What does the DEBS mean for me?


Have you ever thought about how much energy your household uses each day and what that actually means? When you look at your power bill you might see your electricity usage recorded in kilowatt hours (kWh) or in some cases it’s referred to as one ‘Unit’ of electricity (which is the same as 1kWh). But what does 1kWh actually look like?

The average Australian household uses about 16kWh of electricity every single day. While this doesn’t sound like much, the following examples give you an idea of just how much energy that actually equates to.

You use this everyday

Despite being small enough to fit into your pocket, smart phones have become a big part of everyday life. It takes 3.8kWh of electricity to fully recharge an iPhone 6 every day for an entire year. This means 1kWh is enough energy to fully recharge your phone for 96 days and 16kWh (the average energy consumed by an Australian household each day) will keep your phone charged for over four years.

Every Google search you do uses energy

How many Google searches would you do in a day? Have you ever thought about how much energy they take to run? The energy used in five Google searches is enough to run a 60-watt light bulb for about a minute and a half. 1kWh of energy would enable you to do 3,333 Google searches, while 16kWh is enough energy to run 53,328 Google searches.

A Mars a Day...

If all those Google searches have made you hungry, consider this. One 36g Mars Bar contains 165 calories. Like kilowatt hours, calories are another measure of energy. The energy in 1kWh is equal to the energy contained in approximately 5,200 Mars Bars. So if the average Australian household consumes roughly 16kWh of energy each day, that’s the same as the energy in 83,200 Mars Bars. That’s a lot of energy to help you ‘work, rest and play’. After eating all that chocolate, you’ll have energy to burn. An 80kg person will need to run 12 kilometres in one and a half hours to use the equivalent of 1kWh of energy.

Speaking of eating

If chocolate isn’t your thing, how does 150 kilograms of grass, leaves, fruit and bark sound? This is how much food one adult male African elephant eats on average each day (in captivity). The energy contained in 1kWh would be enough to feed 12 elephants, while 16kWh would be enough energy to feed 192 elephants for a day.

One heck of a stair climb

Those elephants might be handy for this next challenge. The energy in 1kWh of electricity is the same energy required to carry one backyard swimming pool worth of water (36,000 litres) up a flight of stairs 10 metres high. If we refer back to our average Australian household energy consumption of 16kWh per day, we’d need to carry that swimming pool even higher than the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (which would be the equivalent of 13.4kWh since it is 134m high). That’s a whole lot of energy!

Think before you flick the switch

So next time you turn on the television or leave your air conditioner running, have a think about what your energy consumption really means. It’s fascinating to consider how much energy we actually consume each day and what it equates to in other scenarios, especially since flicking a switch requires so little energy on our part.