Soaring electricity prices and climate change are two hot button topics in Australia right now. Political leaders want to be seen to be doing something on both scores through various programs designed to help us pay our power bills and reduce our carbon footprints.
The latest offering came in the Victorian State Budget – a $1.3 billion upgrade to their existing Solar Rebate Scheme to help Victorians access cheaper energy.
They’re offering up to a $1,000 rebate on the purchase of solar hot water systems; and householders can expect to save up to $400 per year on electricity costs.
There’s also a point of sale discount of up to $2,225 on solar panel systems; and you can take out an interest-free loan to help cover the rest. The approximate saving on electricity bills is $900 per year.
In NSW, there are discounts for home owners replacing halogen downlights with energy efficient LEDs. Both the lights and costs of installation are subsidised through approved suppliers, with ongoing savings of $210 per year on 20 light replacements.
New schemes include the Empowering Homes Program, which provides interest-free loans for NSW home owners who purchase home batteries, with the first lot available for installation in late 2019.
Solar systems will also be installed for free in 3,400 low income pensioner or veteran households as part of a trial commencing later this year in parts of Sydney and along the north and south coasts.
All of these offers sound great and help meet some of the financial and environmental concerns of home owners today. But I see benefits beyond this.
Climate change, other environmental issues and the cost of living will undoubtedly become even more front of mind for buyers in the future. In today’s property market, buyers certainly appreciate green features but they’re not yet willing to pay much more for them. I believe this will change.
People design their lifestyle around what is important to them. We’ve seen this in the rise of apartment living – it’s more affordable, there’s plenty available in desirable suburban areas and they provide greater security and peace of mind for the increasing number of Australians who live alone.
The latest Federal Election proved that climate change and cost of living are rising concerns amongst the public and it’s inevitable that this will continue to translate through to how we all live.
In the future, homes with significant eco-features are likely to have high emotional appeal for a growing number of buyers who are increasingly mindful of their own carbon footprints.
Green features like solar hot water, solar panels, batteries, recycled water and fixed appliances with high energy efficiency ratings will become a big point of difference amongst other homes for sale.
Not only will buyers feel good about purchasing greener homes, they’ll also see value in the energy cost savings. Will a home with low running costs justify higher bids at auction? Depends on how emotional people get about saving the environment.
So, here’s my advice.
Home owners should be taking advantage of today’s political pressure around power and climate to green their homes at a significantly reduced cost. There are many small and large rebates or discounts available, you just have to do a bit of Googling to find them.
Green your home today and your power bills will be lower, you’ll feel good about contributing to the environment and you’re likely to see a capital growth benefit when you sell. That’s a win-win-win.