Australian Households Paid $15,000 to Go Green

environmental rebates photo

For some time now, governments at the federal, state and local level in Australia have been trying to tempt their constituents to go green, via the financial incentive of rebates. Just yesterday, the state government of New South Wales announced it would be providing $62 million AUD to help low income households (specifically pensioners, people in public housing and indigenous people) become more energy efficient. Apparently those millions will pay for home visits by energy auditors, who'll advise householders how to become more energy wise.

The new plan comes atop an already crowded field of government funded rebates for the purchase of photovoltaic panels, solar hot water systems, insulation, non-petrol/gasoline cars, rainwater tanks, washing machines, shower heads, fridges and more. Added all together these rebates can net $14,985 AUD for green savvy households, as we detail below.Photovoltaic Rebates
Early this year the newly elected Australian government came under flak from all quarters for adding a $100,000 AUD household income means test to the $8,000 rebate for residential installations of 4.5W photovoltaic solar electricity systems. There were claims the PV industry would fall over if households were scared off the scheme. But the opposite occurred. The Government has had to extend the application period by one third to process the sheer volume of applicants. The Sydney Herald reported that the Clean Energy Council, speaking on behalf of the solar industry, now no longer favour a rebate because it can be subject to government whim. They want to move to feed-in tariff model, whereby PV owners would get fair market priced payments for the electricity their panels feed back to the grid.

Solar Hot Water Rebates
The federal government also support up to a $1,000 AUD rebate for residential solar hot water systems. This rebate is augmented by a Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) system that households (or installers on their behalf) can trade. Depending on the home's location, hot water system installed and the value of its RECs on the market, it may possible to get another $800 AUD off the total cost. Some state governments are also pitching in and further reducing the upfront purchase price. NSW, for example, offers up to yet another $1,200 AUD back via rebates. If they are lucky, some householders might only have to pay for installation, not the solar hot water unit itself.

Roof Insulation Rebates
Many governments are offering to cover half the cost of insulating the ceiling of residential dwellings. In some jurisdictions this amounts to $300 AUD for resident home owners, but can rise to $500 for landlords if they insulate rented properties, where the tenants are on social security benefits.

Rainwater Tank Rebates
There are also various rainwater harvesting rebates on offer around the country. NSW have one where you could get back $150 AUD for a 2000 litre tank and up to $500 AUD for a 7,000 litre model. Should you choose to plumb your new tank into your toilet and/or your washing machine you'd be eligible for another $500 AUD for each connection. Up to a total of $1,500 AUD.

water tank rebates photo

Washing Machine Rebates
Still on water. Go out and buy yourself a 4.5 star energy/water efficient washing machine (it goes up to 6 stars) and put you hand out to get $150 AUD back.

Refrigerator BuyBacks
This one is kinda different. If you live in metropolitan Sydney and have a ten year old fridge greater than 250 litres (the sort of thing found in many garages to keep beer cold for barbeques) then the state government will give you $35, just so they can remove it. They reckon you'll also save $190 a year on your electricity bill and pump out 1 tonne less of greenhouse gases per annum. They are hoping 19,000 households, will over the next three years, offload their second 'beer fridge.'

LPG Car Rebates
The commonwealth government believes Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) gas cars burn fuel much cleaner than straight petrol or diesel vehicles, so to encourage take up of the technology they dangle a $1,000 AUD rebate for motorists buying a new LPG enabled vehicle. If you retrofit an existing car then you're entitled to a $2,000 rebate. (Industry wants that new car rebate boosted to $2,000 too.)

That's not bad. A resident of NSW could, if they chose to act on several initiatives, save themselves a combined $14,985 AUD, by being a greener citizen.( 8,000 + 3,000 + 300 + 1,500 + 150 + 35 + 2,000 = $14,985 AUD )

In other states you could possibly do even better. Water starved South Australia, for example, offers $200 rebates for washing machines and $150 for dual flush toilets, as well money off shower heads and the like. And in Queensland (pdf) you can currently claim back 50% of a 'green' garden purchase up to $50. This could be used to offset the cost of a compost bin or worm farm, for example. Also available in Queensland is a $500 rebate for swapping your hot water and cooking over to natural gas from electricity.

Green Loans
To lead householders even further by the hand, the federal government is working up a $10,000 AUD Green Loans program, which is due to be active in early 2009. It is planned to "help an estimated 200,000 Australian home owners to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by around 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2020. In addition, the program will encourage an estimated $2 billion in green inspired investment for households - directly benefiting the small business sector."

Whilst most of the above mentioned rebates are targeted at residential households, there are also energy and water saving rebates focused on schools, remote communities and even surf live saving clubs!

More Green Rebates on TreeHugger
Insulation Rebate for Home Owners
Water on the Brain. We're Learning. Slowly
Greening a Home One Fridge (and Rebate) at a Time
California Approves Largest Solar Program in U.S. History
School Receives Largest Green Christmas Gift

Top image found at Solarhart and water tank image by Nic Walker via the Brisbane Times

Australian Households Paid $15,000 to Go Green
For some time now, governments at the federal, state and local level in Australia have been trying to tempt their constituents to go green, via the financial incentive of rebates. Just yesterday, the state government of New South Wales announced it

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