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What can you green with $10,000?

By Hosinator - 4 June 2010 28

We recently took advantage of the Federal Government Green Loans Program.  The program provides the home owner or renter with up to $10,000 in an interest free 4 year loan from a small bank to pay for improvements to your home that result in energy savings.

After our initial assessment and receiving the tailored report it stated that our home (an ex Government home in the Weston Creek area.) would benefit from a range of improvements including but not limited too:

– Window coverings such as curtains

– Double glazed windows or the equivalent too

– Water tank

– wall insulation

We decided to install underfloor insulation, magnetite windows (which is simply a polycarbonate window overlaying the existing aluminium windows) and a 5000L water tank.

The results have been exceptional, we’ve noticed no drafts from the windows or the floors, the floors generally feel warmer and sitting next to a window in a cold night now no longer means that you’ll turn blue.

We’ve also seen a marked improvement in our energy bills as we use less gas to heat the house and can take cooler showers.

I was wondering if anyone else has had the opportunity to take advantage of this program and if you have been satisfied with the results?

What’s Your opinion?

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28 Responses to
What can you green with $10,000?
54-11 8:54 pm 05 Jun 10

kuku, who did you get to do the work, and are you willing to give a ballpark cost?

Kuku 9:43 am 05 Jun 10

We haven’t done the $10,000 loan thing but have, over the past few years done the green thing with our house. By far and above the best improvement was the Magnetite windows installed over our existing windows last year. Our 4 bedroom house (c1976) is on a main road, complete with a speed hump out the front. It was pretty noisy at times. Since putting in magnetite the noise has been substantially reduced and our electricity bills have dropped by half.

The magnetite people do (or did last year) an interest free loan as well.

michcon 9:34 am 05 Jun 10

We were fortunate enough to receive the $10K before the program was disbanded – I’ve got to say, it is a real shame that it doesn’t exist anymore, I feel it really wasn’t given a chance. I blame three primary factors –

Duration & Delays
1) The earliest appointment I could book for an assessor was 1 week from calling the bookings hotline.
2) We were further delayed by another week when our first assessor did not turn up (initially I blamed the assessor for not meeting the appointment, but since learning about persistent issues with the booking system software, my suspicions have shifted back to the government).
3) It took 1 month and 20 days before we were sent our report (which was only 3 pages long, accompanied by a 2 page letter saying that the department would shortly be sending me a $50 gift voucher for a hardware store, to ‘help get me started’ which never arrived).
4) It took 2 months and 10 days for our loan to be approved and paid by the participating financial institution (only a small portion of this was due to delays on my behalf, in gathering excessive amounts of documentation, for what is a relatively trivial amount).
I count 4 months and 2 weeks in total elapsed duration. The program commenced on 1st July 2009 and was abruptly cancelled 7 months and 3 weeks later on the 19th February 2010. The reasoning for this decision was that few people were taking up the loans (only 1000 loans had been approved in the first 6 months). However, if you didn’t make an appointment in the first 1.5 months, then what chance did you have of being counted in one of these 1000 people????

Advertising & Publicity
The assessor who came to visit me made claims that he wasn’t as busy as he had initially hoped, not due to there being too many assessors in the field (note, this was early September ‘09), but rather that few people were familiar with the program, and the only advertising material were a limited number of “postcards” that he could hand out to people. I can also testify that maybe only 1 out of every 10 people I spoke to had any idea the program existed, and most wondered how it was that such a fantastic initiative was the country’s best kept secret?

Gross Mismanagement
The government initially stated that there would only be 1000-2000 accredited assessors, this was to provide confidence that there was going to be a sustainable demand for assessments, over the 4 year period. The assessor who did my place left his job as a primary school teacher to embark on a new career in the “green industry” as it was described in the brochure, but mismanagement of the program meant that before too long, there were 7500 accredited assessors around the country, and another 1500 who had paid thousands of dollars to be trained, but were awaiting accreditation.
When the loans component of the program was cancelled, the government redirected that funding and almost tripled the number of free assessments that would be performed over the 4 years. With the real incentive of the program now gone, it’s hard to ignore this was just an effort to save face with the assessors (who I really do sympathise with), at the cost of actually encouraging Australians to “green this country”.

We bought a 1.4KW photo-voltaic solar system, a solar hot water system, and a new fridge.

