CESILIA FAUSTINA AND ELERI TEESALU
An energy efficiency program rolling out in Perth’s eastern suburbs, and specifically targeted at low income households, will monitor people’s energy use in a bid to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Curtin University sustainability researcher Jemma Green said energy waste was a big problem with less expensive appliances and houses which were not well designed.
“There are two main problems for energy wastage which are buildings and appliances,” she said.
“We need buildings that will require less air conditioning and heating.
“Also, we need more energy efficient appliances.”
A 2013 survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that energy cost represented about 10 per cent of the gross weekly household income of low-income households, compared to 3 per cent for high-income households.
Ms Green said one of the other reasons for energy waste across all income groups was consumer behaviour and lack of education programs.
“Energy consumption for households [is] affected by consumer behaviour as well,” she said.
“We need to educate … people and at least change their behaviours by 20 per cent.”
The City of Armadale, City of Gosnells and Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale are offering residents an educational program called Switched on Homes.
Switched on Homes monitors energy use of volunteer low income households to assess and reduce how electricity is used.
Ms Green said programs like Switched on Homes were great.
City of Gosnells councillor Russell Lawrence said he had heard good things about the Switched on Homes program.
“From what I heard it works very well and is very well accepted by the City of Gosnells,” Cr Lawrence said.
“Anything environmentally impactful is very important especially in educating people in these issues.”