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Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT) – A review

By thatsnotme - 10 September 2012 13

The Home Energy Advice Team will, for $30, visit your home (pre-2006 construction, detached or semi-detached), have a look around, and provide advice on the best steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy you use.

I have no association with this program, aside from having used this service today, but thought someone could find this information useful.

If you spend $2,000 on the priority improvements suggested in the report, the ACT Government will give you a $500 rebate – plus you get the $30 you spent getting the assessment back.  That can include ceiling / wall insulation, internal and external window coverings, and more.

I’ll be up front and say that the main reason I got the assessment done, was because I knew our ceiling insulation was bad (low R rating, badly laid – R2.5 in the ceiling, batts laying across ceiling batons, made even worse when ducts were installed for ducted gas heating) and needed replacing.  It was a no brainer to take a couple of hours for the assessment, to save $500 for work we knew we had to do.

The actual assessment was fantastic.  The guy who came to do it had a Masters degree in sustainability (from memory – that may not be right, but it was in that type of field) and certainly knew what he was talking about.  I was expecting someone to head in and basically be working from a check list – ‘this change will have this effect because that’s what’s on my list’ type of stuff.  What we got though, was ‘what you currently have isn’t effective, because what you currently have doesn’t match what science tells us is effective – here’s how the science works, and here’s what you can do instead’.

Don’t take that to mean that the assessment was a lecture in climate change or anything like that though.  Yes, there was mention of climate change and other environmental issues, but I think that was mainly because we were willing to talk about that stuff.  It wasn’t the purpose of the assessment.

All in all, it’s a service I’d thoroughly recommend – especially if you’re thinking of making improvements to reduce your energy bills.  Even without that though, I learnt a lot about how our home – a 40 year old place built in an era when energy was cheap, and if you needed to run the heater all winter long that wasn’t a big deal – loses and gains heat.  The information was practical, at the end of it all we’ve got a clear list of priorities, and some of the suggestions were very cheap to implement (eg, under $10 to draft seal our front door).

I reckon this is the way rebates should be done, and I hope this scheme can continue.

http://www.actsmart.act.gov.au/your_household/heat_energy_audit

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT) – A review
spiderinsider 11:25 am 11 Sep 12

We had Matt too, and he was great. I thought I knew a fair bit about improving energy efficiency, but I learnt a lot. The other useful thing is you get six months to spend the $ and apply for the rebate, which gives you an incentive to actually do it (but is a long enough window to organise everything). Highly recommended all round.

billyboy 11:20 am 11 Sep 12

I thoroughly recommend getting a HEAT audit BEFORE even CONSIDERING spending thousands on solar panels. Let me ask you this – imagine you have a hole in your fuel tank, what do you do? If you’re of the solar PV mindset you’ll install another tank to compensate, if you’re into efficiency like the HEAT program you’ll fix the hole!

Did you know the average Canberra home can save the same amount solar panels produce at the flick of a switch by dropping their heating temperature by 2 degrees?
Did you know replacing blinds and venetians with proper curtains can save you the same again?
Did you know that in many cases you can simply add solar panels to your existing electric hot water service and save the same yet again if you run it unboosted as much as possible?
Did you know you can save that amount again by turning off that really old fridge you’ve got running up the back shed?
Did you know the true cost of the feed in tariff is met by the rest of us?
DId you know if you dont sell your RECs at the time of purchasing a solar PV system the true cost is over $8000?
And the scary bit – do you know what happens to those RECs you sold? For those who don’t know, they’re bought by industry and they can then go on polluting on an even bigger scale.

Do yourself a favour and don’t install another fuel tank until you fix the leaks!

thatsnotme 11:02 am 11 Sep 12

Sandman said :

We just had the same audit done. The guys name was Matt and he was awesome. He really knew his stuff and was a self proclaimed “energy geek”. He was here for about 2 hours, gave me heaps of good DIY ideas as well as all the major stuff. I politely nodded when he suggested how much energy I could save by turning off the TV, transact box, router and media Pc at the wall, but all his other suggestions were easy things to do that don’t impact on everyday life. We had things we were going to do anyway and why not get $500 knocked off the price?

I’m pretty sure that was who we had too.

Sandman 10:51 pm 10 Sep 12

We just had the same audit done. The guys name was Matt and he was awesome. He really knew his stuff and was a self proclaimed “energy geek”. He was here for about 2 hours, gave me heaps of good DIY ideas as well as all the major stuff. I politely nodded when he suggested how much energy I could save by turning off the TV, transact box, router and media Pc at the wall, but all his other suggestions were easy things to do that don’t impact on everyday life. We had things we were going to do anyway and why not get $500 knocked off the price?

steveu 7:57 pm 10 Sep 12

We had Kath Byrne from HEAT and she was excellent. Recommended.

thatsnotme 7:38 pm 10 Sep 12

poppy said :

Hmm… I have vertical blinds throughout that are so trashed (cords ripped off), etc, that I’ve thrown a number of them in the bin and have no coverings on those windows. I have to get new blinds/curtains for the whole house which would be more than $2000. Plus I have a large hole in my back door and need a new one. Are they seriously going to give me $500 back for stuff that obviously is going to have to be done anyway, regardless of energy efficiency?

Yes, they will give you $500 back for work that needs to be done anyway. No, it isn’t regardless of energy efficiency. For example, you couldn’t claim a rebate on $2,000 worth of new vertical blinds with terrible insulating properties. Their terms and conditions state your window coverings need to be Lined blockout curtains (or equivalent blinds), where the curtain provides better insulation than the window covering it replaces, if any.

If you’ve got to do all that anyway, make sure you get the audit done before you start to get quotes – it’s a no brainer really.

thatsnotme 7:33 pm 10 Sep 12

dave__ said :

Anybody know more about the rebate thing? Does it have to be through a licensed installer, or can you get it from buying insulation and installing it yourself?

The rebate is available for DIY work. Basically, you need to send in a photo to prove that the work has been completed (eg, your insulation fitted in your roof) and you may be audited, to prove that the work is complete. The guy who I had suggested taking before and after photos to send in.

The $2,000 threshold can be for multiple things too, as long as they’re on the priority recommendations. So if you spent $1,500 on new ceiling insulation, and $500 on external window shades, you’d qualify.

poppy 7:28 pm 10 Sep 12

Hmm… I have vertical blinds throughout that are so trashed (cords ripped off), etc, that I’ve thrown a number of them in the bin and have no coverings on those windows. I have to get new blinds/curtains for the whole house which would be more than $2000. Plus I have a large hole in my back door and need a new one. Are they seriously going to give me $500 back for stuff that obviously is going to have to be done anyway, regardless of energy efficiency?

dave__ 6:02 pm 10 Sep 12

Anybody know more about the rebate thing? Does it have to be through a licensed installer, or can you get it from buying insulation and installing it yourself?

thatsnotme 3:40 pm 10 Sep 12

I’d actually wondered whether our experience was typical or not – I guess we did get lucky.

If it wasn’t for the fact that the rebate was tied to having the assessment done, I’m not sure we would have done it, but we ended up being glad that we did – hence the recommendation. Hopefully there are more good experiences than the poor ones you guys had.

cubicle01 3:40 pm 10 Sep 12

We emailed them when it was still free but they never got back to us. OP might be enough to encourage us to try again.

bugmenot 3:18 pm 10 Sep 12

We got a student who ticked boxes. Probably spent less than 10-15 minutes in the house and could not answer any of my queries.

Walked through the house and said “oh, you have downlights… tick”. Received a very generic report covering each of the tick marks. Didn’t get any real “useful” info from the report, just common sense items as far as I’m concerned.

Still got the rebate though. Offset some of our house works. Every little bit helps.

sepi 2:55 pm 10 Sep 12

Seems you got lucky. We got a batty old lady that couldn’t remember which room we’d already done, even when we had literally just walked out of that room. The report was also all over the place- she had confused the toilet with the bathroom etc. The rebate is good though if you are planning heavy cutrains or pelmets or double glazing etc.

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