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‘Beat the peak’ with energy efficiency for people who need it most: Greens

State-owned housing should be the first priority for Government energy efficiency measures such as insulation, the Greens say.

“We must immediately retro-fit all of the State housing stock with energy efficiency measures, including basic steps such as ceiling insulation,” said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren, the party’s spokesperson on housing.

“Aged and disability pensioners are most likely to experience serious health impacts from to the heat, yet those in State housing are living in some of Perth’s hottest homes.

“Social housing tenants struggle more than most to pay electricity bills – but these bills can be greatly reduced by energy efficiency.

“It’s absolutely not good enough that only some new Statewest homes are being built with insulation installed – the vast majority of the stock is old homes and it is not hard to retrofit these.”

“Meanwhile, our State Government is building new housing stock that is constructed to only the minimal water and energy efficiency standards under the BCA Five Star Plus guidelines,” continued Ms MacLaren, who recently made an extensive submission to the WA Social Housing Taskforce.

“The paradox is that WA is the ‘engine room’ of the nation and one of the ‘wealthiest’ states, yet we have the lowest performing building standards.”

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who is the Party’s national housing and sustainable cities spokesperson, said that by immediately retrofitting all State-owned homes, WA would help address its peak electricity demand problem, which this week caused brown-outs and black-outs for thousands of homes as people turned up air-conditioners.

“By insulating roofs and shading external walls and windows, you can avoid the need for another air-conditioner and yet what we are seeing is peak electrical demand go up each year as people buy more air-conditioners,” Senator Ludlam said.

“Rather than curb this demand, the Government is allowing the people who can least afford to change their situation to suffer in hot homes that will become increasingly expensive to live in as electricity prices rise.”

Greens recommendations to address WA State housing energy inefficiency problems:

• Implement the Greens’ energy Efficiency Access and Savings Initiative (EASI), whereby 10 per cent of existing buildings are retrofitted each year to meet sustainability goals (starting with the most inefficient social housing buildings);

• Consider requiring the Department of Housing to pay excess utility costs for those whose properties fail to meet minimum standard;

• Review provisions for seniors in social housing so that may stay in their homes through design and adaptation measures;

• Establish a Seniors Housing Unit with a strong consultation and collaboration framework that specifically works to address issues faced by seniors in public housing.

For more information or media inquiries, please call Lynn MacLaren on 08 9430 7233,
or for Senator Ludlam, Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763

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