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Simon uncertain, what’s energy efficiency to you?

johnboy 19 September 2013 44

Simon Corbell is wondering how important energy efficiency is to tenants:

The ACT Government wants to find out if tenants would take into account the energy efficiency of homes when choosing rental properties, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, said today.

“Higher energy efficiency translates into lower power bills, so knowing the energy efficiency of rental homes

could influence the preferences of potential tenants, and encourage owners to improve the energy performance of their properties,” Mr Corbell said.

“We are investigating whether to introduce new laws that would require landlords to provide potential tenants with energy efficiency information about their properties.”

The ACT Government will be holding workshops with stakeholders, and wants tenants of rental properties to have their say through an online survey.

Whoever did the media released didn’t know the difference between web and email addresses, but at some point the survey should be on time to talk.

For mine I’m wary as hell of anything that makes it harder to rent in this town.


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Simon uncertain, what’s energy efficiency to you?
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Innovation 3:16 am 25 Sep 13

Innovation said :

breda said :

So, no answer to how a perfect house can eliminate the need for heating in Canberra in July? But that’s what you claimed in your earlier post.

Nor have you explained how any house or flat can have perfectly equal temperatures all of the time.

Of course it makes sense to design housing to maximise the benefits of the local climate. But, this EER stuff is a load of rubbish. It’s a boondoggle, i.e. people are making money = no benefit to users.

Actually I thought that I had answered your question for you but perhaps thiswill help you.

Or are you simply splitting hairs because you’re bored on a Saturday? For example, my idea of a hot or cold spot is not a variation between rooms of only 1 or 2 degrees (which is the most any unheated room in our house would ever vary by, if anything). The same goes for comfort level. Some of us could comfortably live in 18 degrees whereas others need it much warmer.

And where’s the answer to my question earlier?

Still no reply eh? From memory I don’t think that you have ever replied to any of my questions posed to you in any thread.

Innovation 3:12 am 25 Sep 13

LSWCHP said :

I don’t often resort to profanity (well…that’s a lie) but…

F*ck this sh*t.

I turn off Cawell Drive onto Parkes Way every morning, and the recently laid road at the interchange is rapidly disintegrating while the contractors fan-dance their way onto their next cushy gig.

One of my colleagues is married to a lovely young woman who is a teacher at a primary school in Tuggeranong. She regularly undergoes abuse from students (primary school students!) and their arsehat no-hoper lost cause parents.

I’ve spent interminable hours in the emergency room at Calvary hospital waiting to get injured children attended to.

Etc…etc…etc…

Get the basics sorted out. Fix the f*cking roads before someone is killed, get some discipline and dignity into our government schools, get the public health system working and a few other things. Then, when that is sorted, worry about the energy efficiency of rented accommodation.

Agreed. But a competent Government should be able to deal with the important and less important issues. Even, in the scheme of things, minor issues like EERs, if effective, could improve the quality of life of some ACT residents.

wildturkeycanoe 7:20 am 22 Sep 13

LSWCHP said :

I don’t often resort to profanity (well…that’s a lie) but…

F*ck this sh*t.

I turn off Cawell Drive onto Parkes Way every morning, and the recently laid road at the interchange is rapidly disintegrating while the contractors fan-dance their way onto their next cushy gig.

One of my colleagues is married to a lovely young woman who is a teacher at a primary school in Tuggeranong. She regularly undergoes abuse from students (primary school students!) and their arsehat no-hoper lost cause parents.

I’ve spent interminable hours in the emergency room at Calvary hospital waiting to get injured children attended to.

Etc…etc…etc…

Get the basics sorted out. Fix the f*cking roads before someone is killed, get some discipline and dignity into our government schools, get the public health system working and a few other things. Then, when that is sorted, worry about the energy efficiency of rented accommodation.

I don’t use profanities either, but F@*#in’ oath, you are spot on. I wholeheartedly agree with this comment and will support you as a candidate for the next election, to stand up for what we really need. To our government I say “Screw farting around with feel good policies that achieve nothing but jobs-for-the-boys and start to spend our money on things that matter.”

LSWCHP 6:13 pm 21 Sep 13

I don’t often resort to profanity (well…that’s a lie) but…

F*ck this sh*t.

I turn off Cawell Drive onto Parkes Way every morning, and the recently laid road at the interchange is rapidly disintegrating while the contractors fan-dance their way onto their next cushy gig.

One of my colleagues is married to a lovely young woman who is a teacher at a primary school in Tuggeranong. She regularly undergoes abuse from students (primary school students!) and their arsehat no-hoper lost cause parents.

I’ve spent interminable hours in the emergency room at Calvary hospital waiting to get injured children attended to.

