Jon, Balwyn North
Jon in Balwyn North lives in a free standing double brick home, constructed around 1950. He was in the process of a major renovation of his house, and wanted to future-proof his home by achieving a high energy star rating in anticipation of residential mandatory disclosure in 2012.
Jon’s top three priorities were to reduce his energy bills, protect the garden by conserving water and increase the star rating of his home. He requested Energy Makeovers to conduct a full assessment of the house and recommend the most cost-effective improvements for him.
The Pain Points
Our assessment team visited the property to investigate Jon and his family’s energy usage and inspect the house and renovation plans. Their annual energy bills totalled to nearly $3,500 and greenhouse gas emissions were about 25 tonnes per year. Lighting, which consisted mainly of inefficient incandescent globes, was the top electrical consumer. The majority of the gas bill was due to energy consumed by the ducted heating system. Although a gas pool heating system was installed, it was not in use.
We found that the second bedroom had ceiling-to-floor “hot windows” in summer, and the house was drafty due to the lack of effective weather sealing. The leaky house together with the lack of a cooling system meant that Jon felt the house was uncomfortable during most hot summer days. Jon was also concerned about the possibility of Level 4 water restrictions being imposed by the state government and requested us to assess the feasibility of rainwater storage, in order to preserve his valuable garden.
The initial home energy rating of the house was calculated to be 2 stars (out of 10). Jon expressed his desire to achieve a higher star rating to us in order to take advantage of residential mandatory disclosure and potentially improve his property value.
Based on our assessment we compiled an Energy Makeovers Roadmap report for Jon, containing details on his family’s energy usage and recommendations on suitable improvement projects, ranked based on quotes received from our trusted suppliers and installers.
The best bang for buck was switching the inefficient lighting to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, which costed $93 to install and saved $157/yr in electricity bills, therefore paying for itself in less than a year. Since the weather sealing was already upgraded with the renovation, we recommended the old ceiling insulation to be topped up with R3.5 glass wool batts, which would give an energy rating improvement of 1 star while reducing carbon emissions by 4.3%.
With regards to water conservation, installing an above ground 24kL rainwater tank was recommended, which would protect up to $145,500 of the garden’s value from Level 4 restrictions. To improve the comfort of the house in summer, we recommended installation of reversible ceiling fans in each bedroom, which will help with heating the rooms in winter as well. Zoning of the existing ducted heating system was also advised.
In addition, a solar hot water system and solar PV system were sized, costed and presented in the Energy Makeovers Roadmap report, showing options for a 1.5kW or 3kW PV system, both which would pay for themselves in less than 10 years.
With all the recommended projects being implemented (including lighting, insulation, zoning, 1.5kW PV and solar hot water system), we estimated Jon would save more than 54% on his total energy bills and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35%. With the rainwater tank installed, Jon can protect his garden and the garden’s value to the property.
The insulation top-up would increase Jon’s home energy rating to 3 stars. With future projects (that were deemed currently not cost-effective) such as floor insulation and double-glazed windows installed throughout the home, the house would potentially achieve 4.5 stars. Eager to increase his star rating in preparation for residential mandatory disclosure, Jon requested double glazing to be installed, before realising that his builders had already ordered single-glazing windows. Jon was frustrated that he would be ‘stuck’ with non-efficient windows and a lower star rating home. We promised him of informing any future developments (such as new rebates or products) that would make further improvements cost-effective.
With the 1 star increase in energy rating resulting from the recommended projects and after residential mandatory disclosure is introduced in 2012, the value of the property is expected to increase by 1.5% or $20,000 in this case.
Jon was impressed with the Energy Makeovers Green Button, requested with the Roadmap report, which had quotes and firm offers from our trusted installers for the recommended improvements, counting all government incentives available. He contacted his contractor immediately to include his preferred projects to the renovation plan.