Radio personality Jon Faine and SECCCA’s EO Greg Hunt discuss how the Energy Saver Study project proves positive changes can be made to assist householders with their energy usage and comfort in their homes. Vulnerable householders were the focus of the project, but the findings can be rolled out in all homes.
Our FRAP project concluded with a very informative Outcome and Skill Development workshop held in Dandenong in May.
Member councils shared what they had learnt with other alliances, state government, Melbourne Water and research and educational institutions such as RMIT.
Sharing information in this way is exactly what alliances do best – we not only leverage funding, but the networking and collaborative opportunities enhance members’ ability to deliver high quality outcomes to ratepayers.
We would also like to congratulate our member councils on their successful VASP projects (funded by the State Government’s Victorian Sustainability and Adaptation Partnership): Climate Ready! for Bayside, Kingston and Morning Peninsula, and Bass Coast’s project in conjunction with five other Gippsland councils to embed climate adaptation into their strategies and plans.
The SECCCA Low Income Energy Efficiency (LIEEP) Energy Saver Study (ESS) has provided its final report to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS). The three-year study has trialled a range of approaches to support 320 low-income households in six of SECCCA’s member councils to improve their energy costs and efficiency, comfort, health and wellbeing.
Seven representatives from the study team recently attended a national LIEEP forum in Adelaide to share their knowledge, experiences and findings with representatives of the 20 studies in the program and DIIS policy advisors to inform future policy and programs. The passion and commitment of this group was palpable and the learnings are sure to be carried forward into their work in the future.
Key learnings from the program were:
- Recruitment and engagement
- Identify exactly who the target audience is and what outcomes the government wish to achieve for them
- Understand the demographic
- Target each demographic to achieve desired outcomes
- Identify the target audiences’ motivations
- Recruit the target audience through existing trusted organisations
- Have strong two-way conversations with target audiences to design the delivery program
- Allow a long lead and delivery time to see measurable outcomes
- Messaging needs to be:
- personalised / tailored to audience
- direct, clear & concise
- authentic, respectful, honest
- Deliver information through trusted, existing sources
- Aim to build the capacity of the target audience
- Pitch the support as ‘help’ for target audience
- Use multiple message paths/means (verbal, written, social media, webpages, photos, texts etc)
- Provide consistent messages repetitively to target audience
- Provide support for both home retrofit works and energy efficiency-related behaviours being undertaken by the householders.
- Messaging needs to be:
For more information including the Final Report Executive Summary and House In Order: How to achieve energy efficiency and performance in your home, go to http://energysaver.seccca.org.au/
SECCCA’s Energy Saver Study project is approaching its conclusion and the Energy Liaison Officers have now completed their contracts.
This team is a fine example of a collaborative effort from the different councils coordinated by SECCCA. The Energy Liaison Officers supported each other, enhanced their councils individually, and delivered consistent outcomes across the various demands of the project.
- developed new skills during the project
- stepped out of their comfort zones
- achieved all the required deliverables of the project
- helped other ELOs in other councils
- increased their council’s capacity
Many have moved on to new and exciting roles and will be an asset in the drive for reduced carbon emissions and improved housing conditions for the vulnerable. Thank you to all the HACC Team Leaders and environment teams for your support of the ELOs throughout this project; it would not have been successful without you.
Lucy Allinson, ELO Team Leader, Energy Saver Study
Are you Climate Ready? That was the question asked of residents, holiday home owners and businesses of Bayside City Council, Kingston City Council and Mornington Peninsula Shire recently.
These councils have collaborated to help their communities develop their own climate change plans looking at the range of things to take into account during heat waves, storms and bushfires to keep themselves safe.
At the website launch, the mayors of the three councils joined forces to tell as many people as possible about this work. Kingston’s Mayor Cr Tamsin Bearsley told of her difficulty in drawing her primary school daughter into talking about climate change. ‘It’s all too bad’, she says. But when they sat down to use Climate Ready, the daughter became more and more enthusiastic as the more they looked the more they found that they could do. It wasn’t ‘all bad’ any more.
And that’s the trick - finding out what we can do and planning for doing it.
