Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Legislative Assembly in hot water

By Kramer - 18 August 2009 13

Today the ACT Legislative Assembly will be debating a bill for mandatory energy efficient hot water systems for new homes, which is being spearheaded by the Greens.

ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says:
“The Liberal Party, in their 2008 Climate Change policy release, said they would require ‘Solar or other low energy hot water systems on all new dwellings’.
“The Labor Party’s Climate Change policy launch claimed that a re-elected Labor would ‘encourage the phasing out of electric hot water systems’.
“There will be some explaining to do if either party backflips on these promises.”

So are the Greens going to help us save the environment, or just squeeze the little people out of an already overpriced housing market?

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
13 Responses to
Legislative Assembly in hot water
peterh 3:54 pm 19 Aug 09

Andrew Barr has been on about Hot water systems – First stage of hot water system phase out proposed to commence on 1 May 2010 for new and established houses in gas reticulated areas – he doesn’t mention whether it will be rebated or user pays.

If it is mandatory, and the user pays, i cannot see the populace getting behind this one.

there is also a crack at the greens – Greens Hot Water Bill may as well be renamed the Swiss Cheese Bill it is so full of holes.

Gungahlin Al 1:31 pm 19 Aug 09

No argument from me on that. As the large builders have taken there unsuitable shelf plans nation-wide, the stock of housing being built has become worse in many ways.
Only the increasing minimum standards have clawed back some of these losses.
Hence my support for such measures to force a largely unwilling industry to change.

GardeningGirl 8:44 pm 18 Aug 09

Gungahlin Al said :

Good builders will educate their clients about these issues, and work to seel their clients a ‘better’ home rather than just a ‘bigger’ home. Just like they’ll work with a client to modify plans to make for better passive solar gain rather than taking the easy way of just jamming more insulation into an off-the-shelf plan until it trips over the EER line.

I remember being educated when looking at houses built twenty years ago (the names Seedab and Four Seasons come to mind). When we visited the display villages in Harrison and Forde we couldn’t get any information about what environmentally friendly features the houses had, apart from the flavour-of-the-month water tank, or any details of how the houses met the mandatory energy rating. Seems we’ve not only not made any progress in the last two decades, we’ve gone backwards.

Gungahlin Al 6:45 pm 18 Aug 09

The cat did it said :

ACT Government should have had mandated insulation and double glazing for new homes twenty years ago. And if you are worried by the cost, then cut back on some ‘aspirational feature’ of the McMansion.

I’ve got no problems with phasing out traditional electric hot water systems, but we’d have to be careful that the Greens, in a fit of righteous purity, don’t go too far, and seek to mandate leading edge technology- highly efficient but expensive systems. Just shifting to natural gas will give major benefits. And remember, solar systems need a booster for when the sun don’t shine, and usually this is (you guessed it) mains electricity.

Also, don’t get sucked in by the talk of hot water heat pumps. These use mains electricity too, and in Canberra they are significantly less efficient than claimed (Hugh Saddler in 666 last week).

Mostly agreed. I’ve found Caroline a pragmatic person, so cutting edge as you call it is unlikely to be mandated. And I have concerns about heat pumps from the noise aspect, having had a battle to get an a/c compressor relocated from outside our (naturally ventilated) bedroom window, in the Defence house next door.

No renewable HWS is cheap to buy, but they sure are cheap to run. And there’s the problem. Everyone building a house tries to get as much as they can within whatever their budget is. And people equate bigger with better rather than building what they need. So a 5th bedroom becomes more important than a tank and a solar HWS. Then the bedroom lies empty, while the energy and water bills keep rolling in…

Some call it ‘sticker shock’.

If an efficient HWS is not optional (like tanks, and qualified plumbing installations, and engineering assessments, and all those myriad of other things that are mandatory for any new house), then people will take that into account when seeing how much wriggle room their budget has for ‘extras’. And 3 months after moving in (and 6 months, 9 months, etc), they’ll be rapt at how low their bills are.

A mandatory requirement makes the sticker shock a non-issue. Good builders will educate their clients about these issues, and work to seel their clients a ‘better’ home rather than just a ‘bigger’ home. Just like they’ll work with a client to modify plans to make for better passive solar gain rather than taking the easy way of just jamming more insulation into an off-the-shelf plan until it trips over the EER line.

