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The Greens come for the electric hot water services

By johnboy - 31 March 2009 29

The Greens have declared war on one of the simplest and most efficient symbols of western civilisation, the electric hot water system.

    ACT Greens spokesperson for Planning, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, will introduce a bill this week designed to minimise the environmental and financial costs of hot water heating for ACT homes.

    Under Ms Le Couteur’s bill, hot water systems installed in new ACT houses and townhouses will need to be low emission types such as solar, heat pump, or efficient gas. From next year, the efficiency standard will also apply to anyone replacing a hot water system in their existing house or townhouse.

    “With the Government rebates currently available, efficient hot water systems are actually the most sensible economic choice right now,” Ms Le Couteur said.

If it’s such a no-brainer to go with the alternatives why do we need a law?

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
The Greens come for the electric hot water services
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 7:11 pm 31 Mar 09

I have an instantaneous gas hot water system, and it not only works well, but costs absolutely bugger all to run. I like the idea of only heating water you need to.

MrPC 6:32 pm 31 Mar 09

I’ve lived in a few rental premises where the electric HWS needed replacing. Even where gas was available, or where a great solar aspect was available, the landlord always just told the plumber to put in the exact same electic HWS that was there before, the kind without an off peak feature.

When the landlord doesn’t pay the electricity bill, they have no interest in making a sensible choice.

If only these laws could extend to landlords…

affordable 6:08 pm 31 Mar 09

AL, not sure about paying it off in 3 years, saw advertised average saving of $300 a year, a $6000 – $9000 system + installation is going to take on average 20-30 years to pay for, will they last this long, unless you have large family, a standard gas instantaneous system ( $1200 ) is much more cost efficient for households of 1-4 people and more so for people that are already very wise with energy use

Granny 5:01 pm 31 Mar 09

I’m for it.

Gungahlin Al 4:30 pm 31 Mar 09

I’m entirely comfortable with this proposal. I worked on the policy for SEQROC that ended up being pretty much adopted for Qld-wide use that did much the same thing.

The problem with hot water is that along with insulation it is one of the single biggest things a house builder can do to reduce lifelong high electricity consumption (irrespective of what you may think of the greenhouse situation). But electric storage HWS are absurdly cheap, and do not in any way reflect the long term costs to the wider community of taking the cheap route.

It is often this cheap decision that is taken by landlords because they don’t care a bump about the ongoing operational costs – tenant’s problem! For others it’s just “sticker shock” – regardless of the savings paying the thing off in 3 years or less!

For the apparent free-marketeers here, if electric storage HWSs are removed from the market, solar HWS will rapidly hit efficient economies of scale, bringing down the price for everyone.

sepi 4:02 pm 31 Mar 09

My house doesn’t have a gas connection – are they going to subsidise that?

I do think everyone who can should get solar hot water tho – hot water becomes practically free for at least half the year, and cheaper thru the rest of the year.

monomania 3:40 pm 31 Mar 09

Deadmandrinking said :

You have to accept that there is always going to be a need for regulation on certain things. This is where the libertarian approach ends.

Yes but rather than playing favorites, if Government told the electricity distributers that an increasing amount of the electricity they sold had to be sourced from renewables, they certainly wouldn’t source it from solar cells on the roofs of Canberra homes as they are now being forced to do.

Extra cost ActewAGL pays for feed-in tariff electricity is 42 cents/kWh. (50 cents – 8 cents for conventional electricity)

Extra cost ActewAGL charges us for its green renewable energy (not sourced from PV) 6.5 cents/kWh

miz 3:39 pm 31 Mar 09

Heat pump hot water is noisy. Gov installed one at my govie place recently and I hate it. And as I had quite low hot water (electric) bills on off-peak, not sure if this new one, which is touted as more ‘efficient’, will actually save me money.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 3:36 pm 31 Mar 09

And for that matter, if you’re buying a small new car with five seats and four doors, which are all basically the same, why would you buy a petrol one when there two different hybrids available?

Because the economics don’t add up. Small petrol cars don’t use much petrol anyway, but cost WAY less to buy as standard vehicles rather than hybrids. It could take a couple of hundred thousand km to recoup the cost (by which time your hybrid will need a new battery pack anyway – $$$). It’s worth remembering also that hybrids such as the Prius were designed for Los Angeles freeways (ie dribbling along at 10km/h in peak hour) which is where they work well. When you are cruising along above 60km/h or more, being hybrid doesn’t really help much.

If you’re using a hybrid for the purpose they were designed for, they work quite well. For anything else, they aren’t much better than a regular small car, but don’t drive very well and cost a lot more.

Over the next few years you’ll see car makers get better at these types of vehicle, and the results will be pretty amazing. Until then, small diesel seems to me to be a better option.

Deadmandrinking 3:07 pm 31 Mar 09

If consumers and big companies were making sufficiently rational and well-informed decisions, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now.

The planet – Fcuked
The economy – fcuked.

You have to accept that there is always going to be a need for regulation on certain things. This is where the libertarian approach ends. I don’t mind such an approach when it comes to smaller social issues, but environmental issues and the preservation of a healthy economy are huge, huge issues. Screw up either and the effects are catastrophic.

Ralph 2:43 pm 31 Mar 09

Indeed. I am confident that consumers are sufficiently rational and well-informed to much such decisions for themselves – we don’t need governments doing it for us.

monomania 2:37 pm 31 Mar 09

Ralph said :

More green facism – seeking to impinge upon our liberties.

Not only that. If it’s anything like some other green proposals they haven’t accounted for the embedded energy in the solar hot water system or heat pump, just like no body seems to worry about it in hybrid cars or solar PV arrays.

trevar said :

Still, as much as I like the greens, I don’t think it wise to introduce bills that limit the functioning of a free market economy, no matter how stupid the lemmings in the market are…

Well that is what all these subsidies and feed in tariffs are. An interference in the free market. Picked because they are fashionable or economically advantageous to the businesses involved.

Products are sold on the basis that they are beneficial using phrases like
sustainable or environmentally friendly when there is no evidence that they are.

And you call those that don’t swallow this stupid lemmings.

trevar 1:56 pm 31 Mar 09

If it’s such a no-brainer to go with the alternatives why do we need a law?

People seem reluctant. I’ve been noticing lately the number of Honda Civics on the road. Honda offers a hybrid version of the car. It costs next to nothing to run, emits little pollution, costs only a little more, and otherwise offers the same car, and yet, from looking at the little labels on these cars’ arses, most Civics on the road of this model are the all-petrol version. Why?

And for that matter, if you’re buying a small new car with five seats and four doors, which are all basically the same, why would you buy a petrol one when there two different hybrids available? I can understand why a little car might not meet your needs, but if it does, why buy a less efficient machine when a more efficient machine is available?

It looks like a no-brainer to me, but for some reason, people who buy the little cars seem to have a preference for spending more money on petrol. So whatever the principle is that makes people buy less efficient machinery, it is at work both for motor cars and for hot water systems.

Still, as much as I like the greens, I don’t think it wise to introduce bills that limit the functioning of a free market economy, no matter how stupid the lemmings in the market are…

Ralph 1:56 pm 31 Mar 09

More green facism – seeking to impinge upon our liberties.

chewy14 1:32 pm 31 Mar 09

Another cutting edge policy.

Who would have thought the party holding the balance of power in the ACT could be so irrelevant?

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