Advice, News and Reviews

Posts in the power consumption category

It's Easy To Save Energy, When You Know How

The Northwest Home Energy Efficiency Program synthesised some of our most pertinent household energy efficiency advice into a short video and educational flyers.

Here's a quick overview of the content created.

Keep reading It's Easy To Save Energy, When You Know How...

By Ryan McCarthy | | Case Studies, How To Guides, Power Consumption | Read more

How to Settle Disagreements About Energy Consumption

Have you ever had a petty disagreement about energy consumption 

at home or work? In this article we explain how to settle the argument once and for all.

Keep reading How to Settle Disagreements About Energy Consumption...

Convert a Freezer into a High Efficiency Fridge

Convert a freezer into a high efficiency fridge and you'll save about $150 per year in electricity costs. Refrigeration costs contribute to over 10% of most household electricity bills. This simple upgrade allows you to slash this usage down to a negligible amount.

Keep reading Convert a Freezer into a High Efficiency Fridge...

By Ryan McCarthy | | Freezer, Fridge, How To Guides, Power Consumption | Read more

Fridge Power Consumption - Can the Star Rating be trusted?

The power consumption of domestic fridges is typically between 100 and 200 watts.

Over a full day they are likely to use around 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Old domestic refrigerators and commercial refrigerators consume much more.

The actual energy consumption of your fridge or freezer will depend on many factors. These include:

  • Size – larger fridges generally use more electricity.
  • Location – if the fridge is in a warm location (e.g. next to the oven) or if it is in a poorly ventilated area, the compressor will need to work harder.
  • Usage – if the fridge door is opened frequently or held open, the compressor will need to work harder to keep things cool. Also, an empty fridge will work harder than a well-stocked fridge because more 'ccol air' is replaced with 'warm air' each time the door is opened.
  • Temperature set point the factory setting may keep the fridge cooler than is needed in your home. To store food safely, the temperature should be between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius. Check that your fridge and freezer temperatures are not unnecessarily cold with a thermometer like this.
  • Age – older fridges are usually less energy efficient than newer fridges.
  • Condition - check the seals around the door. If these are worn the fridge will be less efficient.

What about the star rating?

Energy efficiency 'star ratings' are a good buying guide, but because of the variable factors described above, the only way to know how much power your fridge is really consuming is to use a plug-in power meter. Some example power meters are shown at the bottom of this article.

Power consumption of our office fridge

To understand how much electricity your fridge is using over time it is best to keep the Power Meter plugged in and running over a 24-hour period. The fridge will not use power constantly and should only be drawing power when the compressor is running, and also when the door light comes on.

Using the Watts Clever Power Meter we found that the small fridge in our office uses between 90 and 100 Watts when the compressor is running.

We found that our fridge used 0.607 kilowatt-hours in a 24 hour period, which equates to around 221 kWh per year. The Power Meter showed that the fridge was drawing power for 6 hours and 10 minutes over that 24 hour period, or 25% duty, which is very energy efficient (a typical duty cycle for fridges is around 30%, or 8 hours per 24-hour period).

This is an office fridge so it's almost empty most of the time. We have also made sure there's at least a 10cm gap around all sides to allow air to move around the unit.

Electricity consumption of other fridges

I did the same test with my fridge at home and found that it uses about 1 kWh per day, which is typical for small units under 250 litres capacity.

Commercial refrigeration is more complex to measure but the opportunities for energy savings are greater. Some of the businesses for which we have completed business energy audits initially spent well over half of their electricity costs on refrigeration. In most cases, we were able to identify affordable cost-saving opportunities of 20-40%.

How much energy does your fridge use?

The easiest way to find out how much your refrigerators are using is to use a plug in power meter.

We sell three main options: the Reduction Revolution Power Meter is our most popular and cheapest option. The Watts Clever INPLUG allows you to monitor power usage from your phone or tablet. Finally, the Power Mate Lite is our highest accuracy option used by professional energy auditors.

Reduction Revolution Power Meter Watts Clever INPLUG  Power Mate Lite

Other blog posts:

By Reduction Revolution | | How To Guides, Power Consumption, Steplight | Read more

Water Cooler / Water Boiler Energy Consumption Revealed

Most offices have at least one water cooler and many of these have both a 'chilled water' and 'boiling water' function. So how much energy do they actually use?

The actual energy consumption of your water cooler will depend on how it is used, and how many people are using it. The only way to know the actual energy consumption of your water cooler is with a plug in power meter.

Here are our test results...

