One Million Homes
Imagine a Victoria where electricity price rises didn't cause a ripple because all Victorians - homeowners and renters alike - lived in energy-efficient homes, even making their own electricity from the sun.
Where homes were more comfortable to live in - warmer in winter and cooler in summer - and vulnerable Victorians were shielded from the health impacts of extreme weather events like heatwaves.
Where thousands of Victorians were employed in a thriving energy efficiency industry, manufacturing, selling and installing efficiency measures like insulation, efficient lighting and draught-sealing in our homes.
And where smart energy and water use in our homes was helping us cut greenhouse emissions, fight climate change and save water for our rivers.
That's our vision for Victoria.
We've just released our Six Steps to Efficiency Leadership report which spells out how the Victorian government could deliver on its promise to lead on efficiency. And what's more, taking real action to upgrade the water and efficiency of our homes could stimulate $10 billion of investment and create up to 13,000 jobs.
The Six Steps report builds on the 2025 Roadmap: Overcoming the barriers to efficient housing published by the One Million Homes Alliance in August 2015, which outlines a plan for turning our vision for efficient homes into reality.
Since 2010, the One Million Homes Alliance of Victoria's leading environmental, consumer and social sector organisations has been calling on government to set a clear goal to upgrade our housing stock to an average 5 star and 100 litre/person/day performance standard within ten years.
Our plan could be achieved through a mix of targeted assistance for home-owners in the lowest income bracket, as well as policy measures and financial incentives to assist all other home-owners and landlords invest in improvements.
It’s practical, cost-effective and could be funded by the estimated $2.5 billion the government stands to save over the next 20 years from its energy concessions budget.
The One Million Homes Alliance welcomes the Victorian government's commitment to an "efficient, productive and resilient state" as outlined in the June 2015 energy efficiency and productivity statement "Saving energy, Growing Jobs".
The August 2015 announcement by the Victorian government of increased Victorian Energy Efficiency Targets to 2020 is a good first step. There is now an opportunity to follow up with further important reforms to strengthen the scheme further.
We're looking forward to the Victorian Government's forthcoming Energy Efficiency Strategy (expected in early 2016) to outline an ambitious plan for transforming Victoria's building stock.
Why does it matter?
Show me some stats
- The average star rating of pre-2005 homes is 2 stars or less.
- The average Victorian household spends around $2,800 on their energy bills every year
- Around 60 percent of the energy used in the average household goes on space heating and cooling
- Melbourne electricity prices rose by 84 percent between 2008 and 2012
- Raising performance from 2 to 5 stars can cut overall household energy consumption by more than 30 percent
- The residential sector contributes nearly 20 percent of Victoria’s total greenhouse emissions each year
- Victoria’s 1 million low income households are typically most vulnerable to energy hardship (going without other essential items to pay bills) but generally can’t afford the up-front cost of energy-saving measures
- Around 1.9 million homes (or 86 percent) of homes in Victoria were built before 2005 when the 5-star standard was introduced.
- Energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to cut our greenhouse emissions
- Most older homes will see a significant improvement in performance through spending less than $5000
This is what a 1-Star home looks like
A 0- to 2-Star home is hot when it’s hot outside and cold when it’s cold outside.
How do you increase the star rating of a home?
While every house is different, most pre-2005 homes will see a significant improvement in performance from spending less than $5000 on basic measures such as:
What needs to happen now?
- Introduce a visually simple efficiency rating system covering new and existing homes
- Introduce mandatory disclosure of efficiency rating at the point of sale by 2016
- Introduce minimum efficiency standards for rental properties by 2017
- Set a goal of zero net emission and water-efficient new buildings by 2020
- Improve compliance regimes to ensure construction meets standards
Facilitate accessible and affordable finance
- Broaden low-income household participation in the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target scheme
- Extend Environmental Upgrade Agreements to residential buildings and work with local government to access finance
- Assist low-income landlords and protect tenants from rent increases and evictions
Create a culture of efficiency
- Fund a public information campaign to build community support for action on efficiency
- Support local government and community services to provide advice and services
Deliver targeted programs for those in need
- Fund a low-income energy efficiency program encompassing behaviour change, building upgrades and appliance replacement
- Partner with utility retailers to co-finance retrofits for hardship program participants
- Invest in skills and training and provide opportunities for disadvantaged job-seekers
Upgrade government buildings
- Reinstate and strengthen the Greener Government Buildings program
- Upgrade Victoria's existing public housing stock by 2025 and raise the standard for new buildings
- Support community housing operators to implement efficiency and renewable energy upgrades
Drive improvements in non-residential buildings
- Reinstate a state mandatory efficiency scheme for large energy- and water-using sites
- Develop a 10-year plan for upgrading lower quality mid-tier office and retail buildings.
