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A family’s first-home journey to all-electric

By May 20, 2024No Comments
Two parents and child standing in the garden in front of their brick home.

Anand and his family live in a classic 50s brick veneer home in Pascoe Vale they bought two years ago.

With their eight-year-old at primary school learning about climate change, they wanted their new and first home to be a shared family journey of taking climate action.

First step solar

The first thing they investigated after moving in was solar.

With a subscription to Renew magazine, and advice available in online communities such as the My Efficient Electric Home (MEEH) Facebook group and websites such as Solar Quotes, Anand set out to source the right system and recommended solar installers for his family and situation.

In the end Anand opted for the maximum solar PV system that could fit on the roof: a 10kw solar PV system.

Although bigger than the requirements of a 3-person family home, the system allowed him to “future proof” the home, he says, for the day he saves up for an electric car or installs a battery.

Anand has a north-facing roof, but through his research he found that installers can angle panels on east, west and even south roofs, with minimal loss in electricity production. He shares this new-found information to encourage his friends.

With solar in place the family could now make the most of renewable electricity payments back to the grid, something the family does most days.

Heating & Cooling

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after the family moved into their new home, that the gas ducted heating broke beyond repair.

Anand took this opportunity to take a hard look at the aged evaporative cooling system on the tiled roof as evaporative coolers were getting bad press about their less-than-ideal environmentally credentials.

Anand opted to have the gas heating unit and ducts removed and the evaporative cooling system decommissioned at the same time. This also meant one trip from the electrician and plasterer.

With no heating or cooling the family quickly moved to increase the number of split system heating and cooling units in the house.

Whole house heating was never an option for efficiency reasons, for this environmentally sensitive family, so while the home they bought had one split heating/cooling system already installed in the living room, they saved up to get one for each of the two bedrooms.

“We used the My Efficient Electric Home (MEEH) Facebook group to help find the best brands and recommended installers and websites such as Choice to get the right sizing system required for each room,” says Anand.

Next step: Induction and clean indoor air

The move to induction can understandably be a sticking point for many people, and this was no different for Anand and his family.

“We were unsure how we would adapt to induction cooking,” explains Anand.

The family had been cooking with a gas cooktop for a long time and had accumulated pots and pans. But after a little investigation Anand and his wife found that a lot of their existing pots and pans were already suitable for induction.

Once they took the leap to induction, they haven’t looked back.

They found that induction cooktops are so much better than gas cooking, in terms of how quickly you can bring things to the right temperature and so much easier to clean up after a messy cooking session.

And knowing that their induction isn’t contributing to indoor air pollution and exacerbating respiratory issues is a relief.

“The switch to induction is one of the first things our friends want to know about when we talk about our all-electric house,” says Anand. “I tell them our journey and reassure them and encourage them.”

Hot water heat pump

Hot water was the next obvious project to undertake given that hot water systems account for about 18 per cent of energy use in Victorian households, according to the Victorian Government.

Anand was sure he’d want a heat pump hot water system because of how energy efficient they are, but what brand and kind? Luckily the “brains trust” at My Efficient Electric Home (MEEH), was able to step him once again through the pros and cons of each system.

After installing the heat pump, the family called the gas company and asked them to remove gas from the property.

No more gas bills, gas connection fees, or gas fossil fuel emissions from this home forever.

It was a proud moment for the family.

“We went on this journey together as a family,” says Anand. “Our son even took the day off school to watch the installation of the solar! We’re doing this not only for our son’s future, but for climate equity and justice for all future generations.”

“If you’re thinking about moving to all-electric, just do it; you can take it one step at a time, says Anand.

“There are upfront costs, but the efficiency savings quickly add up and we saved lots of money on our bills especially now that we don’t have to pay for gas and gas supply charges.”

Where to get advice

Anand recommends the resources on Council’s website, Renew, and that a great place to find like-minded people for advice and support is the My Efficient Electric Home (MEEH) Facebook group.

And websites such as Choice have great advice and reviews of appliances, too, he adds. He also encourages people to investigate the Solar Victoria Government Rebates for financial help to install solar and upgrade to hot water in homes they own or rent.

Read also:

All-electric FAQs

Hot water heat pumps and reverse-cycle heaters now available thru council’s Solar Savers program

Develop Your Go Electric Plan