Designing homes to conserve energy and use it efficiently, from sources that cause least environmental harm.


Energy and water use can be reduced significantly, without any reduction in building occupants’ quality of life, by specifying efficient appliances.

Appliances such as whiteware, heated towel rails, televisions and DVDs in an average New Zealand house can account for 30–40% of energy use. Therefore, any reduction in energy use associated with appliances can have a significant impact in terms of both national sustainability and cost to the householder.

Energy can be saved by:

  • selecting energy-efficient appliances
  • sizing appliances for the household’s needs
  • locating appliances to minimise energy use (e.g. keeping refrigerators out of direct sunlight)
  • operating appliances efficiently, e.g. turning them off rather than running in standby mode.

Efficient appliances are making an impact

Figures from EECA, the Crown agency that promotes energy efficiency, show that since 2002, 66 million energy-efficient products have been sold in New Zealand. The reduced energy use has brought savings of $848 million and carbon reductions of 1.4 million tonnes.

Heat pumps and domestic fridges have made some of the biggest gains in energy efficiency.

In the 12 months ended March 2017, over 6 million energy efficient appliances were sold. Energy savings are the equivalent of the energy use of 25,000 homes. The lower carbon emissions are equal to taking 37,780 cars off the road each year.

Energy costs can also be reduced by shopping around between energy suppliers. There are several websites that can help with online comparisons, including Powerswitch and Glimp.

Over 445,000 households switched their power provider in the 12 months to the end of August 2019. In mid 2019 there were 39 power companies providing power to retail customers.

Around 165,000 households switch plans within their existing provider each year.


Updated: 13 January 2020