Etc…etc…etc…

Get the basics sorted out. Fix the f*cking roads before someone is killed, get some discipline and dignity into our government schools, get the public health system working and a few other things. Then, when that is sorted, worry about the energy efficiency of rented accommodation.

Innovation 2:56 pm 21 Sep 13

breda said :

So, no answer to how a perfect house can eliminate the need for heating in Canberra in July? But that’s what you claimed in your earlier post.

Nor have you explained how any house or flat can have perfectly equal temperatures all of the time.

Of course it makes sense to design housing to maximise the benefits of the local climate. But, this EER stuff is a load of rubbish. It’s a boondoggle, i.e. people are making money = no benefit to users.

Actually I thought that I had answered your question for you but perhaps thiswill help you.

Or are you simply splitting hairs because you’re bored on a Saturday? For example, my idea of a hot or cold spot is not a variation between rooms of only 1 or 2 degrees (which is the most any unheated room in our house would ever vary by, if anything). The same goes for comfort level. Some of us could comfortably live in 18 degrees whereas others need it much warmer.

And where’s the answer to my question earlier?

Innovation 12:49 pm 21 Sep 13

wildturkeycanoe @ #35 There may be many people who don’t make a decision based in any part on EER but, all other things being equal, wouldn’t you choose a five star house over a one star house (or try to negotiate down the price of the lower rated house?

As for your rental, you must have been extremely “annoyed”. I can never understand how a house with electric in slab heating can get a good rating. We had one once and we simply couldn’t afford to run it.

I agree that the current EER system, both in terms of methodology and process, definitely needs improvement. For example, any incentive for an assessor to overstate an EER should be removed and assessors should be held accountable for their decisions. After all, an overstated rating could cost home owners thousands more per annum in energy costs and tens of thousands over the life of the home.

Masquara 12:05 pm 21 Sep 13

Mayumi_ACTGovt said :

We’d love to hear from all renters! Fill out the short survey that will only take minutes to complete – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/surveyforrenters

You aren’t going to take the results seriously, surely. Government policy should NOT be driven by spurious, naive and foolish internet surveys. For a start, how do you know how many times I have completed the survey? How do you know whether I have ever rented in the ACT? How would you distinguish me from a landlord pretending to be a renter, to skew the results?

breda 11:30 am 21 Sep 13

So, no answer to how a perfect house can eliminate the need for heating in Canberra in July? But that’s what you claimed in your earlier post.

Nor have you explained how any house or flat can have perfectly equal temperatures all of the time.

Of course it makes sense to design housing to maximise the benefits of the local climate. But, this EER stuff is a load of rubbish. It’s a boondoggle, i.e. people are making money = no benefit to users.

Innovation 9:14 am 21 Sep 13

breda said :

A properly designed house will not have hot and cold spots (unless that is what is intended in a particular area). A really well designed house, even in Canberra, won’t need any form of artificial heating or cooling although this can be very expensive initially.
—————————————————————————————-
I would be fascinated to hear about how a “properly designed house” would be comfortable without heating in, say, Canberra in July.

I am also intrigued by the notion that a house could be so utterly independent of its orientation, construction and functions that the temperature is the same everywhere at all times.

The Unicorn House!

Sigh. Those are the only bits that you took from my post? Not big on self reflection are we?

The trick is as much thermal mass as possible, as much thermal mass directly exposed to the sun as possible, the ability to expose all rooms to the north (or at least be able to open them up to other rooms) and minimise any leaks from your house. If you cover any thermal mass that is exposed to the sun (eg carpet on concrete) or need to heat the air then you’ve lost the battle.

If heating is ever necessary, radiated heat is best. Hydronic heating will allow heat sources such as solar tubing to heat internal thermal mass (or insulated thermal mass storage banks), which can be stored for days.

All of this is only limited by your imagination (and, of course, your bank balance) but, if you don’t believe in unicorns, perhaps you don’t have any….

wildturkeycanoe 7:26 am 21 Sep 13

“I haven’t looked, but I would be curious to see any evidence that people don’t have at least some degree of regard for EERs when buying or renting a house. If I was renting, I would prefer to live in a smaller or run down property or in a distant location than compromise on a valid EER. As a buyer, I would only be interested in a 4 or 5 star house or a lower rated house that I felt I could cost effectively modify to significantly raise the rating.”

