Stimulating Sustainability: Achieving sustainability through your $900 stimulus payment

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Solar Panels by Chandra Marsono (cropped)

Along with the Australian Greens, you may have preferred the Federal Government's recent economic stimulus package to have been spent on infrastructure projects and initiatives that support sustainability and mitigate climate change, rather than cash payments designed to encourage shopping sprees.

The Government has chosen to give people earning under $80,000 a one-off payment of $900*. However you can still choose to use this money to address climate change by increasing your home energy efficiency and minimising water use. Doing this may even save you money in the long run!

Below are just some of the water and energy efficiency products that Western Australian residents can buy for $900 or less, including rebates from the State and Federal governments. There may also some rebates available from your local council. (These have not been included, so ask your local council about what they offer.) Links to information on rebates available in states other than WA are at the end of this document. * Smaller payments are also being made to people earning under $100,000. Information on eligibility and timing for payments is available on the ATO website.

WATER SAVING MEASURES:

NEWSFLASH: The WA Government has just announced they will end the Waterwise rebate program on June 30 - so get in quick to make use of these great rebates! (Click here to read the Minister's statement.)

Rain water tanks are available for various prices depending on the size, material and design. Many cost less than $900, while combined rebates can add up to $1100.
The Federal Government rebate provides:
- $400 for tanks with a capacity between 2000 and 3999 litres; or
- $500 for tanks storing more than 4000 litres.
The Water Corporation's ‘Water Wise' rebate program provides:
- $50 for tanks with a capacity of 600 litres or more (unplumbed); or
- $600, or 50 per cent of purchase and plumbing costs (whichever is the lesser), for tanks holding      2,000 litres or more and plumbed in for toilet and/or washing machine use.

Water pumps for use in conjunction with the tanks start at around $300.

Small grey water systems can cost a little as $500.
- The Water Corporation rebate provides up to $500, or 50 per cent of the purchase and installation costs of grey water systems; while
- The Federal Government rebate is $500 for eligible systems.

Swimming pool covers cost up to $1000, depending on the size.
- The Water Corporation rebate is 50 per cent of the cost, up to $200.

4-star or more washing machines cost around $600.
- The Water Corporation provides a $150 rebate.

Flow restrictors and tap accessories such as aerators are inexpensive.
- The Water Corporation has rebates for regulators rated at three or more stars ($2 per regulator). Each household can have a maximum value of $20 of rebates.

Rain sensors shut off any watering system when it senses rain and cost between $40 and $400, depending on the sophistication of the system.
- The Water Corporation rebate is $20.

Hot Water Recirculator System is a pump/thermostat/timer combination that ensures the water from your hot water tap is warm straight away, which means no water is wasted waiting for the shower to warm up. It is also an energy saver as it reduces the amount of water that needs to be heated in a hot water tank. It costs about $350.

AAA-rated showerheads cost between $100 and $200.

A Shower timer will switch off the water after a warning and costs between $250 and $450.

• Water-saving washing devices, such as the Autowasher, cost less than $100.

Dual flush toilets cost around $300.

ENERGY SAVING MEASURES:

Solar hot water systems (HWS) cost around $3500 depending on the size. However, with all the possible rebates it can end up costing well less than $900, and sometimes nothing at all.
- Federal Government rebate: $1600 if replacing electric storage.
- Sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated from solar HWS (typically 26 to 30 RECs in WA): around $1320, depending on market value.
- The WA Government's Solar Hot Water Heater Subsidy is:
- $500 for natural gas-boosted solar water heaters;
- $700 for bottled LP gas-boosted solar water heaters used in areas without reticulated gas.

• An Electricity Usage Monitor costs around $200. They display the energy being used by cost to encourage householders to be more energy-conscious.

Compact Fluorescent Lights cost as little as $2, up to $100, depending on the type and size. LED are also available to replace halogen down lights for just a few dollars.

Insulation costs anywhere between $660 and $1600 for a standard 120m2 ceiling.
- The Federal Government's Energy Efficient Homes Package offers free ceiling insulation worth up to $1,600 to all Australian home owner-occupiers of currently uninsulated homes. (However, this is not available to any home-owners taking advantage of the $1600 solar HWS rebate).

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO:
There are also many FREE ways to save energy and water. Check the ideas in the following websites:
http://www.actnow.wa.gov.au
www.abc.net.au/water/stories/s1864974.htm
http://www.todae.com.au/WaterSaving/WaterSavingIdeas  
http://www.synergy.net.au/Residential_Segment/SmartWays_To_Save/Smartways_to_Save2.html
http://www.energy.com.au/energy/ea.nsf/Content/Ways+Home

Below is a list of some of the organisations and companies that can provide further information, advice and quotes on water and energy efficiency products suited to your specific situation:

Sustainable Energy Development Office

Water Corporation

Environment House

Green Plumbers

Ecosmart

One Earth Outlet

Todae

Green Pages

The Green Directory

For information about rebates for states other than Western Australia visit:

New South Wales
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/rebates/  
http://www.waterforlife.nsw.gov.au/waterefficiency/households/rebates_and_offers  

Victoria
http://www.ourwater.vic.gov.au/saving/home/rebates  
http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/shopsmart/307.aspx  

South Australia
http://www.sawater.com.au/SAWater/YourHome/SaveWaterInYourHome/rebates_overview.htm  
http://www.climatechange.sa.gov.au/index.php?page=feed-in-scheme  

Queensland
http://www.nrw.qld.gov.au/water/saverscheme/rebate_schemes.html  

Tasmania
(Hobart) http://www.hobartcity.com.au/HCC/STANDARD/REBATE_SCHEME.html  
http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/energy/rebates  

Northern Territory
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/water/wise/index.html

Australian Capital Territory
http://www.thinkwater.act.gov.au/tuneup_rebates.shtml  
http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/sustainability_programs_and_projects/community_rebate_and_efficiency_programs/energy_efficient_programs_and_rebates  

I hope you will find this information useful, consider using some of the tax bonus payment for this purpose and share this information with friends, family and colleagues.

Please let us know what you think and what you use the money for. Email feedback to Rachel.Pemberton@aph.gov.au and we'll compile a record of the outcome.