So­lar power and so­lar hot water pro­vide sound re­turns on in­vest­ment by help­ing to cut costs, re­ports

Ben Hyde.

The Advertiser - Real Estate - - Front Page -

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.

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