Up In The Hills

The owner is committed to Apollo Bay’s push towards 100% renewables, having already participated in the S.O.S. solar bulk-buy program and investigated home energy efficiency at the first 2021 workshop. The house is already 90% double-glazed, and the owner feels no need to install any cooling system.

In seeking the expert assessment of her home, she said, “I was particularly interested in finding out how to improve the thermal quality of the house given the draughtiness in this exposed high-wind environment. But I also want to reduce power bills and reduce carbon emissions.”

The assessor drew the owner’s attention to the opportunity to replace the old storage Hot Water System that he noted accounts for two-thirds of her electricity account. As well, he found that the property has a remarkably good power supply that is not fully exploited by the size of the existing solar system. The use of thermal imaging showed a number of air leakages and, typical of many homes, some appliances are not optimally efficient.

The assessor recommended increasing the number of solar panels and replacing the storage Hot Water System with a heatpump. Two other cost-effective fixes would include a more efficient shower-head to save both power and water, and the installation of a fixed external awning and an internal cellular blind on the north-facing windows that are leaking heat from inside.

“This was a very useful exercise. As well as the advice about the Hot Water System and the size of the solar system, I became aware that I could fix a number of air leakages around architraves, doors, windows, the skylight, the refrigerator and the ceiling fan. These are jobs I could see to over the next while.”

Richard Keech and the homeowner discussing the inefficient old Hot Water System at the home.

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