How I converted my home to all-electric power and saved money

Published on 01 May 2024

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Thomas and his family live in a renovated triplex apartment in Vaucluse that has a garden apartment below that they rent out. Learn how they electrified both their apartment and the rental, including installation of rooftop solar which is shared between the two households.

What motivated you to electrify your home and rental?

I’m originally from Germany and have a strong passion for sustainability, plus a lot of this is just common sense. After we installed solar, I really wanted to use our solar energy wisely, so this was one motivation to electrify.

We also had unflued gas space heaters and I realised that they were bad for our health and our tenant’s health. Finally, we had some condensation that was happening on our window panes as a result of the gas heating. It was a nice surprise to find that this problem disappeared once we introduced a reverse cycle air conditioner to heat and cool our home.

What sustainability upgrades did you make to the rental property?

We removed the gas instantaneous hot water and now both dwellings share an electric hot water system. We also replaced the gas cooktops with induction cooktops and the gas space heating with a reverse cycle air conditioner in our home and the rental.

Was the tenant happy?

I think the tenant is happy to have cheaper bills!

How do you split the solar benefit?

Both the house and rental share one meter, and the tenant pays a flat rate for power in addition to the rent. This was the most simple and cost-effective solution for our situation.

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Did you write off any of the building upgrades for the rental on your tax?

Yes, I have depreciated the solar system, air conditioner and induction cooktop over the years.

What advice would you give other landlords considering electrifying their rental?

By removing gas it means that you have one less service cost, for example there is only one connection fee and for repairs, only one type of tradesperson. I also find that electricity is safer than gas. There is also less dirt (soot) from the gas space heating and gas cooking, so the unit stays cleaner.

What resources have you found useful?

I have found the internet a great resource. Solar Quotes was useful for learning about solar and some of the user groups on Facebook such as My Efficient Electric Home, the Amber Energy Group and the BYD EV Owners Australia are all helpful to me.

Have you got any other money saving tips for us?

I use a multifunction timer device to optimise my use of solar during the day to different appliances, such as to heat my hot water system. The hot water heating happens in off-peak times which are both in the middle of the day and at night. The day time off-peak is due to solar production.

Also, I am currently charging my EV on a night saver EV plan which is 8c/kWh between 12am and 6am, which is very economical. There are at least two companies with these plans.

What’s next on your journey of electrification?

I’ve purchased a second hand battery and hope to get this up and running soon. I like the idea of using what you make by shifting my energy production and consumption around.

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