A challenge: make your home more sustainable with $50

Sustainable homes don’t cost the earth! A quick look at the high-tech products available to create eco-friendly homes would suggest that you need plenty of the folding stuff to live well, and that’s not the reality for most of us.

As a follow up to Sustainable House Day I want to issue a challenge: how can we make our homes more environmentally friendly, cheaper to run and more comfortable to live in – for just $50?

The reason I set $50 as the budget is that the State Government is running a promotion offering a $50 “power saving bonus” for comparing energy offers on the Victorian Energy Compare website. (You don’t even have to take up any of the offers to claim the bonus!)

I’m proposing that each of us claim the bonus and “invest” it to reduce our household energy usage.

I registered for the Powercor portal and can look at daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and yearly data for my household. I can see that winter heating (especially in the evening) is a significant contributor to our energy usage. During last winter I discovered that “boxed out” sections (bulkheads) above the pantry, fridge and TV in my house open to the roof space above them. All that’s between the back of the plasterboard and the cold night sky is the roof trusses and concrete tiles! A pack of insulation batts and a bit of DIY will close these gaps in my roof insulation and we should see energy improvements as a result.


How to claim the Power Saving Bonus

To qualify, you need to:

·       be the account holder for a (Victorian) electricity or gas bill

·       live at the service address for the bill (the Power Saving Bonus is mailed to the service address stated on the account)

·       use the Victorian Energy Compare website to compare energy offers before 31 December 2018

If your home has a smartmeter, applying is simple and only takes about 10 minutes. Grab a recent bill, and log on to Victorian Energy Compare.

 When it asks “Do you have a smart meter data file to upload?” click on Download Data The site will take you through the process of signing up to access your smartmeter data from your energy distributor (the stepwise guide for Powercor is shown below; the process is similar for Jemena, the other distributor in our area).

You can either download the data to a file and upload it to the comparison site, or submit it directly from the distributor’s site.

As an alternative to using your smartmeter data, you can answer a series of questions on your household’s energy usage - it takes a bit longer and won’t be as reliable as using historical data.

A couple of weeks later you receive a cheque for $50 in the mail. Easy.

Victorian Energy Saver Compare process for households with Powercor as distributor
Sustainable HomesSue Barker