Low-Energy Housing as a Means of Improved Social Housing: Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities
Rising energy costs are significantly impacting low-income households. These households can struggle to pay their utility bills, and/or self-ration how much energy they consume which impacts on liveability within the home, such as the provision of appropriate thermal comfort. While incremental progress is being made in terms of improving the energy efficiency of housing in many developed countries, such improvements are typically inaccessible to low-income or social housing tenants. This chapter presents outcomes of a multi-year evaluation of a cohort of low-energy social housing from Horsham in regional Victoria, Australia. The analysis includes technical performance data and is supplemented with the occupants’ own stories about improved liveability outcomes. It is clear that the evidence supports aspirations by the state housing agency, which owns and maintains the housing, to move beyond their current minimum housing standards for new construction. A combination approach, whereby the thermal performance of the dwelling is improved, in addition to including renewable energy generation, will address several goals of social (or public) housing providers—namely improving quality of life, health outcomes, finances and poverty. In addition, such housing will help them achieve organisational or broader government sustainability goals such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel energy consumption.
SOURCE: Trivess Moore. “Low-Energy Housing as a Means of Improved Social Housing: Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities” Energy Performance in the Australian Built Environment, 12 July 2018.
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