4602.0.55.001 - Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, Mar 2011 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/10/2011   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Energy Use and Conservation (EUC) Survey conducted throughout Australia in March 2011 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The aim of the Survey was to collect information on how households use and conserve energy. The Survey collected a range of information on factors which can affect how much energy a household consumes including dwelling structure, the type of insulation a dwelling has and the number and types of electrical appliances within the household. Data was also collected on the sources of energy used by households. This survey is a continuation of a series of surveys on this topic conducted since March 1994. The previous EUC Survey was conducted in March 2008.

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about the LFS survey design, scope, coverage and population benchmarks. This information also applies to supplementary surveys. The LFS publication contains definitions of demographic characteristics and information about telephone interviewing.


3 The scope of the EUC Survey was households in urban, rural, remote and very remote areas in all states and territories of Australia. This is the first time the EUC Survey has included households residing in very remote parts of Australia, namely in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The inclusion has minimal impact on Australian level estimates overall. However, it could improve the Northern Territory estimates because previously 20% of Northern Territory households had been excluded.

4 The EUC Survey excludes households in special dwellings (such as hotels, university residences, boarding schools, hospitals and prisons).


5 The coverage of EUC was the same as the survey scope except that households in Indigenous Communities were excluded for operational reasons.


6 The Monthly Population Survey is based on a multi-stage area sample of private dwellings (houses, flats etc.) and a list sample of non-private dwellings (hotels, motels etc.). The sample for a monthly population survey is approximately 33,000 dwellings but only half of these were included in the EUC Survey. After taking into account sample loss, the response rate for the survey was 93%. In total, information was collected from 12,841 fully responding households.

7 Information was collected through either face-to-face or telephone interviews conducted over a two week period during March 2011. Information was collected from any responsible adult in the household aged 18 years and over who was asked to respond on behalf of the household.


8 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:

    • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For further information refer to the Technical Note.
    • Non-sampling error may occur in any collection whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording answers by interviewers, and errors in coding and processing data. Every effort is made to reduce the non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the questionnaire, training of interviewers, extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing and follow up of respondents.


9 The previous EUC Survey was conducted in March 2008. Data from both the 2011 and 2008 EUC Surveys are released under the title Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.001). Prior to 2008, the annual publication Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0) focussed on one of three rotating topics each year: Energy Use and Conservation; Waste Management and Transport Use; and Water Use and Conservation.

10 The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability of estimates over time by minimising changes to its surveys. However, sound survey practice requires ongoing review to maintain the relevance of the data.

11 Care should be taken when comparing some of the 2008 and 2011 data because of changes to questions in 2011. The difference between the estimates for the corresponding data items can be attributed to both real world factors and the change in question methodology, but the extent of the change in methodology cannot be quantified. For 2011, the affected data items are:
  • All sources of energy
  • Sources of energy for hot water systems
  • Sources of energy for ovens and cook-tops
  • Types of heaters and coolers
  • Sources of energy for heaters and coolers
  • Frequency of use of heaters and coolers
  • Types of washing machines
  • Frequency of use of clothes dryers
  • Electrical appliances on stand-by.

12 The survey was expanded to include the following data items:
  • Type of secondary heater
  • Reason for purchasing portable heaters and portable air conditioners
  • Televisions using light emitting diode (LED) technology
  • Main type of television
  • High definition/standard definition digital set-top boxes (HD/SD boxes)
  • Surround sound systems (not as part of a home theatre).

13 The following data items which were collected in 2008 were not collected in 2011:
    • Use and type of light globes
    • Window treatments
    • Separate indicators of on-peak and off-peak electricity
    • Oil as a separate source of energy
    • Ceiling fans
    • Microwaves
    • Video recorders in households.

14 The measurement of 'sources of energy used' was changed from the 2008 Energy Use and Conservation Survey due to a perceived under-reporting of energy used outside the dwelling but still on the property. In 2011, sources of energy used 'inside' the dwelling was collected separately from sources of energy used 'in the garden or backyard'. In 2008, only sources of energy used 'in' the dwelling were collected. For purposes of comparability, only 2011 data for sources of energy used 'inside' is presented in tables 6 and 7 of the initial Data Cube.

15 The measurement of sources of energy used for hot water systems was changed from the 2008 Energy Use and Conservation Survey. In 2011, the questionnaire allowed for additional sources of energy to be reported for solar hot water systems. However, in 2008, only 'solar' as a source of energy could be reported.

16 The methodology for collecting type of insulation in households was changed in 2011 so that only households who were responsible for the installation were asked to report the type of insulation. In 2008, households were asked about insulation irrespective of whether they were actually responsible for the installation.

17 The methodology for collecting information on the types of heaters and coolers used in households was changed in 2011. In 2008, mutually exclusive response categories were not available. For example, in 2008, 'reverse cycle' heating could potentially be collected as 'ducted electric' heating while 'split system' cooling could potentially be collected as 'set in a window or wall'. In 2011, mutually exclusive categories were created to code the types of heaters and coolers used.


18 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated and without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


19 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in March 2014.


20 Users may also wish to refer to the following ABS publications:

21 Further key references on energy use and conservation can be found through the following web sites: 22 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are available on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.


23 All tables in this product release are available in a Data Cube (spreadsheet format). Additional tables and associated RSE tables are expected to be appended to this product in November 2011. For a list of tables in each release, please refer the contents pages.


24 In addition to the statistics provided in the publication and the Data Cube, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, additional tabulations may be produced from the survey. All inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.