Strong economic benefits from energy efficiency retrofits for low-income homes

Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics shows investing in low-emission and energy efficiency retrofits to low-income homes, delivering vital health and social gains, would generate tens of thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to our economy.

A Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report recently found climate change is already wreaking havoc around the world and in Australia, and worse is to come. The impacts of climate change will impact those on low incomes who are often living in poor quality housing.

Energy Efficiency Measures

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to analyse the economic benefits of providing a one-off investment in energy efficiency measures and/or rooftop solar to 1.8 million low-income homes across public housing, community housing, low-income home-owners and low-income rental properties. The original proposal (National Low-income Energy Productivity Program (NLEPP)) was endorsed by 50 community, health, environment and business organisations last year, including Shelter WA.

The analysis by Deloitte finds that the NLEPP could create 22,000 full time equivalent jobs needed to deliver the Program across Australia. In addition, the Program could create an additional 1,800 jobs by delivering energy efficiency and solar to low-income homes specifically and could deliver an additional 4.9 billion in gross domestic product. The report finds that delivering a national retrofit program, with its explicit targeting of Australia’s most financially disadvantaged households is projected to deliver a 17 per cent higher economic impact than an equivalent program delivered across a broader base.

WA Initiatives

In WA, the state government, is pursuing energy efficiency retrofits via the $6 million Smart Energy for Solar Energy Trial which, in partnership with Synergy, is installing solar panels on 500 social housing properties. Ten properties have been upgraded over the first six months of the program, with tenants already saving between $30 and $200 since it commenced.

The state government has also allocated $13 million for a Household Energy Efficiency Scheme which will assist low income households experiencing hardship to improve their energy efficiency through appliance upgrades and energy assessments.

The Deloitte report provides further evidence of the economic benefits of energy efficiency retrofit programs. Shelter WA is keen to partner with government and our sector to determine opportunities for expanding the existing Smart Energy program to low income households more broadly, along with other energy efficiency initiatives.

The report can be found here.