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Energy upgrades deliver a feel-good bonus

When Claire and her wife began upgrades to reduce their power bills, they discovered other unexpected advantages.

People standing outside

When Claire Jefford bought her home in Clifton Springs eight years ago, she planned to stay for the long haul.

Built in the 1970s, the single brick three-bedroom house wasn’t energy efficient, with poor insulation, gas heating, gas stovetop and instant-gas hot water. So, Claire, who shares the home with her wife and two children, began upgrading to improve energy efficiency and lower their household bills.

The couple has installed reverse-cycle air-conditioning and recently invested in a 6.6KW solar system. Soon, they will replace the instant gas hot water system with heat-pump hot water, which will be set to heat during the day to make the most of the energy they generate through their solar panels.

Passive solar improvements include replacing the damaged tiled roof with Colorbond and upgrading the insulation in the ceiling. Future improvements include upgrading the insulation in the walls and beneath the floor and installing double-glazed windows.

While Claire says they are still at the start of their efficiency journey, the savings will only grow.

“We’ve been talking to people who have gas heating, and our bills are much lower than theirs,” she says. “Once we’ve switched over the hot water system and the stovetop, we can disconnect the gas. I’ve estimated that will save about $60 a month.”

Claire says while their motivation was to reduce their power bills, there have been other unexpected advantages.

“I didn’t expect to have the feel-good factor,” she says. “We were aiming for cost savings, but I didn’t expect to feel so good about it. It feels nice that we know we are using clean energy during the day. It’s also nice to know we are reducing our use of gas in the house, so there are health benefits, too.”

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