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Switching Off

Your household appliances account for around 29% of the energy consumed in your home.

Yes, we need them (or in some cases – like that big flat screen TV in the corner – want them!) too much to do without them.

In terms of your electricity bill however, that’s one slice of the pie that is reasonably easily reduced.

When does off really mean on?

Have you ever looked at an electricity bill right after coming back from holiday and wondered how an empty house can use so much power? New Zealand homes spend around $130M per year on home electronics and appliances on standby. Just because you have turned off an appliance, this is no guarantee that it is truly off. The only way to really be sure that “off means off” is to flip the switch at the wall, or even unplug an appliance when you are finished using it.


Switching off can save you more than money. A home in Christchurch was gutted by fire after a television left on standby sparked a fire. The New Zealand Fire Service says this is more common than we might think, with 30 to 40 fires per year caused by various electrical malfunctions in televisions alone.


Although roughly two-thirds of electricity generated in New Zealand is from renewable sources, the third that comes from non-renewable sources makes up 10% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Eliminating standby electricity from this equation would make a measurable impact.

As our existing sources of power generation are stretched, the more we can moderate our usage of electricity per person, the less need there will be to build new energy-generation plants. After all, when new plants are built, this ultimately hits us in the pocket as well.

One switch for all

To help you remember to switch off, if you’re building, talk to your electrician about the possibility of linking all electrical devices in your home (excepting fridges, freezers, hot water storage and alarms) to a single “kill switch” by the front door that you can easily turn off before you leave the house.

Retire it

Fridges and freezers are the largest consumers of electricity in the appliance group, partly because they are always on. Old fridges are particularly power-hungry, using 2-3 times as much energy as a new one. Those more than 15 years old may not be working properly any more, resulting in food which spoils earlier than it should.

A huge number of households in New Zealand also have second or “beer fridges”, which can add up to $300 extra per year to your power bill. It will always be more efficient to use a single fridge, large enough to accommodate everything your family needs, than two fridges or freezers.

If it’s time to upgrade your fridge or put the second one out to pasture, do it in an environmentally responsible way. Fisher & Paykel and Energywise™ have teamed up to provide free pick-up and recycling for all fridges or freezers, regardless of brand or age, for all residences and businesses in the greater Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch areas.

Trading up

As your old appliances wear out, it makes sense to replace them with more efficient ones.

Energy rating labels are required in New Zealand for all new whiteware and heat pumps. These labels provide information on how much electricity each appliance uses in a year, along with a star rating, from 1 to six stars, to show how efficient it is. You can use these labels to compare the efficiency of different types of the same appliance.

In addition to the energy rating label, some appliances will have the blue ENERGY STAR™ sticker. ENERGY STAR™ is the global mark of energy efficiency. It is typically awarded to the top 25 percent most energy-efficient appliances in each category.Buying an ENERGY STAR™ qualified product saves you money by using less electricity, while helping the environment as well.

Innovations in the kitchen

When it comes to kitchen appliances it is important to consider product features that will ensure energy efficiency and save you money. For many years now, Fisher & Paykel have demonstrated a care for the environment, ensuring their appliances are continuously improved to use less energy and water, saving their customers money as well. Here are some of their latest innovations.

Developed in New Zealand, the Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmartTM system in their refrigeration products – including the CoolDrawer™, which has a 6-star energy rating on its refrigeration mode – utilises a technology that adapts to your daily usage, saving you energy.

Fisher & Paykel’s range of Pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens not only clean themselves, but have additional insulation and quadruple glazed doors to keep more heat in the oven. Electronic controls also help to reduce energy wastage, as they prevent temperature fluctuations during cooking, which can vary by as much as 10°C.

In dishwashing, the DishDrawer® combines energy and water savings. By combining two dishwashers into one, you can run genuine half loads, using only the required energy and water for each wash.

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