Energy put into low income households


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.


Jemma Green at her house

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.


Houses in Gosnells

“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.”

Categories: Environment, News Day

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2 replies »

  1. What a patronising article that adds nothing informative to a difficult problem.

    Ms Green’s time would have been better spent consulting the PhD at Curtin’s Sustainability Policy Institute who is looking in to why those in Perth who own energy efficiency homes aren’t getting the benefits they expected or were believed capable of achieving.

    So not even “set and forget” technology is necessarily going to produce amazing savings or efficiencies – let alone “education” [for the poor].

    I believe the lady PhD is studying 10 homes in Fremantle to this effect.

    Perhaps the reporters can contact this PhD Candidate and preview new insights in this area? Until then, Ms Green, please don’t refer to those on low incomes as “these people”.
    Hi Diana

    I think you make a good point about the original wording of this article.

    I’ve reviewed the article, which did imply Ms Green was talking about people on low incomes only – which I don’t believe she was. Hence some editorial amendments now above.

    As an aside, Ms Green was very generous with her time in terms of lending her expertise to this student story.

    Thank you for reading InkWire, and getting in touch.

    regards, Chris Thomson, News day editor.

  2. Hi Chris.

    It would be informative, I feel, to interview and follow the PhD student who is studying why the recommendations that are often made about more energy efficient housing and the great plethora of energy efficiency tips which have been with us for years now, don’t necessarily produce the prescribed benefits beyond a certain point.

    Good luck with it all.

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