An action research project spearheaded by Sustainable Living Tasmania trialling an innovative community capacity building approach to low income household energy efficiency education.
For three years, Sustainable Living Tasmania spearheaded a project to assist hundreds of low income households to “Get Bill Smart” and make changes to increase the warmth and energy efficiency of their homes. Coupled with community capacity building and in-home education and energy efficiency upgrades (such as new shower heads and gap sealing), research was undertaken to understand the effectiveness of the various action trialled.
With the support of local champions, trained to share energy efficiency ideas through activities within their community, households were found to reduce their energy use (on average) by around 10% (2.8 kWh per day). The results of the research will help inform future energy efficiency programs and policies.
Below is a list of the energy efficiency upgrades delivered in the Get Bill Smart Projects:
- Upgrade Description Shower head replacement with equivalent 9L/min model
- Hot water storage cylinder insulation with reflective sheeting with bubble-core interior
- Hot water pressure relief valve and pipe insulation with ValveCosy (valvecosy.com.au) and foam pipe lagging respectively. Lagging applied to first 2 metres of outlet and pressure relief pipes only
- Light globe replacement with high-quality, equivalent light output, warm white compact fluorescent lamps
- Accessible power switch installation (EcoSwitch) on home entertainment and IT systems to reduce standby power consumption
- Window, door, fan & vent draught-proofing in heated zones
- Ceiling insulation to R4
- Curtains (thermally lined with full block out) on a track system that acts as a pelmet (trapping air between curtain and window) in heated zones.
- Underfloor insulation
Below is a list of some of the community capacity building approaches used:
- Recruiting as early as possible into the project 12 households to act as Community Energy Champions. The 12 Energy Champions were trained in energy efficiency and communication and drove the focus of the energy efficiency activities and campaign
- Developing a calendar of community events
- Hosting BBQs and information sessions at neighbourhood centres and the community shed
- Staffing stalls at community events, the community centres and other public locations within the area
- Organising hardware shopping tours
- Door-knocking homes in the local area to raise awareness of the GBS project, support the research component of the project, and to engage with householders
- Organising and running home energy efficiency parties (modelled on the Tupperware approach).