Power poser

• Christine Eon is looking into why sustainable houses aren’t living up to expectations. Photo by Steve Grant

IT’S a scenario being played out across Australia: Family moves into a 6-star green house ready to kiss power bills goodbye, only to start squealing when the first arrives in the mail.

Now Curtin University PhD student Christine Eon is looking into why energy-efficient homes aren’t living up to their potential and is hoping to enlist 10 Freo families to help unravel the mystery.

Ms Eon says a number of factors might be contributing, but the most likely culprit is human nature.

“One of the reasons for this gap is behaviour: because people think their house is so efficient they can do anything,” she told the Herald.

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She says a lag in the building industry picking up the necessary skills may also be contributing, particularly in insulation where even a tiny gap can have the same leakage effect as larger holes.

Ms Eon wants 10 local families to sign up for a two-year trial. For the first year she will simply monitor energy use remotely. She’s conscious of people modifying behaviour because they know they’re being watched, so hopes a hands-off approach will lead to them forgetting she’s there.

After that the families will be taken through a Living Smart course to see if it improves their energy usage.

Ms Eon says she’s ready to sign up anyone with a 6- to 10-star rated house who’ll be living there for two years. All houses built in Australia since 2012 must be 6-star rated. She points out several European countries mandate zero-emission housing with a minimum of 10 stars.

Ms Eon can be contacted on christine.eon@gmail.com


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