By Joan Day
Recently, I watched two videos from the City of Stirling produced to educate the ratepayers and residents in lieu of personal workshops during the Covid isolation. One video was about why we should install solar PV panels; the other was about living in a way that is more energy efficient.
I think any information encouraging everybody to be more energy conscious is important because the reason there is a strong fossil fuel Industry is that everyone’s consumption is huge and growing. The power companies simply see their role as providing the population with their ever increasing need for power.
I remember when I first got married and rented a house in 1972, our electricity bill came once a year and was about $12. To put that into some context, my weekly budget was about $20, for food, etc. So electricity was very cheap.
But then, as everyone got electric water heaters, home heaters, electric blankets, colour TVs, electric stoves, bigger fridges and all manner of other modern technology that we now take for granted, power use increased and power bills came six times a year. There must have been a massive increase in power consumption at that time. Of course this, historically, was when climate change became an issue.
We now have more energy efficient appliances available, but energy efficient housing is still not common.
The Department of Energy and Environment is creating new rules for energy efficiency in existing buildings, due for release about August 2020. One new requirement may be mandatory disclosure of house energy ratings, just as appliances have. They also propose financial incentives to improve the Energy Efficiency of existing buildings. There’s an opportunity for the federal government to include a stimulus for Energy Efficiency in the post COVID-19 recovery program.
As of May 2020, new commercial buildings will be legally required (after 12 month lead in) to have light coloured roofs as a first step towards better Energy Efficiency. We can all play a part to ensure that this regulation is complied with by drawing councils and builders to account when they do not conform to this important code: NCC 2019, Volume 1 J code 1.3b.