04.Heating, cooling and lighting
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) certainly reduce household energy consumption. According to CHOICE CFL expert Chris Barnes, our CFLs were tested for 6000 hours; estimated at five hours a day this equates to around three years of actual use. Because all CFLs are relatively energy efficient the green buys are the ones that last longest, while still providing a good light source.
To find out more about these models and more, see our review of Compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
These models (pictured: left to right, GE, Mirabella and Philips) have very good overall performance; their initial luminosity is excellent, and after 6000 hours it’s still good to very good. The Philips Tornado had one failure; the others had none.
Heating and cooling naturally
While reverse-cycle air conditioners are undoubtedly a great source of cooling and heating for the home, rather than relying on them exclusively, think about alternative options and saving the reverse-cycle for more extreme weather days.
To find out more about some of the ways you can naturally air condition your house in summer see our report on Natural air conditioners, or for more information for home insulation see our Home insulation buying guide.
There are so many options for home heating these days it's hard to know which is best. We've waded through all of the options to help simplify the process so you can prepare for the impending winter chill.
Remember, a high energy efficiency rating does not necessarily equate to high overall performance. To learn more about the product testing results see our recent tests of Heating and cooling devices.
Compared with an air conditioner or gas heater, an electric heater may not be the most efficient or cost-effective way to heat a room. However, if you’re renting or don’t have a gas outlet, a convection or column heater can help take the chill out of a small living area or bedroom.
kWh at maximum over 120 min: 3
Reverse-cycle air conditioners
Large air conditioners
Air conditioners – particularly larger models – are among the biggest consumers of power in the home so it's important, if you are going for a larger model, that you choose the most energy efficient. To find out more about these models and more, see our Large air conditioners review.
Standby power score: 93%
Yearly running cost: $411
Standby power score: 90%
Yearly running cost: $
Small air conditioners
A reverse-cycle air conditioner is still one of the most efficient ways to heat a large room or living area and not all space requires a large one. Here are some of the best small options currently on the market. To find out more about these models and more, see our Small air conditioners review.
Standby power score: 89%
Yearly running cost: $181