The Asset Management Team have been working on a number of initiatives to make properties in the Program more energy efficient and climate resilient since completing the Climate Risk Assessment Project

The approach CEHL is taking is summarised in the pyramid diagram below. The starting point is the base of the pyramid - reducing costs of energy. Then reducing demand for energy by installing efficient appliances and improving the thermal envelope of the home with insulation and draught proofing. After that, when energy demand is reduced install an appropriately sized solar system, and in the future consider other renewable energy options like micro grids or batteries.  

The first step on the pyramid is one that renters can take themselves. The other steps are mostly for co-ops and CEHL to take together, however modifications like draught proofing can be done by renters (refer to the renter modification process).  

Finding the money to install solar systems continues to be an issue for CEHL and co-ops because budgets need to be prioritised to essential and urgent maintenance and upgrades like hot water system replacements and bathroom or kitchen upgrades.  

We’re working with the sector to find ways that savings gained can be shared to pay for the installation of solar systems (solving the split incentive).

The Maintenance Stimulus Project has created an opportunity to kick start the process. The project has provided the funding for CEHL to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the impacts of climate change for approximately 160 CEHL homes (identified as high priority through asset inspection data and the Climate Risk Assessment Project) by: 

  • Replacing heaters with reverse cycle split system air conditioners 
  • Replacing hot water systems with hot water heat pumps 
  • Installing ceiling insulation and draught proofing 

CEHL is encouraging all co-ops to transition to electrical appliances. 

Why CEHL is changing to energy efficient electrical appliances and encouraging co-ops to do the same... 

  • Gas, in the past, has been a low-cost energy option, however it is no longer the case, as gas prices continue to increase and are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. 
  • While gas may have been a lower emission option in the past, the electricity market is rapidly changing to renewable energy and ‘de-carbonising’ with a lower output of greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • The fixed charges of a gas connection can also increase costs for small properties.  By switching to all-electric appliances, these costs can be avoided.  This change also supports CEHL’s planning for future when solar panels will be installed. 
  • For more information have a look at the Australian Energy Foundation website:

CEHL is keeping in touch with relevant Victorian government departments to take advantage of rebates and grants for improving energy efficiency as they become available. This includes the Solar Victoria Home Heating and Cooling Upgrade program, which it is hoped will soon be supplemented by funds from Homes Victoria to cover the entire cost of the upgrade. When this is available CEHL will plan with co-ops to roll out a bulk upgrade program. 

CEHL is working on a pilot project to retrofit homes to significantly reduce their carbon emissions and testing a method for financing these retrofits, which will hopefully provide a method for solving the problem of the split incentive for items such as solar panels. This project will also provide evidence and learnings about the most effective way to retrofit homes. More information will be provided about this project soon. 

Share your energy and water saving ideas with the co-op community . . . 

Earth CERC has been implementing its plan to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and switch to renewable energy sources for some time. Earth Co-op includes a co-located site combining apartments with indoor and outdoor shared common areas, along with some standalone houses. Click here for more information about their Energy Freedom project

Send your energy or water efficiency tips to to share with the co-op community on the website. 

This information is being shared at the March Regional Forums 2020.

Watch videos to find out more . . .

Click to read more about about CEHL's Climate Risk Assessment project

Link to Compare energy deal

Links to access your smart meter data . . .

Smart Meter data identifies when energy is used, which in turn helps work out which improvements will be best for your home. 

To get access your smart meter data click to find my energy distributor from the Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

If you know your energy distributor already, click on the links below

Click to go to Australian Energy Foundation website for more tips and advice

Energy efficiency Tips

We have put together a list of tips sourced from experts Australian Energy Foundation, Sustainability Victoria, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Read the Guidelines Additions, Alterations and Modifications to understand what efficiency actions can be approved by your CERC.  All requests for CMC or VicWide must go to CEHL.

Link to Request for Addition, Alteration or Modification to CEHL Property form

Compare your energy deal on the Victorian Energy Compare website.  

Some households may be eligible for the $250 Power Saving Bonus, apply before 31 January 2022. See link for details. Link to Compare energy deal 

Upgrade to a water-efficient shower head

An efficient shower head can reduce your energy bills by $15 per year.

You can also halve your shower costs by combining an efficient shower head with slightly shorter showers. For example, a 10-minute shower with a typical shower head will use 105 litres, while an 8-minute shower with a 3-star shower head will use only 50. Remember, that’s also water you are paying to heat.

Set your hot water thermostat to 60° for storage

Keeping your stored hot water at a moderate temperature will use less energy than storing it piping hot.
Just remember that to protect your hot water from legionella, never lower the temperature to below 60 degrees.

Wash laundry in cold water

A cold cycle will save 80% of the energy needed to run a typical warm water cycle.

Use mulch on your garden

This will help you reduce water evaporation by up to 70%. Outdoor water use accounts for 25-50% of the average Australian household's water use. Over summer it’s best to water your garden in the morning or evening, to reduce evaporation during the heat of the day.

More efficient appliances

When heaters and hot water services come to end of life and need replacing, co-ops can choose more efficient models.

Consider a split system

They are one of the most energy efficient and cheapest to run heaters. Plus you get cooling!
Choice magazine has calculated the running costs for heating a small room for 500 hours and found that portable electric heaters cost $312, gas heaters cost $212, while split system air conditioners came out as the cheapest option at just $113.

Please note: A co-op replacing an existing heater with a split system does not require a self-funded modification approval. Adding your own extra split system would require approval. See the Addition, Alteration or Modification guidelines and form at the end of the energy efficiency section.

Set the temperature

Every degree above 20° can add 10% to your heating bill. In winter, heating can account for over 30% of your bill. In winter, set your thermostat between 18° and 20°. 

This applies to your fridge too. Check your fridge is set to 3 - 5 degrees and freezers are set -15 degrees to save energy and keep bills down. 

Change your light bulbs

Changing the light globes in your home or business can wipe up to $16 per globe from your yearly power bill. Replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy efficient globes

Window film

Window films are a great solution for improving the energy-efficiency of windows. Depending on the film you choose, window films can be designed for year-round use (retaining heat in winter and blocking heat in summer), or just summertime use.

Films that are designed for year-round use can prevent up to 50% of heat from escaping in winter, which is comparable to double glazing. Year-round films can also reduce the amount of summer radiant heat that enters your home by 50%, while summer only films can block up to 85% of the sun’s heat.

Draught proofing

Some draughts are easy to detect by using one of the following techniques:

  • seeing daylight under doors or around window frames
  • seeing curtains or blinds move when it’s windy outside
  • holding tissue up around fireplaces or over floorboards to see if the tissue moves
  • hearing windows rattle in the frames during storms
  • feeling air moving against your hand or on wet skin

There are many products on the market designed to be fitted to doors to seal gaps, so it pays to do your homework before heading to the hardware store. 

NOTE: whether the door in question opens inwards or outwards, and the type of flooring it opens over (timber, carpet, tiles, etc.). There are also different products for internal doors, so make sure you choose the right product for each application.

If you need to seal around the edges of your doors (the door jamb), check how big the gap is so that you can choose a seal that will fill the gap. These seals are normally made from foam rubber or plastic and are available in rolls. Each door will use approximately 5 metres to seal, it pays to measure and count your doors before you go shopping! 

Large gaps around doors and windows may require some carpentry work to make the gaps smaller.

List of all available resources