IMPROVING YOUR HOME
Eco-friendly ways to warm your house this winter
Winter is coming. The beach umbrellas are packed away and the Ugg boots are out. We’re spending more time at home and we want to make sure it’s cosy and comfortable as the temperature drops. But how do we do that in the ‘greenest’ way possible?
Although electricity use makes up just over 50% of all Australian household energy use, it creates 87% of greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is we can work towards making sure your home stays green when the winter blues set in. Here are five home-heating options that are both environmentally friendly and clever investments.
In our sunburnt country, many homeowners have already recognised the benefits of solar, with more than 20% of Aussie homes featuring rooftop solar panels. Solar energy works by absorbing sunlight and converting it into an alternating current (AC), which can be used by most household appliances, while drawing on an energy source we will never run out of.
You can expect to pay between $6,000 and $11,000 for a 5kW solar panel system depending on where you live in Australia, with the Renewable Energy Scheme offering financial incentives for installations.
Pellet heaters use combustion systems that burn clean fuel (hardwood pellets), require little maintenance, and produce 50 times less particle emissions than open wood fires. Hardwood pellets are made from waste wood and compressed sawdust that is normally thrown into landfill, making them a carbon-neutral fuel.
A pellet heater costs about $3.30 a day to run, plus the purchase of the heater, which is between $2,000 - $6,000.
Geothermal heating works by tapping into underground warmth, harvesting this energy and circulating it through your home. This form of heating doesn’t produce any carbon emissions and is one of the most energy-efficient ways to both heat and cool your home.
You can expect to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 to install geothermal heating. However, these energy costs should pay for themselves within about a decade, so it’s a worthwhile investment if you plan to live in your home long-term.
A masonry heater is similar to a traditional fireplace, in that it burns wood. However, rather than losing a lot of heat through a chimney, it stores the heat within the masonry of the building, warming the space for longer.
Masonry heaters aren’t as environmentally friendly as some of the other methods we’ve mentioned, but they do produce lower emissions than traditional fireplaces. A masonry heater will set you back between $2,000 and $10,000.
Heat pumps work by sucking in the heat within the air, water or ground, and then using an electric pump to distribute this warmth around your home. Heat pumps aren’t completely carbon-neutral, but they are energy efficient and can last up to 50 years.
Heat pumps cost from around $2,000 to purchase and install.
Keep your insurance up to date
If you add new fixtures — like solar panels, for example — to your home, they may add to the amount it would cost to rebuild your home after an incident. You should ensure that the sum insured on your Home Insurance policy reflects the amount you’d need to rebuild to the same standard, including your fixtures and appliances.
If you have a GIO Home Insurance policy, you can update it online.
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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance.
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.