The Snowy Hydro Schemes Effect On Building

The new “Snowy Hydro” scheme that Malcolm Turnbull revealed this week is set to increase the generation of energy by 50%. It would power up to an additional 500,000 households.

The end game is to be able to make power more reliable (especially for those experiencing blackouts), renewable (well let’s hope) AND more affordable.

It is set to be a four-year project. So how will this affect any of us?

Malcolm has said “It will enable energy efficiency and help stabilise electricity supply into the future. This will ultimately mean cheaper power prices and more money in the pockets of Australians”.

More money in our pockets, sounds like he’s looking after us??

What if I could tell you, that you could save twice as much money 20 times faster?

Stay with me here, I promise it will make sense!

Imagine having a bucket with holes in it, if you are trying to fill the bucket up what makes more sense; turning the tap on further to provide more pressure? Or, fixing the holes in bucket, and then filling it up?

There is so much more we can do to lower our energy costs to supplement power being made more affordable. (Whenever that will be).

Insulation is paramount when building or renovating your home. It is the cheapest and most cost-effective energy saver when used properly.

I repeat. When used properly.

It needs to be the right material, for the right area, installed correctly. There are several insulation products that give different energy ratings. i will talk more about those later.

What about Solar though?

Sure, solar has its place no doubt, and the advances that Tesla and other companies are making with battery storage is extremely exciting.

However, Solar panels and batteries are far less efficient if we haven’t even got the right insulation products in place to begin with. It just goes back to the bucket analogy. Any products which generate energy (e.g solar panels) should be considered icing on the cake AFTER all other measures are taken to stop the loss of heating/cooling in your home.

How does insulation work for our home?

In Summer, it is like an esky. The outside is hot so we want to keep the inside cool

In Winter, it is like a thermos. The outside is cool so we want to keep the inside hot

What we want to create for our home is essentially the same principles as the esky and thermos. We want to fully insulate the outside of the building (Building envelope) to separate the inside elements from the outside elements.

So in saying that, If there is no lid to the esky how much more quickly does the ice melt?

Picture 1: Where you lose the most heating and cooling each season.

Independent studies have shown “If all the sources of draughts in a typical home are added together, it would be equivalent to having a 1.5m x 1m hole in the side of your home”.

Think gaps under skirting boards and floor boards, under doors, exhaust fans, wall vents, around windows. Downlights is a big one as before LEDs you could not cover downlights because of the heat and the possibility of a fire starting. (Remember the 2008-09 government insulation initiative that ended in tragedy). So the ceiling insulation would be like a piece of Swiss cheese. Not ideal for keeping in cold air or warm air.

Picture 2 and 3 – Air leakage location and amounts

Here are some facts about insulation.

(The links to these facts are at the bottom of this page for people wanting to read further)

Effective insulation installed correctly can save up to 60% of energy used to heat or cool your home

Over 30-40% of the cost of heating and cooling a building is lost to uncontrolled air leakage

5% gaps in insulation can degrade insulation effectiveness by up to 50%

As a Country, we are way behind. Testing has shown that Australian buildings lose conditioned air 2 to 3 times more quickly than the UK standards demand

Heating and Cooling account for an average of approximately 40% of household energy costs across Australia

What does this all mean then?

Well before building or renovating, ask what sort of insulation is included, research some products online or visit a supplier in town to look at the products. If you are planning to spend 5 years in your current home the cost savings could be huge year after year, especially if energy prices continue to go up.

On average, with correct insulation installed. The money saved you could purchase flights to the Phillipines, Indonesia, Western Australia, New Zealand or do a number of other things like have Foxtel, pay for netflix etc. Bottom line is, it is more money back in YOUR pocket faster!

We have some insulation brochures online, simply ask us via email or Facebook message and we will email them through within 24 hours!!!

Next week I will delve into other ideas for ongoing cost savings for your home.

As the old saying goes “The greenest power, is the power you don’t have to produce!”






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