Sunday, October 18, 2009

Take advantage of Government assistance to green your home. Part 4: The ClimateSmart at Home service

In previous installments of this series we looked at Federal Government programs such as Solar Credits, Green Loans and the Energy Efficient Homes package, this time we'll look at the QLD State Governments' hugely popular ClimateSmart Home Service.

Although I am confident many TTKD members will be part of the more than 100 000 households who have taken up this service I would encourage any who has not to book here. So why do I recommend this scheme and what do you get from it?

Funded by the QLD government the ClimateSmart Homes package sees an electrician come to your house and
1) Install a wireless energy monitor
2) Install a low flow shower head
3) Replace up to 15 incandescent light bulbs with energy saving CFLs
4) Conduct a brief energy audit and suggest additional steps you can take to reduce energy consumption, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By reducing the energy needed to light you house and heat water (through decreasing the water flow in the shower to a still more than acceptable 9 litres per minute) you will save money on your energy bills.

Most useful though is the wireless energy monitor. Because power bills only come every few months there is a disconnect between using power now and the actual cost of doing so. The energy monitor, in contrast, provides constant feedback on how much energy our houses are using, giving us much more control over power usage and therefore power bills.
By showing in real-time how much power our houses are using the monitor displays just how much power various appliances use (expect some surprises), encourages more efficient use of power and acts as a reminder whenever something is left on (always useful).
The only side-effect, as noted on Grahman Readfern's GreenBlog (and also found somewhat in our house) is the emergence of a obsessive energy auditor, hunting down any stray or wasteful power usage in the home, leading to even lower power bills.

Although hardly a scientific finding, the experience of our household has been of a fairly significant decrease in power consumption and therefore in our electric bills in the ~6 months since we had the service. Showing that it really does work.

So who can get it and what does it cost?
Subsidised by the State Government the initial service cost $50, however the BCC provides a $50 rebate once the service has been completed (BCC rebate application form available here). So all in all the service is completely free for Brisbane residents.
The service is open to both home owners and renters (with written permission from the landlord).

The ClimateSmart at Home service is a great energy efficiency measure that helps households save power, reduce their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint while. Best of all it's free so if you havn't signed up yet go here to do so, or go here for more information.

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