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The challenge

Using energy more efficiently where we live

It is becoming more expensive to keep the buildings we live in warm or cool to match the seasons, heat water and cook food, light up rooms, watch our favourite shows, and pursue our work and hobbies.

The award-winning, energy efficient renovation to Vasey House, by LightHouse. Pictured is open-plan kitchen and living room. Image: Ben Wrigley
The award-winning, energy efficient renovation to Vasey House, by LightHouse. Image: Ben Wrigley

We need to be more efficient — Australian households are responsible for a significant chunk of energy use and carbon emissions. But there some simple ways we can save on power bills and lower emissions at home.

Home energy saving tips from our experts:

Our response

Tackling energy efficiency from every angle

In response, CSIRO has been working on a wide range of research that impact how we assess housing design and materials, choose appliances and manage air temperature and ventilation. 

We've been investigating how our behaviours around energy use are changing and how storytelling in the mass media can achieve environmental and social impact. 

Lights... camera... sustainable action!

Our behavioural scientist supported the production and impact evaluation of Renovate or Rebuild, a reality TV series encouraging sustainable housing choices to leverage TV's wide-reaching influence.

We recommended the depth of sustainability information for the series and behavioural science strategies to maximise message impact. The series demonstrated energy efficiency tips based on good science, focusing on:

  • designing for location
  • considering house orientation and flow
  • using appropriate building materials
  • selecting energy efficient appliances.

The first season of Renovate or Rebuild aired on Channel 9Life in Australia in 2021, accumulating more than 3.2 million views over eight episodes. The success of the first season saw a second season air on Channel 9 in March 2024, along with a renewal for a third season and international licencing.

Our evaluation of series one found that Renovate or Rebuild viewers were significantly more likely to desire a home energy star rating above the minimum standard compared to non-viewers. Boosting home star ratings is crucial for reducing residential energy use in Australia.

CSIRO worked with a number of organisations on this project, including:

  • The Blue Tribe Company and North Light Productions (the show's producer)
  • NSW Office of Energy and Climate Change
  • The Low Carbon Living Cooperative Research Centre
  • Sustainability Victoria
  • The Reliable, Affordable, Clean Energy (RACE for 2030) Cooperative Research Centre

Australian Housing Data Portal

The Australian Housing Data Portal is an online resource offering comprehensive data and analysis on housing in Australia.

The energy rating dashboards developed by CSIRO, help policymakers, researchers, industry and consumers understand our progress towards energy-efficient, low-emission homes.

The dashboards cover energy ratings by location and climate zone, design and construction, fixtures and appliances, and a range of other aspects of residential buildings, supported by data from the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

Our home energy efficiency experts

Danie Nilsson

Energy-efficient living case studies

  • Apartments, townhouses, cottage, terraces and mansions. Many of our homes could benefit from improvements to make them more energy efficient, but what will give us the best bang for our buck? Renovating or rebuilding?

  • Residential energy efficiency can help us meet emissions reduction targets. More energy-efficient housing also brings health and economic benefits to residents and the wider community. We are interested in the ways that builders understand and work with energy efficiency requirements.

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

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