In the news on energy efficiency

The Chronicle picked up on the joint Conservation Council – ACTCOSS submission on the ACT Government’s energy efficiency legislation and ran this article 27 January 2015:

Tenants pay the price for inefficiencies

By Mark Sawa

Renters are being hit with some of the biggest power bills in the ACT due to energy intensive housing stock.
Those stuck on the rental treadmill, where home ownership may be forever out of reach, are paying the significant costs for uninsulated houses and archaic heating systems.
This leaves many of Canberra’s lowest earners battling some of the highest energy costs.
A joint submission made to the ACT government by the ACT Council of Social Services and the Conservation Council ACT Region recommended that landlords lift their game and provide basic energy efficiency measures for their tenants.
The submission was part of an ACT government consultation on whether to prolong the Energy Efficiency Improvement scheme beyond December 31, 2015.
If the scheme is extended without change, ACTCOSS director Susan Helyar believes the gap between homeowners and renters will widen.
“There is a growing divide in our city between those households who can cover basic costs of living and those who get trapped in high cost housing, both in terms of rent payments and energy costs,” she said.
“Mandating energy efficiency measures in low cost housing is a critical step we need to take in the ACT to address inequality.”
Conservation Council ACT Region executive director Clare Henderson said improving the energy efficiency of all housing stock was a win for tenants, homeowners and the health care system.
“Owners understand that the capital value of their assets is enhanced by better, more energy efficient stock,” she said.
“This comes from better resale value, and energy efficiency often comes from better-built and therefore cheaper to maintain properties.
“Our recommendation would have the scheme support more activities by landlords so that the gap between rented and owned houses does not continue to get wider.
“If the issue of poor-quality energy-inefficient housing is not addressed there are broader individual and societal problems that follow.
“Among other things, people in poorer-quality housing, especially in terms of heating and cooling, suffer worse mental and physical health outcomes with resultant increased shared public costs.”
An ACT government spokesman said a decision on the continuation of the EEIS beyond December 31, 2015, and any changes to it, was expected in the first half of this year.