February 22nd 2008
Energy in the Home
The Community Voices team who are running in the forthcoming Council elections claim they are set to reduce Townsville's dependence on coal-fired energy.
Gail Hamilton, Greens candidate for the Community Voices team said that climate change poses a great threat and requires action at all levels of government. Community voices aim to increase the uptake of solar hot water in Townsville homes, and encourage passive cooling measures. Ms Hamilton said "we have a plan that by 2020, 80% of all homes in Townsville will be using solar hot water."
Heating water uses a lot of energy. Electric hot water systems are still the most common in Australian homes, and an average system produces up to 4 tonnes of greenhouse pollution per year and accounts for nearly half of the electric bill.
Solar hot water systems have a payback period of between 5 and 10 years and Federal and State rebates have reduced the costs of installing solar hot water systems, however the uptake in Townsville is still slow, with around 5% of our homes having solar hot water, compared to Darwin, where around 45% of homes have solar hot water.
Ms Hamilton is concerned that one of the reasons that uptake is slow in Townsville is because we have a high transient population. Owners of investment houses, or people who only intend to stay for a few years are reluctant to commit to the upfront costs, as they would not reap the benefits of reduced energy costs over the longer term.
Ms Hamilton said "We see our role in council as introducing incentives to implement energy saving measures for all homeowners. One option would be for Council to work with loan providers to supply a low interest loan or reduced rates for energy efficient properties, as well as reducing red tape for installing solar hot water systems"
Opportunities for energy savings in existing homes include more than just hot water systems. Ms Hamilton said that "passive cooling measures such as installing insulation, painting roofs white and increased shading would all reduce our home energy use."
To add your comment, see below