Council study saves residents energy and money
How can low income households best improve their energy efficiency at home, save on energy bills and improve their comfort, health and wellbeing?
Bass Coast Shire Council set out to answer these questions in a study with the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA).
Three hundred and twenty householders across the south and east areas of Melbourne were recruited in the study to trial different approaches to improving household energy efficiency for local government ‘Home and Community Care’ clients, identify the barriers to energy efficiency and test ways to overcome these barriers.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale, said Council was thrilled to take part in the Energy Saver Study and work closely with 40 households across the Shire to audit, draught test, upgrade lights, and insulate ceilings and floors. Inefficient heaters and coolers, hot water services, fridges and TVs were also upgraded to more efficient appliances.
“Small capital investments and physical alterations make big improvements to comfort, the amount left in the purse at the end of the week, and knowing you are doing your bit for a long term environmental benefit,” Cr Crugnale said.
“It’s about access to information, incentives and support for change. I wish to thank all of our residents involved in the program for wanting to be part of positive change.”
After the changes were made, energy use was monitored to see what brought about the best result.
A combination of ’home retrofits plus energy efficiency support’, and ‘retrofits only’ led to significant improvements in average total energy use (7-11%), electricity use for lighting (22-36%), and gas use and costs (13-18%), whilst indoor temperatures during winter were increased by 1-2°C.
Home retrofits also increased the comfort of homes.
One participant, Bass Coast resident Alison Kneebone, changed her heating and cooling practices from a gas bar heater and a box air conditioner to an efficient reverse cycle.
She also had new insulation and draught sealing installed.
Ms Kneebone said her electricity bills have been consistently lower, and the temperature of her home is also more consistent.
“The retrofits made one heck of a difference – wonderful. My bill was $100 less than same time last year,” Ms Kneebone said.
While the study has finished, Council encourages anyone interested in energy efficiency for their home to look at the House In Order – How to Achieve Energy Efficiency and Performance in Your Home website at http://energysaver.seccca.org.au.
For more information, you can also contact SECCCA (Greg Hunt) on (03) 9705 5129.