Consider me as your first statistic to this as a home buyer. EER had nothing at all to do with our house purchase. We bought whatever we could afford with what the bank would lend us. It wouldn’t have mattered if it had an EER of 1 or 8, we still would have bought it because it’s all we could get. Had we worried about things like EER, which is 5 incidentally, we may still be renting.
Back when we were renting, the property we resided had an EER of 4.5, even though the quarterly heating bills in winter were $1000+ due to a massive 10kW+ of electric in-slab [the only heating available]. The main ACTEW 80A supply fuse in the meter panel actually melted into a blob one winter, due to the massive amount of power it was drawing [60 amps plus], proving to me that this was indeed a huge planning mistake. The clothesline only got sun until around lunchtime, then it went into shade. I don’t know if that affects EER as the dryer got used more often than not. Northerly aspect meant little due to the fact no windows faced north and the living area had huge westerly facing windows letting summer afternoon sun straight in, cooking us even with the evap cooling running flat out.
Assessors for energy efficiency seem to be able to find pretty much any excuse to give a house another star, such as the type of building material or the angle of the roof. These things do not mean squat when the bedrooms are 10 metres away at the other end of the house from the single wall furnace, which won’t even warm your toes whilst watching TV.
I am supportive of an energy efficiency rating being mandatory for all premises, on condition that the government cleans out the trash and implements a system and staff that isn’t biased by either government departments, builders or any other party that has something to gain from the exercise.

breda 8:39 pm 20 Sep 13

A properly designed house will not have hot and cold spots (unless that is what is intended in a particular area). A really well designed house, even in Canberra, won’t need any form of artificial heating or cooling although this can be very expensive initially.
—————————————————————————————-
I would be fascinated to hear about how a “properly designed house” would be comfortable without heating in, say, Canberra in July.

I am also intrigued by the notion that a house could be so utterly independent of its orientation, construction and functions that the temperature is the same everywhere at all times.

The Unicorn House!

Innovation 5:16 pm 20 Sep 13

breda said :

…..Every house, no matter what its supposed energy efficiency, has hot and cold spots. It’s the sun and placement of windows at work – plus wet areas typically have more thermal mass, so can get very cold in winter in this climate (because they never warm up properly)….

….It has been demonstrated that people’s house hunting (whether buying or renting) is primarily shaped by price, location and amenity. The EER rating, even if it were accurate and useful – which it often isn’t – doesn’t even make a blip on the radar in comparison. It’s just another makework boondoggle for assessors and bureaucrats….

A properly designed house will not have hot and cold spots (unless that is what is intended in a particular area). A really well designed house, even in Canberra, won’t need any form of artificial heating or cooling although this can be very expensive initially.

Based on your comments, I suspect that your house has minimal thermal mass other than in your wet areas which would likely explain your EER of 3. In winter alone, appropriately placed thermal mass in a house will absorb heat quickly and radiate a very nice even heat for hours or even days afterwards.

I imagine that the current EER system assesses a whole house on the assumption that every room in that house is regularly used. If I was living in a house on my own and if that house required assisted heating or cooling, most likely I would only heat or cool one or two rooms at a time. The cost of living that way though, is not a good indication of the overall efficiency of the house. (I guess it would be the same as providing an energy rating for a clothes dryer that only dried one sock at a time).

I haven’t looked, but I would be curious to see any evidence that people don’t have at least some degree of regard for EERs when buying or renting a house. If I was renting, I would prefer to live in a smaller or run down property or in a distant location than compromise on a valid EER. As a buyer, I would only be interested in a 4 or 5 star house or a lower rated house that I felt I could cost effectively modify to significantly raise the rating.

Perhaps another problem with the current EER is that there is not a broad enough range. There would not be much difference between a 3 and 5 star house if some houses were easily achieving ten or twenty stars.

breda 2:31 pm 20 Sep 13

As I said in my post, I have no idea how the assessor came up with an EER of 3 for my place. My energy bills are much lower than many that have been mentioned in other threads on the subject, and I don’t stint myself on either heating or cooling, nor do I switch every light off except the one I am sitting under.

Every house, no matter what its supposed energy efficiency, has hot and cold spots. It’s the sun and placement of windows at work – plus wet areas typically have more thermal mass, so can get very cold in winter in this climate (because they never warm up properly).

People who buy homes with a low EER often do so on the basis that a lot of the problems can be fixed later, by insulation, putting in windows, double glazing and so on. However, when I went house shopping, I ignored the EER (which is nonsense) and checked out things like eaves, orientation, placement of high use areas etc. Sure enough, it worked for me.

It has been demonstrated that people’s house hunting (whether buying or renting) is primarily shaped by price, location and amenity. The EER rating, even if it were accurate and useful – which it often isn’t – doesn’t even make a blip on the radar in comparison. It’s just another makework boondoggle for assessors and bureaucrats.

beardedclam 12:55 pm 20 Sep 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Innovation said :

breda said :

.. there is not a skerrick of evidence to support the notion that EER ratings have a significant effect on people’s decisions on whether or not to buy a home. And, as people have pointed out above, there is no evidence that it would override factors like location, price and amenity for renters either.

