John and Rita had ceiling insulation installed eight months ago as part of the Federal Government’s now defunct insulation program. They recently had retrofitting work done by the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Brotherhood Green Program. They had an energy and water efficiency audit and installation of water-efficient showerheads, plastic hoppers installed on exhaust fans and sealing around doors. Brotherhood Green also checked the insulation and made sure it was safe.
John said the house was cold in winter and hot in summer (there is an air-conditioner in the kitchen and three or four fans), but insulation and other retrofit measures had improved the liveability of the house. He supports the idea of a comprehensive retrofitting program backed by the government, noting that the installation of energy efficient hot water systems would be a huge improvement.
“A lot of old people are doing it tough and this sort of program would improve people’s lives if it’s done effectively. It would be a lot cheaper for pensioners if they didn’t have to spend so much on energy bills.”
John saves electricity by running devices off a power board, switching off everything with the touch of one button. “Electricity is very expensive – I make sure I turn off everything when I’m not using it.”