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Gov to fund trials in energy efficiency for low income households

18th Dec 2012

In an ideal world, it wouldn't cost the moon to save the earth. Or take the resources of a gas giant to harness the energy of the sun.

Planetary metaphors aside, however, finding ways to become more energy efficient can involve spending a bit of money in the short term.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be in a position to afford the price of solar panels or other efficient energy generators.

Luckily, it seems the Australian government recognises this. It announced yesterday (December 17) the round one recipients of funding through the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP).

This scheme aims to help government, business and community organisations trial ways of improving the energy efficiency of low income households.

The information gained will then be used to inform future policy on energy efficiency.

Eleven organisations will share the first round funding of $38.9 million.

These include the Brisbane City Council and its Green Wisdom project. This aims to improve the ability of retirees and the elderly in the Brisbane region to become more energy efficient.

Fellow recipient Environment Victoria will use its funding to aid its Future Powered Families project, which will address issues preventing low income new parents in Melbourne's north and western suburbs from reducing their energy use and boosting efficiency.

Other recipients will look at ways to help Indigenous communities, low income households, renters, refugees and non-English speakers, among others, use energy more efficiently.

Minister for climate change and energy efficiency Greg Combet expects up to 25,000 low income households to benefit as a result.

And the positives don't stop there. Mr Combet says the LIEEP is also designed to create new local jobs.

The projects will include installing energy efficient appliances, in-home displays to indicate energy usage, financial coaching and training non-English speakers in their own language.

"Investment in smart energy use now will help to lower our energy use in the future and help households to lower their electricity bills," said Mr Combet.

Stirring stuff. But the LIEEP is just one of five programs the government has established to support community and household action on climate change.

Another is the Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP), which supports energy efficient upgrades to council and community buildings, facilities and lighting.

A recent recipient was the Temora Aviation Museum in NSW, which will use the funding to upgrade inefficient lighting systems and reduce energy consumption by 84 per cent.

Proof perfect that a helping hand can give energy efficiency a flying start.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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