Solar power and solar hot water provide sound returns on investment by helping to cut costs, reports
INSTALLING energy-efficient elements to new and existing homes is an easy way to win financially, experts say. Rather than simply counting on a property’s capital growth, owners can gain financial rewards by adopting green principles, according to experts in energyefficient design.
Solar power and hot-water systems, rainwater reticulation and simple design principles have been identified as features to reduce costs or even make a profit from the everyday running of a property.
Energy Architecture principal John Maitland says there are many options homeowners can adopt to save money on running costs.
He implores people to remember the most basic things, including insulation, orientation and shading.
‘‘I think the least expensive but most effective measure that people can introduce is significant shading,’’ Mr Maitland says.
‘‘Most of us have very exposed dwellings and we probably have inadequate insulation, and people would be surprised at how much cooler their house can be kept by shading their walls, not just windows.’’
Mr Maitland says solar power and hot-water systems provide sound return on investment for people looking to cut costs.
‘‘It’s an investment in your house and over a period of time you are going to save a wad of money,’’ he says.
ZEN Home Energy Systems chief executive officer Richard Turner says that although the solar feed-in tariff is reducing from October 1, adopting green living will still be worthwhile.
From October 1, the feed-in tariff will be 16c a kWh of electricity returned to the grid, down from the current 44c a kWh.
‘‘Householders will still be able to be green and keep the family budget in the black – that doesn’t change,’’ Mr Turner says.
‘‘With electricity prices expected to rise between 30 and 50 per cent in the next two years, we forecast the return on investment will come back to where it is now or stronger over the next year.
‘‘Many customers are now receiving credits on their power bills – it’s great to see.’’
Mr Turner says solar hot-water systems, which can also be used for hydronic underfloor heating, can cut energy usage considerably and reticulated rainwater can save up to 90 per cent of a family’s water usage.
Northgate homeowner Ron Crane had solar panels installed at his property this week.
Mr Crane believes the solar power system will be a worthwhile investment.
‘‘I should eliminate my power bills altogether on what I’m using now plus get some money back through the feed-in tariff,’’ he says.