There’s no denying that Australia’s fight to significantly reduce emissions is going to be a hard one. Buildings, including residential ones, amount to a quarter of the emissions generated by the entire country, and with one of the larger population growth rates in the developed world, this issue is only going to get worse.
While the future housing will most likely be built with climate concerns in mind, current homeowners should consider investing in green home solutions on their own. But isn’t that quite expensive? Not necessarily, especially if you take into account just how much you can save on various taxes and bills.
The reality is that green homes are not only better for the environment, but also for your wallet. As these tend to be much more energy-efficient, those solutions will also lower your electricity bills.
To make it even better, there are plenty of financial incentives for environmentally-conscious proprietors. But before we delve into details concerning these two, we should answer a more basic question first.
What sort of green solutions are available to the homeowners?
With the fast pace of progress in the sector of environmentally-friendly technologies, Australian householders have a lot to choose from when making their homes more ecologically sound. Examples of such solutions include:
Micro Hydro Systems
If you live in an area close to a moving body of water such as a river, it might be a good idea to consider installing such a device. Micro-hydro solutions allow you to harness the energy in a similar way as hydroelectric dams do, although on a much smaller scale.
Unfortunately, this system requires quite a number of costly components to function, and if you think that your financial situation is less than perfect, you can consider a debt consolidation loan (here you can read more about debt consolidation loans).
What you lose in debts you can make up for with reduced electricity bills, as micro-hydro systems work equally well even in adverse weather conditions, and are capable of providing dozens of kilowatts of clean energy. With such an energy generation, your home might need no grid electricity at all.
A staple of green-energy production, these devices are perfect for those parts of Australia with a dry, rain-scarce climate. Although solar panels can function in just about any sort of weather conditions, the lack of cloud cover, often typical for arid environments, means that the amount of electricity produced by them will be significant.
Moreover, the maintenance requirements are low, as most of the time, the only thing you’ll need to do is clean the collecting surface when it gets covered by dust and sand. Unused electricity generated by the collectors can be then made profitable by so-called feed-in-tariffs, indirectly reducing your electricity costs.
Many other green home solutions are available, including wind turbines, solar water heaters, and even geothermal power, so it might be worth checking them out if you want to further reduce the emissions generated by your household and the bills for the electricity you get from the grid.
But reduced bills are not the only incentive to make your home more eco-friendly.
Small-scale renewable energy scheme
Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, or SRES in short, is a national initiative aimed at both small businesses and residential houses to help them purchase green energy solutions. Based on the system’s predicted electricity generation capabilities and the region, the small-scale technology certificates (STCs) are issued.
To receive benefits from the STCs, homeowners can give them to an agent for either a price reduction or even a delayed payment option or sell them on their own. The latter gives householders two ways of monetising the STCs: using an open STCs market (beware that the STC cost is dependent on the market conditions) or auctioning them off for a fixed price of $40/STC via the STCs Clearing House.
A large number of renewable options are supported by the program, including photovoltaic collectors, wind power turbines, hydroelectric devices, as well as solar water heaters and air source heat pumps.
Victoria’s solar energy rebate
The local government can offer its citizens a rebate as high as $1400 for photovoltaic panel installation. To make it even more attractive, those interested in the initiative can apply for an interest-free loan that has to be repaid in either a lump sum or over the next four years. To illustrate the point, should your system be priced at less than $2800, you won’t have upfront costs.
Eligibility is based on several criteria, including but not limited to, the maximum taxable income of $180,000/year, the value of the property being under $3 million or the lack of previously existing solar panel installation.
Next Generation Energy Storage Program (ACT)
Established in 2016, the plan offers a significant rebate for the purchase of battery systems for both residential and business installations. Energy storage devices are necessary to supplement electricity not only at night but also during overcast or peak demand periods.
The rebate provided is quite high – either $3500 or 50% of the battery cost (in both cases not including goods and services tax) – the lowest amount applies. ACT householders interested in the program can then choose from the products offered by a number of retailers partnered with the program.
As you can see, making your home more eco-friendly can be a great investment that pays off in the long run. Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but you’ll also see a number of other benefits, such as lowered electricity bills or outright energy self-sufficiency, and on top of that, significant government or state-offered subsidies.
And if you’re still not convinced, think about the property value: such “green” houses are often in high demand and, thanks to eco solutions installed, can often be sold at a higher price than those of a similar size and functionality.
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