Skip to content Skip to main navigation


We develop leaders who transform
business, society & economies

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?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
29 Responses to
The Greens come for the electric hot water services
Showing only Website comments
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
Skidbladnir 9:57 am 01 Apr 09

Digga, the single issue NIMBY.


Gungahlin Al 9:26 am 01 Apr 09

Mono: I was referring to the costs of electric storage HWSs.
If you wish to go with “instant” gas HWS then fine. As mentioned above they have a short life span though. And get a grey water system, because you go through a lot of water waiting for that instant hot water.

monomania 11:03 pm 31 Mar 09

Gungahlin Al said :

Affordable your numbers are way wrong.

Suffice to say that the net extra cost after deducting RECs and cost of an electric storage system for our 30 tube 250 litre system was just $2375 – or a payback period of 3 years if it saves you $800pa. Which I’m sure ours does vs the electric storage HWS we had in our last rental. (Have to check the old bills…)

Savings of just $300pa? In Canberra? I think not. We have electric boost (which is cheap) on a manual switch, so it only ever goes on when we want it to. Last time was November I think when we had 3 cloudy days running.

Smaller families that are careful with their water use can get away with hot water bills of $200pa. Where is your pay back* period then? Particularly with a gas boosted system that Caroline Le Couteur MLA wants to force people to install. The only people with a payback period will be families that need lots of hot water or are wasteful.

* Not only for the householder but for the taxpayer who has sunk $1600 and ultimately has to pay for $1000 worth of RECs for a system that is saving little carbon because the householder is acting environmentally responsibly.

poppy 10:23 pm 31 Mar 09

I think the Greens haven’t considered the political consequences when many low income earning “working families” (at least those that are owner occupiers) have to come up with thousands of dollars extra overnight because their electric system failed and they don’t have a gas connnection, or they have a gas connection but it’s very expensive to re-configure the gas to connect to a new hot water system. These “working families” may have thought the Greens idea was good at the time. The working families could probably manage the cost of a replacement electric storage system on a credit card but not a solar system. Remember whenever something starts to become mandatory, rebates get scaled back or removed because there is no need for incentive when something is required anyway (eg there is no rainwater tank rebate for a new home where building codes require a tank anyway). I think there may be some battlers going to go without hot water for a while?

Digga 9:54 pm 31 Mar 09

Ah, the ACT “Greens”. Doesn’t matter what you do at the household level – with Earth Hour we Canberrans saved 27 tonnes! If you held Earth Hour every night, that would save just 2.5% of ActewAGL’s gas-fired turbines they’re going to build at the Hume data centre (that output 187,000-280,000 tonnes of CO2 a year).

Why can’t we force THEM to use their own Green Choice renewable sourced energy? Why are we given the guilt trip when they’re building major fossil fuel infrastructure? How many households have to put in solar hot water, energy efficient light bulbs, and replace petrol with hybrid cars to compensate even 187,000 tonnes of CO2?

There’s no hope people.

monomania 9:34 pm 31 Mar 09

Gungahlin Al said :

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.

This may be the case. Its become a mantra being widely quoted by people seeking to use renewable technology that isn’t cost effective at the moment but relies on subsidy.

It’s all very well talking about payback periods for individuals using this technology. There is only a reasonable payback period less than infinity because the taxpayer stumps up $1600 and there are about $1000 of RECs or about 40% of the cost.

I’ll admit solar space heating and solar hot water are a lot closer to cost effectiveness than PV or Hybrids.

sepi 9:03 pm 31 Mar 09

We save a stack more than 300PA on our solar hot water too. And ours came with a 15 year warranty, so service calls are totally free (only had one, but it was painless!).

And apart from the savings on what you would normally use, you can use hot water for stuff like clothes washing, where without free hot water you might choose to go for cold.

smokey4 8:53 pm 31 Mar 09

In 1983 I bought and fitted 300 ltr solarhart hot water service on my roof. It has an electric booster which is required from the Autumn equinox through winter to spring the equinox. The other 6 months of the year it can hold its own fairly well.

I work in the industry and the life of an instant heat gas hot water service is from 8 to 10 years. Alot of heat in a very small area leads to stress fractures etc. My Solarhart is still going strong after 25 years of use.

Sometimes we need the govt to force us to see the long term benefits.

If the government interferes by specifying which technologies get the best market share, it is likely to stop industry from finding better solutions to our natural resource and pollution problems.

Absolutely. It’s worth noting too that the solutions that end up making it to the marketplace aren’t always the most sophisticated, but rather those that offer the best blend of cost and functionality.

When you can buy a small car for less than $16k that gives 6l/100km or better, it hardly seems worth it to spend $35-40k on a car that can do 4.5l/100km, especially when the environmental cost of the batteries is taken into account.

I’d be very interested to see what sort of fuel consumption a Tata Nano achieves. A $3000 car brand new!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | | |

Search across the site