Feb 23, 2018: The Reroofing Begins

Putting Mum’s Money Where My Mouth Is

Yesterday we began the job of replacing the tile roof on the old cottage next to the Greeny Flat

Yesterday we began the job of replacing the tile roof on the old cottage next to the Greeny Flat

For the last month I’ve been banging on about how inappropriate tile roofs are for Australia’s climate. So we’ve bitten the bullet and begun the process of replacing ours with a light-coloured Colorbond. As many of our readers will already know, the land the Greeny Flat is built on is owned by my mother as part of an investment property along with an old cottage built in about 1945. Over the last year we’ve been gradually doing a complete energy retrofit on the place. (You can click here if you want to read more about that process and watch a series of short videos we’ve made about the project).

To summarise… so far we’ve: removed all the fibro from the outside of the walls; insulated the exterior walls; replaced all the windows with double-glazing; upgraded the plumbing and electrical systems; reclad the outside with galvanised iron; installed a  mini Trombe wall, a solar air heater, a high-efficiency reverse-cycle air-conditioner and a slow-combustion wood stove; replaced the sewer lines; added a covered deck and awning along the west side to provide summer shading, improved the access and ventilation to the sub-floor area; and insulated under all of the floor we can get to. It’s a good, solidly-built old place but, after seventy years, it needed an upgrade and we reckon it will be good for the next seventy by the time we’re finished. It will also be much more comfortable, better ventilated, healthier, easier to keep warm in winter and cool in summer plus more energy and water efficient.

For those of you who are following our series of little videos about the project, I apologise, I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately and I’m behind on posting to YouTube. However I intend to make three or four more videos to complete the Energy Retrofit story and I’ll let you know when they’re ready to view.

At some point in the future we also plan to remodel the kitchen and living room but those are not energy related modifications. All that we have left to do from the energy point of view after the new roof is on will be to add solar panels, which brings me back to the discussion I started last week about Solar For Landlords. The research I’ve done so far suggests that this is a major issue which is preventing about one in four Australian homes from having solar panels installed on their roof (because the home is rented, the landlord has to pay for the system and the tenant gets all the benefit… this is known as the ‘split incentive’). It’s also preventing most of Australia’s renters from having access to affordable and renewable energy from rooftop solar.

Given the size of the problem, it is not surprising that various enterprises have sprung up to try to offer a solution. So far the three main ones I’ve discovered are:

If any readers know of any other programs please let me know. The cottage next to the Greeny Flat is a perfect case study and I plan to contact each of the organisations that offer this type of service to find out what’s involved and how the numbers stack up.

For anyone interested, here are links to a few good articles I’ve uncovered on the subject:



Solar For Renters? Landlords & Tenants Share The Benefits with ‘Matter’

The last of the three articles above points out that the return for a landlord investing in a solar system can be significantly higher than for a homeowner because the landlord can depreciate the expense. I’m wondering if the entire cost could be depreciated under the current $20,000 instant deduction for small businesses. If there are any accountants reading this, perhaps you could let me know…

It seems to me that the perfect solution would be for energy retailers (Powershop and Energy Locals) to offer this service. That way there would only be three parties involved in the energy agreement; the retailer, the landlord and the tenant. Unfortunately I’m not aware of any electricity retailers that offer this option but I intend to contact some to find out and, if they don’t, to suggest that they consider it.

There has to be a simple way for both the landlord and the tenant to share the benefits of rooftop solar. I’ll let you know when I find it.

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