New plumbing initiative, the PlumbSmarter in my home pilot program, was launched on 26 October 2010 at the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre in Brunswick. At the launch Plumbing Industry Commissioner Tony Arnel was joined by plumbers participating in the pilot program, members of the Plumbing Industry Advisory Council, industry supporters and other stakeholders.
The PlumbSmarter in my home program is designed to help householders make their homes more energy and water efficient. Plumbers already carrying out work or a quote in homes will offer a free condition report giving recommendations on ways householders can improve their use of energy and water. The report covers 13 areas, such as water heating, ducted heating, airconditioning and rainwater harvesting.
As part of the program, householders can gain free replacements of high water use showerheads with high quality water efficient units. Householders will also receive a green retrofit pack, including a garden hose trigger nozzle, tap washers and information on environmental sustainability and plumbing.
Depending on the situation at individual properties, the 45 to 60 minute service may also include simple green improvements (like properly adjusting the thermostat on the hot water service or minor leak repairs) and practical advice on managing energy and water using appliances more efficiently.
The recommendations in the green plumbing condition report may include larger works like replacing the existing hot water system with a more economical system. The whole service is free of charge and there is no obligation for the householder to undertake any of the plumber's green upgrade recommendations.
Participating plumbing practitioners who volunteered for the pilot program are responsible for delivering the service, but the Plumbing Industry Commission in conjunction with the State Government is providing funding to enable the initiative. The 3,000 showerheads to be installed through the program have been supplied through the Jobs for the Future Economy initiative.
Through the pilot program it is intended that condition reports on 3,000 homes will be undertaken. Subject to the results of the pilot program, the program may be rolled out across the state.
Some simple energy-saving steps that people can undertake themselves include:
- Adjusting the central heating thermostat to between 18 and 21 degrees
- Putting up curtains or blinds to reduce heat lost through windows
- Installing weather strips in door jambs
- Limiting showers to four minutes
- Ensuring taps are properly turned off after use
- Closing all doors and windows while heating is on
- Closing off rooms that don't need to be heated such as toilets, storage rooms and passageways
- Using external blinds during summer, ensuring the blinds are down before sun hits the window
- Covering swimming pools with a solar blanket when not in use