Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Stimulus spending on public housing gets the green light, big banks support a green recovery and how much you could be saving by putting solar on your roof – especially when you’re using an extra $2.78 a day worth of energy working at home.

Australian homeowners are losing up to $1400 in energy bills every year by not switching to solar according to SolarQuotes chief executive officer Finn Peacock.

Under his estimates, installing 6.6 kW of solar, 20 panels, could have quarterly savings of $352 in NSW, $264 in Victoria, $321 in South Australia, $144 in West Australia, $118 in Tasmania, $247 in ACT, $250 in Southeast Queensland and $116 in regional Queensland.

Projections take into account rooftop solar’s varying costs from state to state, potential rebates and green loans to finance the installation.

Investing in solar could be a cost-effective way for homeowners to save money and help the planet in the long run, with household energy costs increasing to an additional $2.78 per day as the pandemic forces people to work from home.

Energy Networks Australia has released a new fact sheet outlining how much at home activities such as laptop and television use will cost in addition to normal expenses.

The most significant increase in costs come from heating and cooling systems, which account for over half of daily energy use.

To combat some of these rising costs, Energy Networks chief executive officer Andrew Dillon advises reducing heater temperatures by one degree, which can save up to 10 per cent on the power bill.

Public housing booms in NSW and Victoria

With COVID-19 ravaging the economy, the New South Wales and Victoria governments are recruiting underworked builders to reignite the public housing sector.

Victoria announced a $500 million package, the largest since the GFC, to construct 168 new buildings and upgrade another 24,000 units. Of the sum, $58 million is going toward new social housing units and immediate upgrades.

In NSW, $33 million is going toward an influx of pre-planned two storey townhomes to deliver quick housing in metropolitan Sydney suburbs.

Big banks support a green recovery

Australia’s banks are calling for a radical green economic recovery to pull the nation out of a pandemic induced crisis.

The Australia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), a collection of Australia’s major banks, superannuation funds, insurers, financial regulators and academia, released a statement urging for stimulus measures to be aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement.

ASFI co chairs Jacki Johnson and Simon O’Connor believe that aligning with these standards will combat both the immediate economic upheaval and looming climate change.

“Any response to COVID-19 must be used as an opportunity to ensure that while rebuilding jobs, that sustainability, stability and resilience are core to any recovery and renewal program, positioning Australia more strongly for any future crisis.”

Returning to reusables with contactless coffee

With disposable cups on the rise during the pandemic, a new “contactless” method of coffee service is looking to bring reusable cups back into cafes as soon as possible.

As part of the method, customers will place the reusable cup on a porcelain plate as the barista makes the drink in a separate “dine in” mug. The barista will then transfer the drink into the reusable cup without touching it and return it to the customer via the plate.

Other businesses, such as HuskeeCup, have resorted to a swap cup method where customers are served in a reusable cup to be returned and thoroughly sanitised.

Nearly 5000 cafes are participating as a part of the Responsible Cafes network — find a location near you.

Energy efficiency as “first fuel” for sustainable future

Integrating energy efficiency into technology is the best strategy to cost effectively cut emissions according to Alan Pears, a leading expert in energy strategies.

Energy efficiency, he said in a recent webinar, is the “first fuel” for sustainable energy that has already delivered seven to nine times more reduced energy consumption than renewables without even trying.

Pears proposed an integrated solution, combining energy efficient smart technology, smart demand response management, improved energy storage, on site energy production, beneficial energy tariffs and contracts and energy trading.

The webinar is part of the Victorian Clean Technology Fund seminar series — watch the full video here.

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