Older houses are bleeding energy - get ready for summer

22 November 2016 | Media Release

Monday’s hot weather which pushed temperatures into the high 30s in most parts of Victoria has prompted a warning to households that now is the time to prepare the house for Summer conditions.

Sustainability Victoria’s Chief Executive, Stan Krpan, said Monday’s high temperatures were a warning of what to expect this Summer.

"New Sustainability Victoria research found homes built before 2005 had the equivalent of a 1.8 Star rating, however relatively simple and inexpensive measures delivered improved comfort and ensured appliances were operating most effectively. 

“Pre-2005 housing represents 78 per cent of Victoria’s housing stock. They’re bleeding energy compared with homes built today, which are required to have a minimum 6 Star rating.”

“For most people their house is the single biggest investment they ever make, yet many are literally pumping cooled or heated air outside costing money and undermining comfort,” Mr Krpan said.

Upgrading these homes to 5 Stars and increasing the efficiency of lighting and appliances could cut average energy bills by $990 a year or reduce total gas and electricity use by 45 per cent.”

“Applied to all pre-2005 houses we estimate that annual household energy bills could be cut by $1,500 Million a year with greenhouse gas emissions reduced by at least 5,200 kilotonnes.”   

“Testing found an average of nearly double the volume of air in pre-2005 houses flowed out every hour. That means constant re-cooling or re-heating is needed to maintain comfort, pushing up energy costs.” household , bleeding energy; energy efficiency, home, house

“Many of the ways to stop air leakage are do-it-yourself jobs using products available from hardware shops. Draught sealing implemented as DIY projects can save between $132 and $150 a year.

“Draughts account for around 12 per cent of summer heat gains through hot air coming in during the day. In winter heat loss rises to around 25 per cent due to heated air escaping through gaps and cracks. 

Insulation and having drapes which prevent heat coming in through windows are obvious ways to reduce heat transfer, but the top draught sealing measures reduced air leakage by 80 per cent and covered around 76 per cent of the total draught sealing costs.

• general caulking to seal cracks and gaps (26 per cent of total air leakage reduction)
• sealing exhaust fans and vents including manhole covers (16 per cent improvement)
• sealing external doors (12 per cent improvement)
• sealing wall vents (7 per cent improvement). 
• using winter covers to seal evaporative cooler outlets (20 per cent improvement)  

Some draught sealing measures are eligible for a discount under the Victorian Government’s Energy Saver Incentive Scheme

More information about improving household energy efficiency can be found on Sustainability Victoria’s website or watch this video.

Five easy things to do this weekend to help you have a sustainble Summer 

1. Draught sealing keeps cooled rooms cool in summer. Draught stoppers are readily available from hardware shops and other outlets and are among the most cost effective things you can do to use less energy. Caulking other gaps where pipes come in, around windows, skirting boards and floors further reduce leakage

2. Uncovered windows can be among the biggest ways to use more energy. Curtains, ideally with pelmets, keep heat outside in summer and inside in winter. While double glazing is expensive, but window film can also reduce heat transmission and save around $27 a year. Outdoor blinds can also make a big difference.

3. A low-flow shower rose saves energy and water - up to $57 a year. Many models are on the market and are easy to fit.

4. Check to see what insulation you have in the roof. Installing it can be a DIY project or organise to get someone to install it, or top it up for you. Comfort levels can be improved immediately.

5. Learn about other ways to improve household energy efficiency at Energy efficiency at home and start planning your next projects.