Inefficient homes are unhealthy, expensive to run and vulnerable to extreme weather. Clear solutions exist, but low-income households and renters need support to access them.

Too many Australians live in energy-inefficient homes. Rooftop solar and energy efficiency upgrades (such as efficient hot water systems, heating and cooling) can make these homes healthier and less costly to run. However, many low-income households face financial and information barriers to improving their homes.

To make homes healthier and more comfortable, Australian governments need to act.

Introduce minimum efficiency standards for rental properties

Many rented homes are inefficient and neither landlords nor renters generally have an incentive to improve them. Requiring landlords to ensure rented homes meet minimum standards for energy efficiency would systematically improve people’s health, cost of living and the quality of housing in Australia.

Support low-income households to access energy efficiency and solar upgrades

Australian governments should assist renters, those in public housing and home-owners to upgrade their homes, including financial assistance to upgrade high-cost, inefficient fixtures, such as hot water systems, heating and cooling, and to install solar panels.

Gary (pictured above) is on a pension and couldn’t afford a solar power system. The Brotherhood’s Home Energy Assist Affordable Retrofits pilot project enabled him to install solar panels, which he says will dramatically cut his energy bills.

Innovative trials

Home Energy Assist: Affordable Retrofits, tailored advice and subsidised energy efficiency upgrades to 88 low-income households

Your Sustainable Home in partnership with the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation

Clean Energy for All, installing subsidised solar panels at social housing sites in Melbourne

Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard, free home energy assessments to 200 vulnerable households


Low-income renters and energy affordability, ABC Radio National interview, 2018.

To reduce the impact of rising electricity and gas prices on renters, independent senator Tim Storer has filed a private member's bill proposing tax incentives for landlords to make energy efficiency upgrades on properties where the rent is $300 a week or less.

Read more about our energy efficiency research.

Contact: Damian Sulivan dsullivan(at)

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