My house, for reasons known only to the alchemists who decide these things, has an EER of 3. It faces perfectly north. The living areas and my bedroom are warm in winter and cool in summer. The bits I don’t use much are the reverse. So what? I worked all that out before I bought it by looking at the house in situ and checking on a map for the orientation….

I agree with your first two points and, in years past, would probably have agreed with your third point. Now, having lived in a house that is probably five+ stars, I would never again want to live in a house in Canberra with a lower rating. There are no cold or hot rooms and, as well as the substantial energy savings each year, there is an unquantifiable comfort level that can’t be provided by artificial pockets of heating or cooling.

Your ability to ascertain whether your house faces North is commendable but many don’t even have the skills to do that. Also, while I agree that EER is somewhat subjective, your inability to understand, or at least question, why your own house only rated a 3 rather than perhaps a 5 or 6, is suggestive of the need for more information to be provided to prospective tenants.

An EER of 5, as our house is supposed to be, is totally and utterly a stab in the dark. How can a house with an EER of 5 end up costing in excess of $500/quarter for natural gas alone, which only heats the living space for 8 hours of the day/night whilst the bedrooms are freezing cold? This is a house built new in 2009 of all things. I improved the EER myself by installing two split A/Cs instead of the “5 star” gas wall furnace, supplying heat AND cooling at a fraction of the cost of the original heating only appliance. I honestly think the building company had the approval people in their back pocket. With the corruption we see in our regulatory authorities to date, I can only see this new idea as another gimmick that will only see the developers and inspectors win, whilst tenants sit in their freezing living rooms wondering where all the warmth has gone.

EER’s are done by private licened assessors. EER’s are meant to be lodged with a DA for new home or additions of 50% GFA or greater. I would think they are assumed to be correct as the assessor is registered professional in that area, not the DA assessing officer. My point, who really looks at the EEr of these houses anyway.

beardedclam 12:51 pm 20 Sep 13

Reprobate said :

Ghettosmuf87 – you’re new around these parts, right?

new or not, you dont speak for me and i vote

beardedclam 12:50 pm 20 Sep 13

Chop71 said :

Pfff
I hope you can follow me now that you bought up Economics 101

This simple subject covers elasticity of demand, which will state some of these costs are passed on to renters while a portion of the cost will be absorbed by the landlord.

There is also the cost of the red tape that is burdened by the ACT government public service that all ratepayers cover.

So yes there will be additional costs, some paid by the landlord, some paid by the renters and yes all of us will pay a small portion so that Mr Corbell can feel warm and fuzzy telling us how “green” our rental properties are.

Do we need it?

Thats why they are asking the question……. you dont know if you dont ask. Thats life 101

beardedclam 12:43 pm 20 Sep 13

Chop71 said :

FFS – more red tape for the nanny state.

As much as this could be a “good idea” I’m sure when landlords pass on the cost to renters, you will be the same people who complain about the cost of renting and housing in Canberra

FFS relax. It is a survey to see if renters actually care.
Nothing has been done yet. You need to know if the renters will use the info first, and if they want it, why cant they have it. Although as previously mentioned, not the market where someone looking for a rental can be knocking them back.

arescarti42 12:42 pm 20 Sep 13

Chop71 said :

throw in a line and a graph and you must be right. eh

Hardly, it’s a pretty fundamental principle.

Chop71 said :

Some would argue the renters are the price takers not the landlords?

In a competitive market both are, and the market sets the price (i.e. prices are determined by the interaction of total demand and supply of the good or service). Any individual buyer or seller has zero impact on the market price.

This is in contrast to markets where individual firms/consumers have market/monopoly power. Companies like Coles, Microsoft, etc. and consumers like the Federal Government aren’t price takers, because they’re big enough to influence the market/have market power. They do face sloped demand/supply curves.

The market for rental accommodation however, is made up pretty much entirely of tiny suppliers and consumers, and none of them have any market power.

Chop71 said :

In your search for a rental property (as you mentioned you’d be happy to pay more) have you ever negotiated down (or up) the rent you’d like to pay?

I doubt it.

Well actually, I was looking for a new rental about four months ago. I negotiated one landlord down from $380/pw to $350pw (the property had last rented for $390pw).

It’s actually beside the point though, because both those prices were above the market price. I moved on to another property, and the landlord didn’t get a tenant until they dropped the price to $300.

It really is as simple as supply and demand.

Mayumi_ACTGovt 12:16 pm 20 Sep 13

We’d love to hear from all renters! Fill out the short survey that will only take minutes to complete – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/surveyforrenters

Chop71 11:36 am 20 Sep 13

throw in a line and a graph and you must be right. eh

Some would argue the renters are the price takers not the landlords?

In your search for a rental property (as you mentioned you’d be happy to pay more) have you ever negotiated down (or up) the rent you’d like to pay?

I doubt it.

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