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Making Big Buys?

breastfeeding challenges

With a baby on the way you may be thinking about getting a dishwasher, a bigger fridge or a better washing machine. You may also be thinking of getting your first car, a bigger car, a second car.

Of the three R’s of waste reduction – reduce, re-use and recycle – it’s reduce that’s the most important. So avoiding the purchase in the first place is always best for the planet. When you do make purchases, there are some great resources to help you minimise the environmental impacts of that purchase.

Buying an efficient car

Some parents will upgrade their car or buy a second car when they are expecting. Buying a vehicle that is more fuel efficient can save you thousands of dollars on fuel bills and many tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the car’s life. Basically, larger cars and those with bigger engines often consume more fuel. Off road vehicles (4WDs) are usually built to less stringent emission standards than “regular” passenger cars, so they produce more air pollutants. Even within a category of car, ‘green’ performance will vary.

The Green Vehicle Guide (http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/) rates new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse, air pollution emissions and fuel consumption.

In the showroom, look for the Fuel Consumption Label on the front windscreen. Based on a standard test it tells you the fuel consumption in litres per 100km and greenhouse emissions in grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre.

Once you have your new car the way you drive and maintain it can also have a big impact on the amount of greenhouse gases it emits – in fact it can cut them, and your petrol costs, by a third.

Energy efficient appliances

The electricity costs of running a large appliance can, over its lifetime, add up to more than it cost you to buy it. So choosing an energy efficient model will save you money. And because electricity generation in Victoria produces a lot of greenhouse gases (due to our reliance on dirty brown coal), it’s better for the environment too. Energy efficient models are not always more expensive to buy, but even if you do pay a bit more upfront, the lower running costs will usually more than make up for it.

Check the star rating

If you are in the market for air conditioners, clothes dryers, washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and televisions, you can compare makes and models at http://www.energyrating.gov.au. It will help if you do a bit of research first so you know the size and types of appliances to compare.

In the showroom look at the energy rating label — it looks like the water label above. The label has a star rating from one to six stars that tells you how efficient the model is — the more stars the better. It also has the actual electricity consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh) of the model per hour or per year.

Sometimes a larger model will be more efficient, and therefore have more stars, than a smaller one. However, since it is bigger, its overall energy consumption is often higher than that of the smaller model. So there’s no advantage to be gained by buying a bigger model than you need.

It also worth checking whether Choice (http://www.choice.com.au/) have done an independent review comparing the performance of the product options – you don’t want to buy a dishwasher which uses very little water if it doesn’t clean your dishes properly.

 

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May 27, 2011 | Category: Raising a Green Baby | Comments: none | Tags: ,

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