Occupants, or householders, may be owners or renters and there may be multiple householders within one dwelling. This document recognises the needs and capacities of these different householder groups and, where appropriate, also addresses the needs of households in different climate zones.
The guide is a companion to the Guide to Low Carbon Residential Buildings – Retrofit, which offers advice on upgrades and adaptations to a home to improve its comfort and reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.
While the two guides cover similar ground, the tips here are targeted at ways to reduce the amount of electricity and gas used for cooking, heating, cooling, lighting and entertainment—the activities that account for the bulk of energy use in the home. For retrofit options beyond home energy use, please refer to the companion document.
Other concerns that fall outside the remit of this document include carbon reductions and energy savings related to fuels that power machinery such as cars and lawn mowers, general household water usage, and the generation, separation and management of household waste.
Similarly, this guide does not address energy and carbon savings related to major structural renovations or new constructions. These are dealt with in the Guide to Low Carbon Residential Buildings – New Build.
To reduce energy use in the home requires householders to change behaviours and make adaptations. The extent they can do this depends on whether they own or rent their home. Generally speaking, owners have more freedom to make choices about energy-saving options. Even so, if the home is a property or an apartment under Community or Strata Title, improvements may require prior approval from a management group made up of other owners.
Renters are constrained in the extent to which they can modify their home, but they may still be able to negotiate improvements with their landlord or property manager. This requires building a case to justify the changes, including identifying any cost to the landlord, savings in energy achieved, improvement to property value, enhanced appeal to future tenants, and improved rental value.
Links and suggestions for further reading are included in this document. While much of the information in this guide is aimed at home owners, many of the tips also apply to renters.