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The Fed’s Ceiling Insulation Subsidy Scheme – hot or what?

By moneypenny2612 - 16 August 2009 29

Today’s post is about the Federal Government’s ceiling insulation subsidy scheme. There are two of them – one for home owners and one for renters – offering a subsidy of up to $1600 towards the cost of installing ceiling insulation. It’s part energy efficiency feel-good factor, part economic stimulus for household trades.

You would think Canberrans would be prime takers of this sort of thing – we vote light-Green, we have a pretty extreme climate and lots of energy inefficient housing (although, surprisingly, the ABS says that nearly 80% of Canberra homes are insulated. Now, either the insulation is not fit for this location or the law of averages has not caught up with many landlords yet).

Anyway, are Canberrans taking advantage of the Government’s current largesse?

I haven’t been able to find any statistics for the ACT take-up under the schemes; although so far nationwide more than 25000 homes have had insulation installed under the schemes.

There have also been media reports recently in other places about supply and skills shortages leading to profiteering and shonky work by some tradies who sign up to the scheme. (You can read all about it here, here, and here.)

Have Rioters have taken advantage of the scheme? Can you please comment on your experience?

Can you recommend any tradies or have you had any British backpackers crawling around in your roof cavity?

Is your home more temperate? Are your halogen downlights blowing more often? Is your household energy bill lower?

Do you care?

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
The Fed’s Ceiling Insulation Subsidy Scheme – hot or what?
AG Canberra 11:41 am 17 Aug 09

For those of us quick on the uptake (we had it installed on 29th of June) we have had to pay up front and then claim back the cost ($1100 for 120m2). Of course we are still waiting for the Dept of Environment to give us our cash back…..

The key issues that have been highlighted are:

Installers not boxing around down lights (20 lights add considerably to installation costs)
Arguments about the R ratings of existing insulation (too high and you don’t qualify)
And the supply of the batts (CSR has had to build an entire new factory to cope)

Oh and make sure you get 4.1’s put in – that what the Gov is prepared to pay for so why go for anything less?

Pandy 9:21 am 17 Aug 09

air loss through gaps:

In cars, it is recommend that cars allow air flow through the car and to used recirculation sparingly.

In offices, air is replenished to prevent sleepy workers and prevent the spread of airborne disease. Is it about 10% per air volume per hour?

Healthy air and non-stinking enviroments to me means getting a good air flow, through gaps/open windows. We are not Europe, where they get minus 20 degrees and more in winter.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 8:51 am 17 Aug 09

At home we have a policy of only heating the areas we use. We have a high-efficiency ducted gas system, and can turn off areas we don’t use. By closing doors to these areas, as well as kepping bathroom and laundry doors closed, our heater hardly comes on, even at night. Of course, we have ceiling and wall insulation.

Having lived previously in a house with no insulation (where the gas wall heater ran constantly just to keep the place above frozen solid), I thoroughly recommend decent insulation. It makes a hell of a difference.

It’s just a shame so many tradies who install it are useless, careless pricks.

jedwards 10:02 pm 16 Aug 09

Did you know you that you can check how well your insulation has been installed without climbing around in the roof with a torch?

If you’re really concerned about improving your energy efficiency and comfort levels then also consider air leakage testing and draft sealing. Australian houses are very leaky by international standards and it is well recognised overseas (in research and building standards) that there is little point improving the R value of your home’s building envelope unless you also make sure it is well sealed. Until you stop the direct heat loss through gaps and cracks in the structure, you’re compromising the effectiveness of other measures such as insulation and double glazing. The Australian Government (DEWHA) and the Building Code of Australia have recently jointly funded a review of international air leakage standards and the potential for reducing the GHG emissions of Australian construction. Last year the Aus Government’s ‘Your Home- technical manual’ recognised air leakage as the most effective method of achieving direct energy savings.

Our research shows that, in winter, the average Canberra house is losing all of its heated air (goodbye precious dollars and hello GHG emissions) 2-3 times per hour! Research suggests air leakage testing and sealing can save as much as 50% on heating costs in Canberra with a pay back period of around 3 years. Once you know where the air leakage problems spots in your home are, the fixing is generally quite simple, so DIY types can further shorten the payback period.

