Measuring ‘where you are at’ in terms of sustainability and the progress you are making is a key to your sustainability journey. The most basic measurement tool that you can start with is your electricity, gas and water bills. The key things to look for are:
• What is your daily electricity, gas and water usage?; and
• How does it compare to an energy efficient and water efficient house?
An energy-efficient house (of 4 people) should use no more than 4.5 kwh/day.
A water-efficient house should use no more than 155 litres per day/per person.
If you are using more than the an efficient house, why not set yourself a target close to the efficient house and aim to achieve it? Then, continue to monitor your bills to see how you are going.
After looking at your bills and comparing your performance to an energy and water efficient household you can then start on some other more sophisticated tools such as those listed below.
- ACF GreenHome Eco-Calculator is an online tool that calculates how much your lifestyle impacts on the environment. Find out how you compare to the average Australian and how you can help by making small changes.
- EPA Ecological Footprint Calculator is an online calculator to measure your ecological footprint. Depending on how detailed and accurate an estimation you want, you can spend anything between ten minutes and several hours calculating your ecological footprint.
- EPA Greenhouse Calculator is an online tool to calculate your annual greenhouse gas emissions. The calculator will also compare your greenhouse emissions with that of a ‘typical' house and a ‘green' house.
- WWF Footprint Calculator is an online tool to calculate your eco-footprint.
- Energy Saving Calculator is an online tool that calculates and find ways to save money, energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Star Ratings Calculator is an online tool that calculates what a difference each extra star makes to running costs and greenhouse gas emissions of appliances such as air-conditioners, washing machines, dishwashers, clothes dryers, fridges and freezers.
- Lighting calculates energy savings from energy efficient lighting.
- White goods is an energy-savings calculator for fridges, clothes dryers and dishwashers.
- Switch On to compare your household energy bill and your energy retailer against others. Find out how you are billed, and get energy saving tips for every room in your house.
- The Tankulator is an online rain harvesting calculator that can help you plan for a new rainwater tank or improve the performance of an existing tank. The Tankulator has been developed by the Alternative Technology Association.
- Water Footprint Calculator is an online tool that calculates the total amount of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed as a result of your own consumption patterns and country of residence.
- Household Water Use Calculator is in the form of a survey, and helps you understand how much water you use in your household and ways to use less water.
- Water Wise Calculator is an online tool to calculate the current water usages and charges for your home. It will also provide water saving hints and estimates of the annual dollar saving.
- Online Water Calculator will provide a summary of your water use based on your responses and offer solutions to help you stay on target 155.
- Home Water Investigator is an online tool that calculates the water use by calculating room by room, item by item. It helps to find out how much water you use, where it goes and how you can conserve it.
- Top 3 water users features energy and water savings calculator for showers, toilets and washing machines.
- ACF Consumption Atlas is an online tool that maps patterns of consumption and its environmental impact across Australia. The Consumption Atlas show varying patterns of consumption across Australia and how the more you buy, the cost to the environment.
- STEPS (for residential developments) and SDS (for non-residential developments) assist you in determining the performance of your proposal beyond minimum legal requirements (such as the 5-star Standard).
- Green Star Rating Tools assist with a range of building types, including offices, retail centres and education facilities.
- BASIX (Building Sustainability Index) is a web-based planning tool designed to assess the potential performance of residential developments. Designed primarily for use in New South Wales, it is a very comprehensive tool for rating energy and water efficiency in home renovations, and for building plans for home efficiency.
- The BERS Professional computer program is the centre of the thermal simulation process. It is used to simulate the thermal performance of Australian houses in climates ranging from alpine to tropical.
- NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) is a performance-based rating system for existing buildings. NABERS rates a building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment, and provides a simple indication of how well you are managing these environmental impacts compared with your peers and neighbours.
- FirstRate5 is software that rates both the house envelope (orientation, level of wall and ceiling insulation, window size and shading, thermal mass) and the house's building envelope or level of energy efficiency from 1-5 stars. Developed by the Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria (now Sustainability Victoria), it allows assessment of different parts of the house but cannot be used in buildings where the total glazing is over 50%.