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Our top 3 tips for switching to cleaner energy 

CHOICE experts share advice to help you make the switch to more energy efficient practices in your home and lifestyle.

Last updated: 03 April 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

With energy prices soaring and concerns about the impact our energy consumption is having on the environment also rising, you might be wondering: how do I make the switch to cleaner and more efficient energy?

Whether it's switching from grid power to solar, from petrol cars to electric transport, or phasing out gas appliances altogether, CHOICE share their advice to help you make choices that will really pay off.  

1. Switching away from gas cooktops and heaters

When it comes to cooking, many of us feel stuck with what's built into our benchtops. But for those who can afford the initial outlay for a new cooktop, there's a growing list of reasons to switch off the gas for good.

While most people already know about the environmental issues with gas and the health risks associated with gas appliances in the home, our latest cooktops comparison also found that induction cooktops beat out their gas counterparts in terms of both cooking performance and running costs. 

Our kitchen expert Fiona Mair conducted a 'boil time test' measuring the time it takes to boil one litre of water on different cooktops. One of the top performing induction cooktops took just 2.37 minutes, while a gas cooktop can take up to 4 minutes or longer. This faster cooking time is not only convenient, it also means you'll be using less energy in the kitchen. 

"Because the heat is coming from the cookware itself, rather than the cooktop, your cookware reaches the desired temperature more quickly, cooking your food faster," says Fiona. 

Your cookware reaches the desired temperature more quickly, cooking your food faster

CHOICE kitchen expert, Fiona Mair

While the upfront cost of switching from gas to induction is considerable, making the switch will likely save you money in the long run. The Climate Council has calculated that Australian households can save between $500 and $1900 a year (depending on the price of gas in your area) by cutting off the gas completely. 

"I don't think we'll ever again see the cheap gas prices of past decades that once made gas attractive," says CHOICE expert, Chris Barnes.

"Gas appliances such as heaters, stovetops and hot water systems are generally less efficient and less favourable options in Australian homes, particularly when you consider the health risks associated with gas appliances and look at the cost benefits for switching in homes that have solar installed."

2. Getting started with solar

Millions of Australian homes have made the switch to solar in an effort to bring energy costs down. Panel prices are dropping and the technology is as good as it has ever been, so it's a great time to get solar installed and save money on your energy bill. 

Worried about installation costs? For most households, solar is well worth the upfront cost. The cost of installing a solar system has fallen by around 58% in the last six years and research shows that a typical system will pay for itself in around four to six years.

Panel prices are dropping and the technology is as good as it has ever been...

"Households paying hundreds of dollars per quarter for electricity will definitely benefit from looking into solar. So will households with low electricity consumption, though their payback time might be a bit longer," says Chris. 

If you're considering going solar and don't know where to start, check out our four step guide.

3. Switching from petrol to electric

The interest in electric vehicles in Australia continues to boom and it is estimated there are now more than 180,000 EVs on our roads, with the majority of those vehicles purchased in the last year (8.45% of all new cars sold in 2023 were EVs).

The number of electric vehicle models available to Australians has also expanded to almost 100, while there has also been increase in the number of public charging locations.

The increasing popularity of electric vehicles makes sense – electric vehicles and hybrids have much lower running costs than petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. Over a ten-year period you could save around $13,060 in fuel for a full electric vehicle and about $10,640 for a hybrid. 

And the electric vehicle (EV) owners we've spoken to are also happy with their car's performance.

"We chose an EV that had enough range to get us from Canberra to Sydney without having to re-charge along the way. We love the performance and the quiet of the Kona," says Donna, who drives a Hyundai Kona EV.

Over a ten-year period you could save around $13,060 in fuel for a full electric vehicle and about $10,640 for a hybrid

Transport accounts for approximately 17% of Australia's carbon dioxide emissions. Not only will making the switch to electric vehicles benefit your bank account, it will also help to reduce your carbon footprint and improve the quality of the air in our cities. Especially if you're charging your electric vehicle using renewable energy from your home solar or a green energy provider. 

If you're considering buying an electric vehicle, check out our electric vehicle quick start guide for facts and tips to get moving, plus check our electric car reviews where we rate a huge range of models for vehicle range, battery performance, efficiency and running costs. 

Drive or ride? Switching to an electric bike

Another cleaner alternative to using a petrol car is using an electric bike to get you from A to B. Electric bikes have a motor that kicks in when you need some extra power, making it easier to cycle over long distances or hilly terrains.

They can be a great alternative if you want to switch from a car to a bike (to avoid traffic jams and enjoy easier parking, reduced emissions and lower costs), without being limited to only short or flat rides.

There are many different types and models available, and the best one for you  depends on things such as your budget and how you want to ride it (including how far you want to go and the type of terrain you'll be riding on).

CHOICE experts have reviewed a number of different electric bikes to help you easily compare their performance, as well as factors such as cost, weight and how comfortable and easy they are to use and ride.

Find out more on how to buy the best electric bike.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.