Just in time for Canberra’s forecast heatwave, in which temperatures are expected to hit the high 30s from Saturday to Tuesday, the ACT Government has issued a warning of its dangers and launched Actsmart – a free online tool to help renters assess their energy efficiency.
The online tool asks the renter a series of questions and instantly downloads a tailored report that lists the best actions the household can take to reduce energy use and increase comfort.
Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said the Government remained committed to setting energy efficiency standards for rental properties in the next 12 months as outlined in the tenth Parliamentary Agreement.
But while those were being developed and implemented, this webtool was something renters could use today to cut emissions, save money, and make their homes more comfortable.
Better Renting executive director Joel Dignam, who welcomed the Government’s energy policy post-election, said the coming heatwave was a reminder of the importance of making sure homes were healthy and liveable.
“For many renters, a lack of cooling options and poor-quality buildings means they will be tossing and turning all night, trying to get to sleep inside a hotbox,” Mr Dignam said.
“Minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties will mean that renters can have healthier and safer homes – they are also an important part of adapting to the impacts of global warming.
“We are yet to hear from the new government in relation to making rental properties more liveable in summer and winter.
“We hope to see prompt action, because this coming heatwave reminds us of how pressing this issue is.
“Any delay means more time for people who rent having to struggle with extreme heat or, in winter, the depths of the Canberra cold,” he said.
The Australian Energy Foundation CEO Alison Rowe, who partnered with the ACT Government to develop the Actsmart tool, said the organisation was excited to continue working with the ACT Government on the project.
“A highlight to date is the new webtool, which will allow both renters and the wider community in the ACT to easily access tailored advice and tips to improve the energy efficiency of their homes – an essential innovation for the good of the community.”
Mr Rattenbury said the Government was committed to implementing higher energy efficiency standards in new homes to ensure they’re climate-ready, liveable and sustainable, addressing issues such as insulation, glazing, passive design, phasing out gas, and the requirement for electric vehicle charge points.
The Government’s Actsmart program also offers free, expert home energy assessments for renters and homeowners, either over the phone or face-to-face, and engages the St Vincent de Paul Society to assist low-income households.
For more information about ways to save energy and money and access the tool, visit actsmart.act.gov.au.
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