Sep 2021

Getting climate ready

Getting properties climate ready and energy efficient is a high priority for the CEHL Asset Management Team.  Our Climate Risk Assessment Project has brought into sharp focus what our priorities are as we map our pathway to better performing homes with year round comfort and lower energy bills.

The pyramid diagram below outlines CEHL's approach. 

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 modification guidelines and modification form).

Getting a better energy deal

The starting point is reducing energy costs by getting a better energy deal.  It's the first step every renter can take to see if you can pay less on your energy bills from your energy provider. Start with Victorian Energy Compare a Victorian Government independent energy price comparison site.

Reducing energy demand

The next step is reducing demand for energy by installing efficient appliances and improving the thermal performance of the home with insulation and draught proofing. You can also reduce your use of energy in the home by using appliances efficiently.  Sustainability Victoria has some great tips on reducing energy use in your home.  

Do you have any energy or water efficiency tips?  Share them with our community by emailing them to Energy upgrades 

Renewable energy source - future focused

When energy demand is reduced, installing an appropriately sized solar system, and in the future and making use of other renewable energy options like micro grids or batteries.  

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

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.

Funding energy upgrades

CEHL is 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. 

A pilot project is also underway to retrofit homes to significantly reduce their carbon emissions and testing a method for financing these retrofits.  The ambition is to solve 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 details will be shared about this project soon. 

kick starting the process

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 attend the Sustainable House day online event: Mythbusting the all-electric home or the Australian Energy Foundation website

Co-op renewable energy plan

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 Earth Co-op's Energy Freedom project.