What will it cost and how would it be funded?
While every house is different, most pre-2005 homes will see a significant improvement in performance from spending less than $5000 on basic measures such as draught-sealing, insulation, window treatments and water-efficient fittings.
A 10-year comprehensive retrofit program targeting low-income households would start with a pilot of 5,000-10,000 homes in the first year, increasing to 100,000 homes in later years as the lessons learnt from the pilot were scaled up into full program delivery.
The program could be funded through a combination of direct assistance for lowest income home-owners, and a mix of financial incentives (such as rebates and low-interest loans), market-based schemes such as the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) and policy measures such as minimum standards to encourage and assist the rest of Victoria's home-owners and landlords to invest in upgrades.
Most of the cost to government in rolling out this program would be covered by an estimated $2.5 billion the Victorian government stands to save in the energy concession payments it makes to households who are struggling to pay their bills.
And we know from our research and industry experience that most home owners can pay off their investment in retrofit improvements within 7-10 years just through the savings they make on their electricity bills.
And once the initial investment - by government or private householder - is paid off, the savings still keep coming. So it's a win-win situation for everyone.
The One Million Homes Alliance
We’ve formed an alliance with other groups to make sure our voice is heard load and clear.
The Alliance comprises consumer, social, and environment organisations including Victorian Council of Social Service, Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre, Moreland Energy Foundation, Alternative Technology Association, Kildonan Uniting Care, Victorian Local Government Association and Energy for the People.
The Alliance is working to show the State government that Victorians support energy and water efficiency, and that it needs to deliver a proper plan of action.
Improving Victoria's building efficiency could create 13,000 jobs
10 December 2015
13,000 jobs in efficiency, new report finds
9 December 2015
Renters stuck in power-hungry houses
22 November 2015
Environment, social sector slam VEET decision
22 May 2014
Token efforts in managing heatwaves
11 February 2014
13,000 jobs in efficiency, new report finds
9 December 2015
Simply upgrading the energy and water efficiency of Victoria’s building stock could stimulate $10 billion of investment and create up to 13,000 jobs, a new report from Environment Victoria has...more
Environment Victoria welcomes continuation of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target
19 December 2014
Environment Victoria today welcomed the announcement by Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio that the Andrews Government will retain the Victorian...more
Embarrassing retreat on VEET for Napthine Government
17 October 2014
Environment Victoria today said the successful Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme and 2000 workers in the energy savings sector have had a stay of execution with the Napthine Government failing...more
Rising energy retailer complaints require action
16 October 2014
The rising rate of utilities disconnections and complaints revealed by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria must prompt government action to address the underlying causes of energy hardship, warns the One...more
Social, environment sector welcome State Opposition support for VEET
8 August 2014
Victoria’s peak social justice and environmental organisations have welcomed the State Opposition’s statements in Parliament yesterday in support of the Victorian Energy Efficiency...more
'Leaky homes' paying the price
20 December 2013
Poorly insulated homes costing Melburnians money
21 Novemberr 2013
Troels Sommerville, Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader
Australian cleantech industry nears $30bn – bigger than car making
18 March 2013
Giles Parkinson, Renew Economy
The Australian cleantech sector boasts revenue of $29 billion a year and employs 53,000 people, making it larger than...more
Energy efficiency 'means savings'
Monday, 10 September 2012
A new report, “2.5 billion reasons to invest in...more
Vic premier says six-star rating will stay
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu says the government has no plans to dump six-star energy rules for new homes.
The six-star energy efficiency standard has been a state...more
About a week into the catastrophic Hazelwood mine fire of early 2014, some surprising information emerged. The parts of the mine that weren’t catching on fire were those areas that had been rehabilitated.
It made sense: coal covered by soil is much less likely to burn than coal...more
While the word ‘inquiry’ might conjure up images of people sitting in a stuffy room speaking legalese, the revelations of the inquiry into coal mine rehabilitation have been anything but boring. In my role as Safe Climate Campaign Manager, I have been representing Environment Victoria at the...more
Malcolm Turnbull on climate change in 2012: "Politicians and shock jocks, scientists and coal barons, all of them can argue for as long as they like, but they cannot change the physical reality."
Claire Dawson from Langwarrin Vineyard Church responds to the Pope's Encyclical.
“Superficially, apart from a few obvious signs of pollution and deterioration, things do not look that serious, and the planet could continue as it is for some time. Such evasiveness...