Power consumption of our office water cooler

Most office water coolers are using energy to keep water cool (and hot) continuously. This doesn't make much sense unless the office is open 24 hours a day.

At the Steplight office we use a simple plug in appliance timer so that the water cooler is only on during office hours. The timer is set so that the water cooler will come on an hour before anyone arrives and turn off when everyone leaves. (Timers can be purchased from a hardware store for less than $20.00). We also have the hot water function turned off.

We ran some tests using our appliance power meter to find the actual energy consumption of our water cooler (with and without the timer).

To get an accurate understanding of the water cooler's energy consumption we need to run the test over a 24 hour period. This is because just like a fridge or washing machine, the water cooler won’t be using a fixed amount of electricity (it cycles on and off).

We're a pretty small office of up to six people. In larger offices expect the savings to be much greater than below.

1. With timer, cold water only = 0.2 kWh/day

The water cooler used 0.2 kilowatt-hours in a 24 hour period, which equates to around 81 kilowatt-hours ($19.00) per year. The water cooler was using power for 2 hours and 15 minutes of the 24 hour period.

2. Without timer, cold water only = 0.3 kWh/day

The water cooler used 0.3 kilowatt-hours in a 24 hour period, which equates to about 109 kilowatt-hours ($26.00) per year. The water cooler was using power for 3 hours and 5 minutes of the 24 hour period.

3. With timer, cold and hot water = 1.9 kWh/day

The water cooler used 1.9 kilowatt-hours in a 24 hour period, which equates to about 693  kilowatt-hours ($166.00) per year. The water cooler was using power for 6 hours and 28 minutes of the 24 hour period.

4. Without timer, cold and hot water = 2.8 kWh/day

The water cooler used 2.8 kilowatt-hours in a 24 hour period, which equates to about 1022 kilowatt-hours ($245.00) per year. The water cooler was using power for 10 hours and 43 minutes of the 24 hour period.

What to do?

As shown above, using a timer switch is a simple and cost-effective change, no matter how much the cooler is used.

If you have a water cooler with a hot and cold option, consider deactivating the hot water option. This will yield the biggest savings. A kettle used only when needed would be a better option.

If you already have a fridge, why not switch the water cooler off completely, and a keep a filtered water pitcher in the fridge.

Energy Star

If you are still considering getting a water cooler then keep in mind the energy rating. Energy star qualified water coolers are about 50% more efficient than typical water coolers. To qualify for the energy star label, units that cool only must use less than 0.16 kilowatt-hours per day. Hot and cold units must use less than 1.2 kilowatt-hours per day. If you are leasing the water cooler, ask your supplier about energy efficient options.

Energy Rating Guides

When buying any new equipment a good site to check out is the E3 energy rating website. Unfortunately, it doesn’t rate water coolers yet. It does state that there are an estimated 450,000 water dispensers in use in Australia, consuming approximately 350 GWh of electricity every year (this includes bottled water and mains connected water). Since the market for these products is steadily increasing, annual energy consumption by water dispensers is projected to reach 570 GWh by 2020 without intervention.

And that's just the humble water cooler!

If you're interested in assessing energy usage yourself see our wireless energy monitors. Alternatively, we also offer business energy audits to professionally review your site's energy consumption.

- Holly Lovell-Smith

By Reduction Revolution | | neverfail, power consumption, Steplight, water boiler, water cooler, zip | Read more

MacBook Pro Laptop Power Consumption Review

The MacBook Air, in particular, had very low power consumption. I was keen to get the Air, but in the end I decided to get the MacBook Pro 13 inch as this was to be my main computer (it has a larger hard drive, a CD/DVD drive etc).

Keep reading MacBook Pro Laptop Power Consumption Review

What is the Power Consumption of an Electric Blanket?

The power consumption shown below is for 'half' of the queen size electric blanket. Electricity usage ranged from 15 through to 140 watts.

Keep reading Power Consumption of an Electric Blanket


99% Waste: The Unexpected Energy Consumption of Smoke Alarms

I thought I'd kick off this series of 'Hidden Standby Loads' with a bit of an obscure one: smoke alarms. It's not a device normally considered for its energy consumption.

Keep reading The Unexpected Energy Consumption of Smoke Alarms

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About Reduction Revolution

Reduction Revolution is a business focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. Our products will help slash your energy usage. But they also often improve comfort, save time, and reduce your maintenance costs. That's why we say waste less, live better.

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Since 2010 we have supplied over 40,000 customers across Australia & NZ.

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