I sent them some feedback expressing my disappointment at WA not being included in the report. Lo and behold, they have now produced a complementary report on the WA gas scene!
Long story short, the results are on par with the previous report – we’re better off sticking with electric and buying energy efficient appliances.
- New homes. It’s not cost effective to connect a new home to mains gas when efficient electric appliances are an option. However, it is cost effective if efficient electric appliances are not an option.
- Existing all-electric homes. It’s not cost effective to connect an existing all-electric home to mains gas when efficient electric appliances are an option; however it is cost effective when efficient electric appliances are not an option. Furthermore, mains gas may be more cost effective when the cost of new appliances is heavily subsidised.
- Existing dual-fuel homes. It is significantly more cost effective to replace gas heaters with multiple reverse cycle air conditioners for space heating than with gas.
The key thing that stands out to me is that you would only get cost savings if using energy-efficient appliances.
If this topic interests you, I’d encourage you to read the full report to understand the assumptions made and how it affects your individual situation. To be honest, I found some of the tables a bit confusing, but the explanatory text is pretty good.
My biggest criticism of the report would be that they used a heat pump as the comparative efficient electric appliance for water heating, however this is not commonly used in WA, we generally prefer boosted solar hot water systems. Also, at least one heat pump I’ve researched indicated that the warranty may be voided if the weather gets to over 45C, which happens in Perth from time to time.
How do I know if my appliance is energy efficient?
The energy rating sticker on the appliance indicates a rating out of 6 for energy efficiency. Super-efficient appliances can get up to 10 stars (some fridges and TVs).
Appliances that have an energy rating label up to 6 stars are considered ‘efficient’ while those above 6 stars are defined as ‘super-efficient’.
If you’re going to buy a bunch of new appliances, the official energy rating website has some tables you can search on. But to be honest, I found it a bit confusing when I tried to look for an electric hot water system, so a site like Choice might be easier to understand (although beware, they’ve recently redesigned their site!).
What about the environment?
The ATA also produced a separate but related report on the impact on carbon emissions by switching from gas to electric. While it focussed again on the eastern states, we can probably extrapolate the findings for Adelaide given the similarity in climate.
The key finding was that CO2 emissions were lowered when all 3 end-uses traditionally fuelled by gas (space heating, water heating, cooking) were switched to efficient electric appliances, especially with regards to space heaters.
State was also important in determining the difference in emissions when switching from gas to efficient electric. Households in South Australia had one of the clearest emissions benefit for switching from gas to efficient electric appliances (44% reduction).
What this means for our build!
Environmental impact is an important consideration for us.
- We will be using a solar powered hot water system.
- We will be installing solar panels.
- We will not be installing air conditioners or heaters (if we can help it!)
- We will be using an induction cooktop and electric oven.
Realistically, the only thing we really need gas for is the bbq.
What this report does for us is affirms our decision to boost our solar hot water system using electricity rather than gas.
Now the challenge is on to find the hot water system! I’m still going to research heat pumps, but I’m not sold on their suitability for our climate.