’s a lot of variation between makes and models; for instance, laptops running optical disk drives and physical hard drives (devices that enable you to run CDs and DVDs) use more energy than those based on flash memory with no optical drive. When looking for a new laptop, consider the specifications you need against the energy you want to save.
Lastly, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities will also draw more power as constantly transmitting a signal is an active function. So, try to keep these off unless you’re using them.
Device cost fact: A 15-inch laptop, used for three hours a day, costs $0.34 a week to run.5
Your energy usage will vary significantly depending on the factors listed above, as well as how many hours of the day your TV stays on. If you want to find out the wattage of your TV, check the back for a sticker, which will list the power rating, power consumption and other technical information about your TV.
While it’s convenient to leave our appliances on even if we’re not paying attention to them, we recommend you turn your TV off at the wall when you aren’t using it.
It’s worth remembering that game consoles can draw power when switched off, meaning that leaving your gaming consoles on standby mode could still impact your bill, especially considering they’re usually connected to TVs and other appliances.
Early home computer game consoles, like the Atari and the later Nintendo systems, used relatively little electricity, as they had limited processing power and no moving parts. Modern consoles, however, are much more powerful stand-alone gaming computers and can potentially make a massive dent in a household’s energy usage.
Device cost insight: If combining the console, TV, sound system and internet connection, gaming could be the most power-hungry activity in the home.
Consider turning off your washing machine at the wall; leaving it on will keep it on standby mode, still consuming energy. Wash your clothes with cold water to save on the cost of heating hot water and consider getting a front loader instead of a top loader; front loaders are more energy- and water-efficient. When possible, always wash a full load of laundry (as opposed to having more frequent half-loads) to avoid wasting energy and water.
The most significant tip we can give on saving energy for washing machines is to consider investing in an appliance with a high energy rating.
Device cost fact: A washing machine used five times a week consumes between 114 kWh and 667 kWh a year depending on the energy star rating and your washer settings.6
Dishwashers will use the same amount of water and energy whether you’ve thrown in two plates or filled the racks. To get the most out of each cycle, only use the dishwasher if you can fill it to capacity and consider handwashing if you don’t have many dishes to clean. Dishwashers with both hot- and cold-water connections will use less energy than one with only hot connections.
Sustainably Victoria recommends using at least a 3.5-star rating dishwasher to save on both money and power.9
Device cost fact: You save 30% on your dishwasher energy usage every time you go up a star rating, with three-star and five-star appliances having a price difference of $27.54 a year.6
Your fridge is one of the few appliances in your home that requires a constant supply of energy. While the power consumption is usually steady, you can put your fridge on overdrive by overstocking it. If you fill your fridge or freezer to max capacity, it may have to work harder to maintain the same temperature.
The ideal temperature for your fridge is 3-4 degrees Celsius, and between -15°C and -18°C for your freezer.13 Consider configuring the temperature to these numbers to prevent excess energy usage.
There are several ways to save energy with heating and air conditioning. For one, you could reduce your usage and wear climate appropriate clothing. Other tips include:
You can also reduce your air conditioner’s power consumption by setting the temperature to one that consumes less energy.
Find out more about the best temperature for air conditioning.
1 Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water – Australian Government. Quick wins. Accessed July 2022.
2 Energy Rating (2013 – last updated 2020). Product Profile: Battery Chargers. Accessed July 2022.
3 Aaron Carroll (2017). An analysis of Power Consumption in a Smartphone. Accessed 19 October 2020.
4 Energy Use Calculator. Electricity usage of a Desktop Computer. Accessed July 2022.
5 Kenny Trinh – Netbook News (2020). How Many Watts Does A Laptop Use. Accessed July 2022.
6 Energy Rating (2022). Energy Rating Calculator. Accessed July 2022.
7 Nintendo. Information about energy efficiency and eco-design of Nintendo Switch family consoles. Accessed July 2022.
8 Energy Use Calculator. Electricity usage of a Game Console. Accessed July 2022.
9 Sustainability Victoria (2022). Reduce dishwasher costs at home. Accessed July 2022.
10 Sustainability Victoria (2021). Cooling running costs. Accessed July 2022.
11 Sustainability Victoria (2021). Calculate heating running costs. Accessed July 2022.
12 Energy Rating (2021). Lighting. Accessed July 2022.
13 Your Home – Australian Government. Appliances and technology. Accessed July 2022.