Develop your own Climate Plan at http://www.climateready.com.au/
Climate Ready is a collaboration between Bayside City Council, Kingston City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire and Federation University Australia, with funding and support from the Victorian Government.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has taken an ambitious and forward-thinking approach to climate change mitigation through the adoption of a robust and achievable Carbon Neutrality Policy. Shire Mayor, Councillor Graham Pittock and Councillor Hugh Fraser were invited to attend COP21, the Climate Change Conference in Paris as part of our long standing membership with ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability and I was very pleased to accompany them.
The Conference exceeded my expectations in its scope, extent and energy. COP21 was the first international conference where Local Government had a strong voice and was included in negotiations. Morn Pen Shire was pleased to attend a diverse array of sessions from Governments, community organisations, banks and not for profits, all establishing a foundation for strong policy, investment and practical solutions to climate change.
Outstanding moments from the experience include:
- Unexpectedly meeting the President of Kiribati when he dropped in on the World Biosphere pavilion where we were hearing how climate change is affecting natural assets and biodiversity. The President spoke to us of the challenges the small island nation faces, given its 800 km2 landmass is spread over 13 million km2 of ocean. He remains optimistic and grounded in a belief that together, we can support those most vulnerable.
- Attending a presentation by the Nordic states on ocean acidification. A panel of world-leading scientist highlighted the challenges that we all face in terms of meeting the global 1.5 degree target. They noted that many skeptics often reflect that high CO2e- concentration in the atmosphere has occurred before. The scientists reflected that this is true – it was a period referred to as the ‘Great Dying’ during which 95% of ocean species became extinct.
- Being at the Paris Town Hall when the Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor, along with 400 Mayors from around the world signed the Cities for Climate Change Declaration. The declaration is reflected in the COP21 outcome.
It was inspiring to be involved in a conference that didn’t question climate change, but questioned why we are not doing more.
Clubs are winning with SECCCA’s Save it for the Game program
“We took your advice and rang AGL. We were able to get 34% discount and $100 credit, so I estimate that we will save in the vicinity of $800 per year.” This was a club that had already made some energy saving changes, yet SECCCA were still able to advise them on ways of increasing their savings.
Councils launch business cases to respond to climate change financial risk.
The launch of SECCCA’s FRAP program at the DELWP offices recently showcased the variety and relevance of projects to councils. Now the results need to be reviewed and recommendations implemented. Bushfires, floods, heatwaves and severe weather events all place significant pressure on Council resources, from immediate response to the final recovery. An unexpected severe weather event can have significant and long-lasting impacts on a Council’s budget with the only option for recovery being a rate increase or reduction in service delivery. Is this a sustainable approach? Financial Risk Adaptation Planning (FRAP) can help councils plan financially through consideration of more suitable adaptation options.
Between January and October 2015, Stage 2 of the Energy Saver Study was completed, including over 330 retrofit actions in 160 homes to the value of $330,000. Lights were upgraded with LED globes and most homes received draught sealing and insulation. Inefficient heaters, coolers and hot water services were replaced and hot water storage systems were insulated.
“I had my doors sealed and insulation placed in the roof. Now it stays warmer when days are cooler and it warms up quicker and holds the heat.” Has the insulation improved your comfort? “Oh totally. Yes, totally and utterly.”
In 2015 SECCCA staff also visited 150 homes twice each. These visits provide support and advice about energy use, costs, bills and actions the householders can take to manage the liveability of their home, their health, energy use and costs.
Has this study impacted your bills? One householder is a sprightly 93 years old and SECCCA discussed the idea of calling her energy retailer for a better deal. This resulted in her being offered 50% off energy and gas including the fixed costs for the first three months, and then 28% off electricity and 15% off gas for nine more months. She can then renegotiate her contract. She is delighted.
SECCCA has arranged and completed twelve community forums, each for groups of 5-10 householders. The forums provided an opportunity for householders to discuss their experiences, learnings and the actions they do to improve their energy use and costs.
The original Save it for the Game project ran until mid-2015. Since then, we have been running a pilot program with an additional 55 clubs in four of our member councils: Bayside, Cardinia, Casey and Kingston.
Report delivery has begun to the clubs involved in the pilot, and initial results are very positive. As an example, Casey Scorpions have received their report and have already implemented the main opportunities suggested. It is projected that they will achieve close to $20,000 per year in savings as a result of changes adopted to date! This is a very big facility with some unique opportunities, however, most clubs will have suggested actions that are commonsense and will provide significant savings. In general there are good opportunities for clubs to save money by managing their refrigeration. Many clubs find this to be an easy change to implement.