More than 800 Victorians have shared their stories of living in inefficient housing in the lead up to a winter at home during the coronavirus pandemic, calling for government stimulus to make housing more energy efficient.
The survey, conducted by Environment Victoria, collected personal stories of people who would benefit from more energy efficient homes, including pensioners, renters and homeowners, as well as those who have already made improvements to their home’s energy performance.
“The triple-whammy of pandemic restrictions, widespread job losses and a Victorian winter is potentially deadly for people living in poor-quality housing who already struggle with heating bills,” said Dr Nick Aberle, campaigns manager for Environment Victoria.
“We can help these people and stimulate the economy at the same time through a program of home energy efficiency upgrades. Amongst our members and supporters who we surveyed, we found strong support for the Victorian government to target economic stimulus money on helping households to use less energy.”
Previous research has shown that spending $2800 on minor efficiency upgrades such as drought-sealing, insulation, low-flow shower heads and efficient lighting can save households around $500 per year, plus reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 1500 kilograms.
“Home energy efficiency upgrades are the perfect stimulus measure because they can happen all across the state, employ thousands of tradies and create permanent bill savings, all while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions at large scale.”
“Government stimulus could focus on fully-funded retrofits for public and low-income homes, while providing other incentives to rapidly accelerate efficiency improvements across the board. These could include no-interest loans for home-owners and landlords, subsidised household assessments and new regulatory standards to raise the performance of rental homes.
“There is now a growing consensus – from the Australian Council of Social Services to the Australian Industry Group – that improving household energy performance should be a central part of our economic recovery.
The survey results follow Environment Victoria’s submission of a detailed paper Building Back Better: Post coronavirus economic recovery measures to cut emissions and improve environmental outcomes for consideration by the Andrews government.
The paper offers practical steps that can accelerate economic activity while delivering a range of environmental and climate-related co-benefits.
“Despite its devastating impacts, the coronavirus pandemic presents us with opportunities for positive transformation,” said Dr Nick Aberle, campaigns manager for Environment Victoria.
As we rebuild, let’s redesign our economy and systems so that they work for all of us.
“Through energy efficiency upgrades we can turn a short-term investment into permanent benefits for Victorian households. It’s an excellent way to build back better,” said Dr Aberle.
Download Environment Victoria’s policy submission to the Victorian government “Building Back Better: Post coronavirus economic recovery measures to cut emissions and improve environmental outcomes” here.
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager
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