Energy efficiency. The star of the show
Energy efficiency is an important consideration when buying any item that uses electricity, especially air conditioning.
The hard part has been done, and you now know what size air conditioner you need for the space you want to cool or heat. Now you’ll need to compare different models to for energy efficiency. Here’s where you’ll encounter the ‘Star System’.
On the face of it, the more stars you have, the more energy efficiency, the lower the running costs and the less amount of greenhouse gasses it will produce.
But beware as the ‘devil is in the detail’.
Take a good look at the specifications for each unit you are comparing and make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Are they of similar capacity and do the specifications match? If they don’t, what looks like a favourable rating can turn out to be anything but.
Give some thought too to how you use your air conditioning. It pays to look at the ratings for both heating and cooling. If you often heat your home with your air conditioning, a unit that has a 5-star rating on cooling but a 1-star rating on heating will end up costing you a packet. Beware, they often differ.
The magic number is 38
On average, the cooling and heating of an average home accounts for 38% of the household energy and places a high demand on the energy grid at peak times as well. So, to avoid this excess demand, new air conditioners sold in Queensland are required to be fitted with a Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED).
The inclusion of this technology allows your electricity provider to remotely control your air conditioner during periods of peak demand, such as those encountered in high summer. This doesn’t mean that your air conditioner will be turned off! What happens is there is an incremental reduction across the board that reduces any strain on the grid – you’ll barely notice it other than on your power bill.
Not only are there immediate benefits to using energy-efficient technology as an individual, but there are huge benefits collectively. Energy efficiency leads to a diminished need for new infrastructure, leading to fewer costs for the consumer.
So far, only a few electricity companies provide this service, but those that do, including Energex and Ergon, will pay incentives to customers who buy a DRED enabled air conditioner. To see if you have access, check with your electricity supplier. It may save you money in the long run.