Blog - page 8 of 10

Mandatory assessments across Australia for all houses sold & rented - 7/02/2010
Big news for the housing and assessing industries.

"ALL Australian homes will soon have to undergo a mandatory energy-efficiency assessment costing up to $1500 per property.
The assessment has to be done before any property can be sold or rented under new laws to tackle carbon emissions.

The mandatory assessment - being drafted into law by the federal and state governments - will rate homes by an energy efficiency star system, similar to the ratings given to fridges and washing machines."

Of course the real estate industry is already kicking up about it. I'd expect the residential building industry to be RIGHT behind this because one of the things they've been complaining against with new home star ratings is that it unfairly advantages existing stock. This levels that playing field.

Remains to been seen if something like this can get up in an election year. And of course it remains to be seen how (if) bodies like ABSA and governments can handle it...

One thing is for sure. Those companies that can provide a very good service for a reasonable price will be in the best position to be recommended by real estate agents, brokers, lenders, etc, and of course will stand the best chance to benefit from this in the long term.

I'm confident I'll be able to provide the service and price, so am looking forward to the new legislation.
News story

Fridge ducting system - 28/01/2010
We have now finished describing and photographing the underfloor fridge cool-air ducting system. How does it work? How WELL does it work? Was it worth it?...

The entire system has improved the fridge efficiency, but mainly during winter. In winter the ducting has dropped the fridge's daily consumption from around 1kw/h to around 650w. During summer however the difference is not as large, because the oudoor air is obviously warmer and frequently a very similar temperature as inside. In this period there is no change (better or worse) to the fridge performance.

So would we recommend it? Assuming 350w is saved per day for a third of the year (or 120 days), 42kw/h will be saved per year. If that power is bought at normal rates (17c peak rate, and 9c off peak) the saving will be around $6 per year. On this particular house, daytime consumption completes with our solar PV system's export of energy, so the figure is greater - more like $16.

Our estimation of costs to install would be $2,000 which is mainly labour, so while it's been an interesting and useful experiment, and has helped this house in terms of pushing the boundaries, we don't feel it's a cost effective strategy to save energy. The $2,000 would be more effective in saving energy if used on things such as upgrading insulation, etc.

More details are on each of the photos.

Photos and full description

Energy use and school holidays - 25/01/2010
School holidays is almost over and it's been an interesting period to monitor.

First up the house's stats were given a huge boost when our family went on a two week bushwalking holiday in Tasmania, leaving the house to collect and export as much summer sun as it liked without us being around, apart from our fridge.

The end result was as good as expected. The figures were so good that I wasn't sure if it'd be a good idea to even include them as it looked quite distorted... But then, people DO go on holidays and two weeks isn't excessive, so they stayed.

On the other hand, since being back our energy use has gone through the roof. It's been around 10kw/h per day! It's no one thing in particular - just more people around for longer periods of time. Cooking is perhaps our biggest single energy user, and there's been far more cooked lately.

I should add that this increase is still less than an average house which uses (on average) 16kw/h per day all year round, and in all probability those average houses also see spikes during school holidays as well. So in that context the house is still performing very well.

So by the end of the school holidays of zero energy use at the start and higher energy use for the rest, we're almost back to our average!

By the way, I've come to dislike cloudy summer days that don't bare rain. The cloud kills an otherwise long summer solar day, and no rain either. Useless!

RET lobbying needed! - 19/01/2010
This is an urgent posting to stress how ABSOLUTELY essential it is for us all to become active in lobbying for the Federal Government to 'fix' our RET (Renewable Energy Target). Right now the policy is hurting the large scale renewables industry, while reducing or even eliminating the environmental benefit of almost every single thing we do as individuals to try to reduce our carbon footprints. Yes that means things like solar electricity, solar hot water, green energy, and even efficient lightbulbs!

Submissions to the Government's discussion paper close on the 28th of January, so PLEASE do all you can to read it and reply to it. The web address is

Portland Sustainability Group Workshop - 19/01/2010
The first of the PSG's Sustainability Workshops will take place at the Portland Library on Jan 30th from 10.30am till 12.30pm. The worksohp will be focussed on how we can keep our houses cool naturally to increase comfort while saving energy, money, and of course the environment.

Peter from Energised will present the workshop and it's absolutely free! So if you'd like to come along be sure to bring along your recent energy bills to see how you're going and where you might be able to reduce your energy use while cooling your house.

Portland Sustainability Group

More performance results - Electricity - 14/01/2010
The first bill just arrived today for electricity consumption. Actually it shouldn't be called a bill, it's more of a wage slip.

In a nutshell, here's the figures :

Service charge : $59.77
Peak use : 214kw/h @ 22.29c per kw/h - $47.99
Off-peak use : 164kw/h @ 8.75c per kw/h - $14.45
Green energy tariff (100% wind) : 378kw/h @ 5c per kw/h - $18.90

Total costs : $141.11

Exported solar electricity : 507kw/h @ 66c per kw/h - $334.62

Total net : $193.51 payment.

It's important to note that the actual figure is even better than $193.51, because average Australian households spend approximately $400 per quarter on energy. This means the 8 Aquarius Crt house is in fact $593.51 cheaper to live for this 'billing' period than in than an average house.

To extend that to a 10 year projection the system will have saved/earned almost $24,000 on the $9,300 installation costs.

Hot days, cold days... Performance results - 13/01/2010
Now that Victoria has sweltered through our first VERY hot days this summer, we can see how the 8 Aquarius Court house is faring, both on hot days and back in September on some of the cold days.

First the hot day on the 11th Jan 2010. It reached 40.7c in Portland, and the house temp inside reached a maximum of 26.5c. This is of course without any artificial cooling needed - not even a simple fan.

And to remember back to the cold days coming out of Winter, a typical one would have been , where the outside maximum was 12c, and the house reached 22c without any artificial heating.

Yes there are 'average' 3 Star houses that most of us know that can be cool in Summer, but those houses usually need to have heaters blaring all Winter.

And there is also the odd 'average' 3 Star house that is warm in Winter, but THAT house would be totally unbearable on a 40c+ day, often even WITH an air-con going.

What sets houses like 8 Aquarius Court apart is that they can be naturally warm AND cool when required, and this is the value of an 8 Star house.

Energised involved in sustainable community - 19/12/2009
Energised has been asked to be involved in a new sustainable building estate on the outskirts of Melbourne. More details will be posted on this exciting project as they become available.

Home Sustainabilty Assessments - 19/12/2009
Peter Reefman has recently completed a Home Sustainability Assessor training course, which will allow Energised Homes to conduct free (Government funded) Home Sustainability Assessments and qualify for the Federal Government's Green Loan program.

Assessments will start in February 2010, and exact datas and details will be posted here.

Charts - 7/12/2009
Energy, water and temperature charts arenow available for the 8 Aquarius Crt house.

These are taken from September 24th 2009, and show daily operating statistics.
8 Aquarius Crt Charts

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