ChrisinTurner 8:28 pm 16 Aug 09

I have an apartment above me and one below. I therefore don’t need ceiling insulation. I need wall insulation for a south-facing double-brick wall. When will the government give me some help?

rosebud 8:09 pm 16 Aug 09

We took up this offer too. We used JustRite and got good upfront advice. However, the subby who installed it left a bit to be desired. When he eventaully showed up, after failing to turn up the first time (“I fell asleep” – no joke, that’s what he told us) he did a reasonable job.

vg 7:09 pm 16 Aug 09

“In my opinion, you’d be silly not to take up this offer but you also need to be able to afford it as you have to pay the $1600, then make a claim for the grant; we didn’t know this till they sent us the bill!”

Ah……no you don’t. The only thing you pay in anything in excess of $1600, as the installer claims the grant on your behalf. We had it done by ACT Insulation. Superb job, highly professional, and we paid the $380 that was the excess of the $1600.

If you made the claim yourself and paid out $1600 that smells highly fishy to me. We signed the form that the installers lodged (work order) saying it had been done. The $1600 part was up to them.

And yes there is a huge batt shortage, the upshot being they upgraded us to the next level batt for no extra cost!!

lumnock 6:42 pm 16 Aug 09

I’m very keen to hear from any people who can recommend qualified and competent tradies for roof insulation also.

pptvb 6:36 pm 16 Aug 09

Footloose said :

In my opinion, you’d be silly not to take up this offer but you also need to be able to afford it as you have to pay the $1600, then make a claim for the grant; we didn’t know this till they sent us the bill!

This was pre-July.
The govt now pays the installation company the $1600. Anything over that. you pay.

Bundybear 6:32 pm 16 Aug 09

Daughter and son-in-law who rent from my good mate have had insulation installed at mates recommendation. While a terrific scheme, it has clearly pressured the industry, with their job being initially held up by shortage of batts, and then a very poor job done by young contractors, with gaps in insulation, a tile removed to provide light was left out of location causing leakage and damage to the ceiling, and a light fitting pushed in. Still waiting for repairs to be carried out, and the job to be completed. So choose your installer carefully. And make sure you get quotes for the same insulation ratings.
In spite of the crappy job, it’s made a huge difference to their house in terms of warmth, and I imagine their bills will be much lower, as the heater is usually on 1 not 5.

frank2112 6:09 pm 16 Aug 09

I looked into it but you have to get an installer to put it in. Seriously, it’s not rocket science. Maybe a smaller rebate for the do it yourselfers like myself would encourage me to upgrade the insulation from the 20 year old stuff in my roof.

ricketyclik 6:09 pm 16 Aug 09

We cut the heating bill in our last house by about 60% after I installed insulation in its ceilings, so of course I was planning to insulate our new (40 year old) house. Bad arthritis in the shoulders got in my way, so I was coming to terms with having to pay someone to install it when bang! the grant arrived.

Thankyou very very much Big Kev 😀

pptvb 4:43 pm 16 Aug 09

I’m currently 114th on the waiting list with Capital insulation.
So, Yes.
The wait was shorter with Just-rite, but $ 430 cheaper. ( fyi)
Apparently there’s a huge Batt shortage.

Footloose 4:10 pm 16 Aug 09

Moneypenny, we took advantage of the insulation grant and it has been wonderful for us.
First thing I noticed is that my young sons health immediately improved. He has a history of chest problems over winter and this pretty much stopped the day we had our insulation installed. Less cold air at night = less coughing and more sleep for everybody.
Talking to the installers, they said they were struggling to keep up with demand. They were now importing/sourcing insulation materials from overseas as they had run out of locally made insulation products.
Our only gripe with the whole thing is that the installers were a little rough when they came. They left rubbish all over our yard and cut off our phone line when they went into the roof. When they went in to fix it (1 month later), they trod on an exhaust fan and it now sounds like a lawnmower when we turn it on.
In my opinion, you’d be silly not to take up this offer but you also need to be able to afford it as you have to pay the $1600, then make a claim for the grant; we didn’t know this till they sent us the bill!

mred 3:52 pm 16 Aug 09

I’ve just emailed off the gas and electricity bills for a $30 energy audit from ACT Energy Wise. It will be interesting to see what they suggest and if it includes insulation. We’ve got some dodgy looking loose stuff in our roof.

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