1M TRANSFORMING MY HOME
We're going on a household transformation journey, exploring the small and large changes we can make in our home and transport to help us move beyond fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas)
There's not just one way to electrify your home. To start out here are some guiding principles for energy upgrades:
Energy efficiency first: reducing the amount of energy you use in your home is the best way to start.
Passive efficiency: Insulation and draught proofing
Active efficiency: The appliances you use in your home - white goods, TVs and lighting. and specifically electrifying cooking and hot water.
Don't wait for it to break: Most of the time, you won't know your hot water system is about to break. If it's more than 10 years old, consider upgrading this first. If you have a gas system that breaks, you'll likely replace it with the exact same gas system if unprepared, locking your-self in for 10-15 years on gas...
Solar: Coupling energy efficiency and removing gas will reduce the amount of electricity needed to power your home. This can mean installing a cheaper smaller solar system in place of a larger more expensive system. The more you electrify the more you can benefit from solar!
If you rent: You are not powerless if you're a renter. While big ticket items will be harder to get unless you can convince your landlord, or better regulations are introduced, there are measures you can take. Think about buying efficient high energy star appliances that you will take with you if you move out. These can be more expensive upfront, but cheaper over the life of the product. You could also start by swapping over your light bulbs to LED ones that use far less energy than the old, candescent globes.
Check out our incredible partners who can offer real solutions to help us transform our homes:
Growing your knowledge
Making the right decisions when you're transforming your home and the way you get around will come from doing your research and being well informed. Check out this non-exhaustive Electrification Resource list:
- Beyond Zero Emissions work on Buildings and their book, The Energy-Freedom Home: How to wipe out Electricity and Gas bills in nine steps (Published with Scribe in 2015 - check your local Australian library for a copy)
- Sustainability Victoria
- Climate Council
- Rewiring Australia
- My Efficient Electric Home (MEEH) facebook group - This is an amazing group of everyday people electrifying their homes who regularly share tips, ask questions and support each other!
Electrifying your heating
Best electric option: Non-ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning (RCAC)
How does it work? RCAC are able to both heat and cool, making them a great all-year round heating and cooling solution for your home. RCAC are a type of heat pump which use the magic of physics to generate more energy than used. Heat pumps are able to pull energy from the air for free and require very little additional energy to deliver heating and cooling inside your home.
Efficiency: Gas heaters or traditional electric heaters are no match for the efficiency of heat pumps. RCAC are able to create between 4 to 5 units of energy for every 1 unit of energy used. Gas heaters will deliver less than 0.8 units of energy for every 1 unit of energy used.
Benefits: There are several benefits to utilising RCAC. They are cheaper to operate than gas, create no indoor air pollution risks and unlike gas heaters, are able to both heat and cool your home effectively.Cost to purchase: Costs vary on several factors, namely the number of units installed and the size of each unit. Costs can range from $2,500-$10,000. It's an investment for sure.
Electrifying your hot water
Best electric option: Hot water heat pumps.
How does it work? Hot water heat pumps, like RCAC leverage the same underlying technology of heat pumps to create heat. In hot water systems, hot water is heated and stored in a storage unit for use on demand.
Efficiency: Hot water heat pumps are very efficient and are at least 50 to 75% more efficient than gas or electric systems.
Benefits: There are several benefits to utilising hot water heat pumps. They are cheaper to operate than gas and electric systems, operate well in majority of climates and act as a thermal battery when soaking up electricity created by renewable energy.Cost to purchase: Costs vary on several factors, namely the number of units installed, the size of each unit and what you had before the upgrade. Costs can range from $2,500-5,000. Check out our heat pumps partner Reclaim Energy
Electrifying your cooking
Best electric option: Induction.
How does it work? Induction cooktops are able to cook via heating that occurs from electric currents induced in the cookware by rapidly shifting magnetic fields in the cooktop.
Efficiency: Replacing a gas cooktop with an electric induction unit will lead to a halving of energy demand from cooktop use. Induction cooktops are also about 10 per cent more efficient than standard electric cooktops.
Benefits: Beyond being extremely energy efficient, induction cooktops are excellent to cook with, safe and health. Many famous chefs and commercial kitchens are using induction cooking now such as Neil Perry.
Cost to purchase: The price of induction cooktops have fallen considering over the years to be cost competitive with gas cooktops. For some households, there may be an additional cost to upgrade electric wiring. Don't forget to look at the size of your current stove and whether you'll find an equivalent size induction stove or will have to alter your bench.