Saturday, February 28, 2009

Renovate for profit: be energy efficient

Tomorrow marks the first time I will deliver one of my very own Renovate-For-Profit seminars ... but mine will be about spending small amounts of money on repairs and refurbishments to lower the running costs of your home, rather than taking on lashings of debt to build a second-rate investment portfolio.Renovating to improve energy efficiency makes perfect sense - you may have to invest a small amount upfront, but it will pay back. Especially now that we know energy bills are set to skyrocket. In the last 12 months, electricity bills in WA have been mandated to go up by 40 per cent and the state government says bills there could rise even more. If the Australian federal government implements its Emissions Trading Scheme in 2010, all Australians' energy bills are likely to rise in the order of 20 to 25 per cent. Electricity is one of the largest greenhouse polluters, so the energy companies will be heavily taxed and that means passing those costs on to people who use electricity. That's not to mention price rises that were already planned to upgrade aging infrastructure. The three easiest and cheapest things to improve energy efficiency are:

- installing insulation AND RIGHT NOW IT'S FREE. If you don't do it, you're mad. Simply ring an installer and keep the receipt and the federal government will reimburse you up to $1600 in July.

- changing light globes to CFLs and putting in a AAA shower head

- resisting the urge to over-cool or over-heat our homes with air-con or heating. In summer the thermostat should be around 21 and in winter around 18

These are very simple measures that cost virtually nothing except a bit of time and effort. And, boy, will your wallet thank you in the next couple of years! If you want to hear more, please come along to the Homebush Energy Efficiency Centre at noon. You'll not only see some of the best new technologies to save energy, but you'll score a free copy of my Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation book and a new copy of House & Garden PLUS be in the chance to win a solar hot water system.

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