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, more than 86 million products have been sold under its energy efficiency programme, resulting in $1.45 billion of national benefit. Energy-efficient appliances provide significant savings over their whole lifetime compared to poorer-performing appliances. EECA calculates that the 5.4 million efficient products sold in the year to March 2020 will eventually result in $384 million of national benefit. EECA works with the Australian Government to develop minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) which remove the worst performing appliances from the market.

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

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

Consumer New Zealand, which operates the Powerswitch website, says that there is potential for many more people to switch providers and save money. It says that (as of late 2022) the median amount people could save using Powerswitch is $385 a year.


Updated: 03 October 2022