Energy efficiency for
disadvantaged households

Low-income households already spend proportionally more of their income on power than do high-income households. Energy efficiency can assist in alleviating rising power costs.

Better insulation, appliances that use less power and cleaner forms of heating and cooling can help lower the amount of energy we consume. However many households need assistance to make these changes. Rather than subsidising continuing inefficient energy use, low-income Australians can be supported to use energy more efficiently so as to lower their bills and reduce the impact of climate change.

What we want

The Brotherhood of St Laurence is seeking:

  • support for low-income households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and appliances including support to upgrade high cost, high energy-using household fixtures, such as hot water systems, heating and cooling
  • measures to assist renters improve the efficiency of their homes.

What we're doing

The Brotherhood of St Laurence undertakes innovative research to inform policy and service delivery, delivers quality services and advocates to government to support low-income households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Our recent activities include:

  • advocating for programs to assist low-income households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes
  • initiating the Home Energy Efficiency Upgrade Project (HEEUP), an innovative trial that will enable 1400 low-income households across Victoria to upgrade their hot water system. The project is funded by the Department of Industry and will be delivered by the Brotherhood in partnership with the Monash Sustainability Institute, AGL Energy Ltd, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the Alternative Technology Association.

Our advocacy in this area is listed below, with more on our work available at Research: Energy Efficiency.

Articles, reports, papers

Review of VEET studies (PDF file, 266 KB) 

The power to save: an equity analysis of the Victorian Energy Saver Incentive in Melbourne (PDF file, 338 KB) paper presented to the State of Australian Cities conference, Sydney, 26–29 November 2013

The lead article of Brotherhood Comment August 2013 (PDF file, 680 KB) reports from our study of home energy efficiency programs in Moreland


Media discussion 25 May 2011
The Breakfast Program, ABC Radio National
John Thwaites, Chair of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence's Low Income Climate Change Task Group, and former deputy premier of Victoria, speaking with Fran Kelly.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes