Energy efficiency for
disadvantaged households

Energy efficiency is an important way to insulate low-income households from rising energy costs. Disadvantaged households already spend proportionally more of their income on household power than do high-income households. 

The rising cost of energy threatens to make this worse. 

Better insulation, appliances that use less power and cleaner forms of heating and cooling can help. However many households need assistance to make these changes. Rather than subsidising continuing inefficient energy use, we can help low-income Australians 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 research, delivers quality services and advocates to government in order to enable low income and disadvantaged households 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.
  • undertaking innovative research to better understand the benefits of energy efficiency for low-income households, in order to inform policy and service delivery.
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.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
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Brotherhood of St Laurence Communtiy Stores
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Given the Chance

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.