As a builder I know says: “None of this stuff is rocket science – it’s just ‘north is that way’.”

And Jivrashi: “So it’s a known fact that electric host water system is inefficient?”
Absolutely it is. Equivalent to running an urn in your house 24/7 instead of boiling a jug when you want a coffee.

I-filed 6:38 pm 18 Aug 09

If you take short warm showers, gas or electric you’re going to use less energy than if you take long hot showers or deep baths, regardless of the system. The Greens can be very lacking in thinking skills. When I had an energy audit done on my house, the tester turned on my shower full bore. Tsssk tssssk – 15+ litres a minute. When I tested it at the actual flow rate I use for a shower, it was pretty much the equivalent of a water-saving showerhead.

James-T-Kirk 4:21 pm 18 Aug 09

ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur says:
“The Liberal Party, in their 2008 Climate Change policy release, said they would require ‘Solar or other low energy hot water systems on all new dwellings’.

I love the term LOW ENERGY when applied to heating water…. Water only heats up at the rate at which you put energy into it….. The little water molecule doesn’t care whether it is being heated by Gas, Electricity, or The Sun…

Solar “assisted” systems do use less energy, granted, but ‘other options????” What other options (Gas/Electric)… We are simply not allowed to drill deep enough to get a good geo-thermal heater running in this territory.

If they were serious, then we could drill… Then we wouldn’t need to pay for electricity either.

Bah Humbug!

Oh – And – the Greens – I voted for them, cause the candidate was HOT!

caf 3:19 pm 18 Aug 09

It seems like the current housing market is supply-constrained – which means the price is set on the demand side, by what people are willing to pay. So mild increases in construction costs won’t be passed on, because they won’t change what people are willing to pay – they’ll have to be absorbed by the developers.

jackal 2:41 pm 18 Aug 09

It’s being debated tomorrow.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 1:41 pm 18 Aug 09

Don’t ever be fooled – genuine reductions in energy use and emissions will not come cheap. But naturally the people howling for climate change solutions know this, and are happy to pay more for every aspect of their lives, from food to transport to electricity to holidays.

The environment is very important, but so is people being able to feed their kids. We need to take both sides into account when we make decisions.

/insert silly comment about there being no point feeding children if there’s no planet here…

The cat did it 1:21 pm 18 Aug 09

ACT Government should have had mandated insulation and double glazing for new homes twenty years ago. And if you are worried by the cost, then cut back on some ‘aspirational feature’ of the McMansion.

I’ve got no problems with phasing out traditional electric hot water systems, but we’d have to be careful that the Greens, in a fit of righteous purity, don’t go too far, and seek to mandate leading edge technology- highly efficient but expensive systems. Just shifting to natural gas will give major benefits. And remember, solar systems need a booster for when the sun don’t shine, and usually this is (you guessed it) mains electricity.

Also, don’t get sucked in by the talk of hot water heat pumps. These use mains electricity too, and in Canberra they are significantly less efficient than claimed (Hugh Saddler in 666 last week).

Jivrashia 12:48 pm 18 Aug 09

“The Labor Party’s Climate Change policy launch claimed that a re-elected Labor would ‘encourage the phasing out of electric hot water systems”.

So it’s a known fact that electric host water system is inefficient?

Then what does one do with all those new apartments around Canberra that only have electricity for heating everything?

And here I thought the developers were thinking only about the environment by having no gas piping into these apartment, and not skimping on cost…

benoncehobbled 12:30 pm 18 Aug 09

Dante, every additional item and issue of compliance in housing adds extra costs of regulation and administration to the construction of homes, thereby squeezing more and more people out of the housing market. Whilst I agree that houses should be more energy efficient, all of this costs a lot of money. For example, the Greens want to “mandate a minimum rating of six stars for new housing developments”. And who’s going to pay for that? It won’t be the Greens or the Government!
And whilst we’re talking about housing, the Greens are cited in the CT today complaining about the construction of a 10-storey residential development in Lyons because units aren’t as energy efficient as homes. But doesn’t high urban density provide critical mass for accessible and sustainable public transport, the Greens other great issue of concern?

Dante 12:08 pm 18 Aug 09

Kramer, can you care to explain how mandating energy efficient hot water heating in new properties “squeezes the little people out of an already overpriced housing market”?

We’re not talking tens of thousands of dollars per household here so I can’t really see the correlation.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site