Gungahlin Al 3:54 pm 04 Jun 10

sepi said :

We had heavy drapes and pelmets put into one room – it has made a big difference. The only pelmets I could find to buy are the fabric covered ones from curtain shops, which are horrendously expensive.

Does anyone know a source of plain wooden pelmets (I don’t want to make it myself).

Magnet Mart: MDF, saw, screws, wood putty, countersink bit, undercoat, paint, fine sandpaper, plasterboard toggles, one weekend. Priceless.

sepi 3:14 pm 04 Jun 10

We had heavy drapes and pelmets put into one room – it has made a big difference. The only pelmets I could find to buy are the fabric covered ones from curtain shops, which are horrendously expensive.

Does anyone know a source of plain wooden pelmets (I don’t want to make it myself).

Gungahlin Al 1:09 pm 04 Jun 10

On blinds, we have found the Luxaflex Duette honeycomb blinds very effective, and there is now a double honeycomb version. But they are pricey, and I saw an add for similar from Kresta the other day so maybe some price competitions for them at last.

The ‘double glazing’ option above will help you all around the clock. In winter you want the sun in whatever windows it can get in, and at that time blinds are no help.

But my priority order would be:
Drafts around doors and windows and in exhaust fans.
Ceiling insulation.
Hot water system (even a simple on demand gas system is a big leap on a storage electric HWS in cost of operation and GHG).
Floor insulation if applic.
Wall insulation (assuming this will be tricker – otherwise maybe up the list a bit).

bernym 12:58 pm 04 Jun 10

We got our loan in March and are also working out how to spend it. We have a water tank on order and was interested in solar hot water but after getting quotes realise that it may not be useful given our roof shape and orientation and the number of overshadowing large trees. The same would apply to solar power. Was going to do insulation, but will reconsider that when the dust settles a bit. The window treatment sounds like a great idea as several rooms in our house are very cold and lose a lot of heat via windows. I was interested in getting proper drapes and pelmets made up to replace the unattractive, flimsy 70s style curtains we currently have – we can decorate and insulate at the same time.
When you crunch the numbers the $10K doesn’t actually go too far so it is hard working out the best way to spend it. I figure we can get the tank and maybe only one other thing for the 10K.
Hosinator – how many windows did you get done (or approx size of coverage) and how much did it cost? I would be very interested in this option if not too expensive – might be cheaper than drapes.

Gungahlin Al 10:52 am 04 Jun 10

Magnetite is sold by Adapt2 at Mitchell. It uses stick-on magnetic strips on your existing windows, to which the frame around the polycarb sheet attaches, so the air gap depends a little on the window frame profile. But defintely a gap – double glazing without ripping the old ones out. So it gives you an affordable way to reduce conductive and convective heat stranfer.
I’m not sure if they have a low-e coating – that would make a great solution. Low-e filters both infrared and UV ends of the light spectrum.
The UV reduces furniture damage/fading. The IR reduces radiant heat transfer (either way) so reduces heat loss out in winter and in in summer.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:35 am 04 Jun 10

Lucky you. We had our assessment done in October and still haven’t received a report. DEWHA sent us a helpful email saying they’d send it to us real soon now. Pity it’s now a complete f*cking waste of time without the loan scheme to back it up. The people who ‘managed’ this program deserve to be sacked.

Gungahlin Al 9:58 am 04 Jun 10

Good on you. It is amazing what a difference a few things can make isn’t it? And in Bonner we have a new display village just opened where all the houses have high star ratings – one even 8 stars.

In our own home we tried to design in everything we could possibly afford. As an example of how it can help: ANZAC Day plus 30 days before we needed to turn the heating on, and that was only because of three days running without sunshine. We are back to no heating again after using it occasionally over just one week. House is 21 degrees when we get home even with only sporadic sunshine.

54-11 9:57 am 04 Jun 10

I’d be interested in knowing a bit more about the magnetite on your windows as well. Cheers.

hellspice 9:48 am 04 Jun 10

with the windows was there a gap between the skin and the glass or does it just go on the glass like tint ?, and how much was it ?

jake555 9:48 am 04 Jun 10

From the website “The loans component of the program was discontinued as of 22 March 2010.”

hjholden 9:31 am 04 Jun 10

Lazy I said :

Haven’t yet.. but will now that you have made me aware of it.


No you wont, the gov has since scrapped the green loan program.

Lazy I 9:26 am 04 Jun 10

Haven’t yet.. but will now that you have made me aware of it.


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