Inaction is a terrible thing. Reasons for inaction abound and at the end of the day one can always look back and say 'well we could have moved a bit quicker on this or that'. One common reason for inaction is cost. We see a potential change we would like to make and we think that we can't afford it. Long term return on investment calculations take time and tire our brains so we simply avoid the cost. This single factor is a massive barrier to the kind of changes that need to be made in order to wind up a lot of unsustainable practices. The following are some examples of what exists in a lot of homes today:

 - archaic hot water systems;
 - no or ineffective insulation;
 - short eaves leading to negligible summer shading;
 - single glazed windows;
 - low voltage (but high consumption) downlights; and
 - plumbing systems and stormwater systems that let a lot of good water simply run away from your property.

The choice to let these practices continue is a result in some cases of people not being aware of the alternative but in many cases simply being averse to the expenditure. In Australia the time has come to try and reverse a bit of that. In their first budget announcement back in 2008 the Federal Government allocated funds to a Green Loans program. The steps are as follows:

1. Register. Home owners register for the service by calling 1800 895 076 or visiting environment.gov.au/greenloans (I recommend calling for a more speedy result);
2. Assessment. A Home Sustainability Assessment is conducted by an accredited assessor who makes recommendations on what needs to be done to improve the sustainability of your home in terms of energy and water consumption;
3. Obtain Finance. You apply for a $10,000.00 four year interest free loan through one of the nominated financial institutions; and
4. Reap The Benefits. You spend the money on the necessary home improvements and pay the loan off over four years interest free.
Bargain. Based on a personal loan rate of 13.40% this is a saving of $2,972.70 over the four years or approximately $62.00 per month. The really cool thing about this is that it can be used in conjunction with other rebate schemes. Whether you feel like spending the money or not I strongly recommend booking in for the Home Sustainability Assessment as it will help you with future planning regarding repairs and renovations. There is nothing like the view of an independent professional to help shed some light on the options available.

But Jud, what if I don't own my own home?

Then get yapping and pass this onto people you know who do.

But Jud, what if I don't live in Australia?

Then alert your member of parliment to what is a great example of a Governement taking the initiative.

I don't want to spend $10,000.00, I have other financial committments, what is the value of this to me?

Although you may not feel like spending it now if you make the assessor aware of your situation they can identify relatively cheap or heavily subsidised options that can save you money in the long term, potentially make your home more comfortable and reduce the impact your lifestyle has on our precious resources.

Have you had a Home Sustainability Assessment done? What was it like and what were the recommendations? Have you implemented them?

More to come in future posts as Rebate Hound continues snooping. In the meantime pickup the phone if you haven't already.