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4602.0 - Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/12/2002   
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MEDIA RELEASE

December 06, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
172/2002

Australian environmental views and practices

Australian homes are adopting energy conservation measures to increase standards of living and reduce energy costs, rather than to produce environmental benefits according to a new survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices showed the widespread penetration of some energy saving measures in Australian households was countered by a significant increase in the number and usage of energy reliant household appliances.

ABS Environment and Energy Statistics Director, Bob Harrison said in most cases cost was the main factor influencing the use of insulation, greenpower and the replacement of white goods.

"This survey focussed on some of the main determinants of energy use in the household, which have direct implications for greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and resource depletion," Mr Harrison said.

Some of the key findings were:
  • There was an increase in the proportion of Australian dwellings surveyed with some form of insulation, from 52% in 1994 to 58% in 2002.
  • Western Australia recorded the most significant increase (13%) in the proportion of dwellings with some form of insulation between 1994 and 2002 (from 52% to 65%) followed by Queensland where an 8% rise was recorded (from 29% to 36%).
  • Two in three hot water systems in Australia were powered by electricity and approximately half of these utilised off-peak electricity. New South Wales recorded the highest proportion of households using off-peak electricity to power hot water systems (46%), followed by Queensland (37%) and South Australia (29%).
  • Victoria had the highest proportion of dwellings using gas, with 73% of Victorian households using it for space heating and 67% for cooking and heating water.
  • Less than 3% of Australian homes surveyed used greenpower, which does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Solar energy is primarily used in Australia for heating water and was utilised by 4% of households, but was used in 53% of Northern Territory households and 16% of Western Australian households.
  • Almost 60% of Australian dwellings surveyed used fluorescent lights and 23% used energy saving lights in at least one room.
  • The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of households using energy saving lights (26%).
  • Of household appliances, air-conditioner and dishwasher numbers experienced the largest increase in Australian homes (16% and 10%, respectively) over the period 1994 to 2002. The number of Australian households with computers also rose substantially from 45% in 1999 to 60% in 2002.
  • At 11% Tasmanians were the best in Australia at taking into account environmental considerations when buying or replacing white good appliances.
  • South Australia had the highest proportion of households with suds saving aided washing machines, despite a decline from almost 60% in 1994 to 46% in 2002. Households in Queensland and the Northern Territory used cold water in their washing machines more than any other state (77% each).

Further details including state and territory data are available in Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0).

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