Page 3264 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022
demonstrating how we can make our homes more energy efficient and climate wise. A particular challenge for us in moving forward is how we renovate our homes in ways that are climate wise, reflective of carbon impact and scope 3 emissions and the circular economy.
Given the need to profile good practice, I rise today to share my experience of visiting a wonderful example of a Canberra house retrofitted to have modern design and good energy efficiency. The house I visited in Watson was one of the existing brick veneer dwellings built in the suburb in the 1960s. The original home was quite small by today’s huge standards and had an internal layout that did not really match up with the way in which we use our houses today. The owners told me that they would be spending upwards of $4,000 a year on energy bills and were still uncomfortable and cold. Their house had a gas central heating system that failed one day and, I suspect, spurred on this project.
The owners resourcefully decided to retain their existing house, change the floor plan by moving the internal walls and put on a modest extension for a bit more space. While they were at it, though, they radically upgraded the energy efficiency of the house to 7.7 stars. They also went all electric, disconnecting from the gas network and switching to heat pump hot water, reverse cycle air conditioning and an induction cooktop. They installed a rooftop solar system and a battery, with the assistance of a loan from the Sustainable Household Scheme. The owners reported to me that their annual electricity bill is now $750, which also includes running their EV, with no more fossil fuels.
A couple of things really impressed me about this project. First, a house built nearly 60 years ago was saved from demolition and many of the original materials in the house were able to be reused. Rather than just throwing away something old, this family managed to keep the original house and turn it into something that works for them today, and they saved considerable amounts of embodied carbon in doing so. Certain parts of the house look modern but, if you look, you can also see the original Watson house there too.
Secondly, while the move to seven stars, agreed to by building ministers earlier this year, took over a decade and was something that was opposed for being too hard, a quite old Canberra house was turned into a 7.7-star home by using good design and people willing to try something different. This kind of thinking should really be applauded. We have many houses in Canberra like this one that will need to be upgraded over the coming decades.
I would really like to thank the owners for hosting me for a tour of their home. It was a house that was functional and a home that was loved. I cannot wait to see more families taking up the challenge of building and renovating their homes in this way in the future.
Kenny the dog
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.55): My best friend, Kenny, a little spotted Dalmatian, went to sleep forever a month ago. His heart murmur had reached a point