Sustainable Home

BREAZE Inc. Board member, Therese Footner has put together a list of things householders can do to make their homes more energy efficient, cutting energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Steps to enhance the energy efficiency of your home:

1. Draft proofing your living area.

a. Check the fit of doors and windows within their frames – rectify gaps around the bottom of doors with weather seals and draft stoppers that are easy to fit.
b. Check for excessive and possibly outdated ventilation, especially in older homes.
c. Check for cracks between architraves and walls, skirting boards and walls as well as between floorboards – cracks between architraves or skirting boards and walls can be filled with a high-grade sealant.
d. Chimney places in older homes may need to be sealed safely.
e. It may be worth checking exhaust fans and replace them with ones that seal shut when turned off as they may be allowing a backdraft of external air to enter the house when they are not in use.

2. Check lighting and change to LEDs where possible.
3. Insulation can make a big difference to the effectiveness of heating your home.

If it is possible, check the type and amount of insulation in the ceiling space or walls of your home. If practical you may be able to install more insulation which should help to reduce heating bills.

4. If possible, upgrade windows to double glazed which will reduce heat loss and help maintain a more constant temperature.

For those preferring to do it themselves there are now a number of DIY double glazing kits available in hardware stores. A very cheap DIY fix is to use bubble wrap to cover windows as a temporary measure. Insulated blinds can also reduce heat loss if they are well fitted.

5. Buy energy efficient appliances:

These make a difference to the amount of energy used. Consider replacing your gas water heater with an electric heat pump or solar hot water system. The Victorian state government has launched a program that offers rebates on upgrading certain appliances to improve efficiency. Solar Victoria currently offers rebates to upgrade to a reverse cycle split system.

6. Government assistance:

The federal and Victorian state government department websites offer information and sometimes incentives to reduce the energy you require to run your home.
• For example, you can ask for an assessment of the energy performance of your home, based on the Victorian Residential Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
• The CSIRO also offers information on its website.
• Beyond Zero Emissions offers up to date publications that can help with transitioning to a more efficient and comfortable home.

7. When renovating:

Consider capturing more sunlight along the north side of the house to increase light and warmth, a good long-term investment.

Energy used to heat homes, particularly gas, is a significant contributor to greenhouse emissions. By making your home energy efficient you will save on energy bills and also reduce emissions. If you have gas heating and reverse cycle air conditioning, do consider closing doors and using the reverse cycle air con to heat living rooms instead of gas, whenever you can.

Resources with information on improving energy efficiency in the home

Beyond Zero Emissions 2015, The energy -freedom home. Scribe, Brunswick.
Wright, J Osman, P & Ashworth, P 2009, The CSIRO home energy saving handbook. Macmillan, Sydney.
Institute of Sustainable Futures 2013, Your home 5th Ed. Dept. of Environment and Energy, Canberra.

Websites Cranney, K & Wright, A, Our top tips on renovating or retrofitting for energy-efficiency, 27/11/20
Energy Efficient Homes can help save dollars and the environment – by Rochelle Kirkham



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On 21 November 2018, the Ballarat City Council passed a Notice of Motion from Councillor Belinda Coates acknowledging the climate emergency

On 3 April 2019 Ballarat City Council endorsed the Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan with a goal of net-zero emissions for council by 2025

On 24 March 2021 City of Ballarat Council unanimously endorsed an aspirational community-wide target of Net Zero emissions by 2030. 

These are outstanding goals but now the community needs to get on board and support and encourage and help deliver these breakthroughs. 






On 3 May the Victorian State Government finally announced its Emissions Reductions Target: 45-50% cuts on 2005 levels by 2030.

The target is actually lower than that recommended in 2019 by the Independent Expert Panel established under Victoria’s Climate Change Act and headed by Greg Combet, to advise the government on target setting. An article in The Conversation, “A great start, but still not enough: why Victoria’s new climate target isn’t as ambitious as it sounds,” elaborates on this fundamental shortcoming: 

The panel recommended targets of 32–39% by 2025 and 45–60% by 2030 as Victoria’s “fair share” contribution to limiting warming to well below 2℃ in accordance with Paris Agreement goals. And it acknowledged these recommended ranges still wouldn’t be enough to keep warming to 1.5℃, in the context of global efforts.

Speaking at a University of Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute webinar on the evening of the announcement, Greg Combet noted that a more ambitious target would have required federal government action. One audience question by Melbourne Uni’s Associate Professor Peter Christoff, highlighted the modest level of ambition:

In 2021 Victoria’s emissions are already between -25 and -27 percent below 2005 levels.  If we add the already announced closure, by 2028, of Yallourn W – which produces some 13.5% of the State’s emissions – we will have reduced emissions by around 40% by 2028.  Is there only a further 5% to 10% - a half a percent to one percent per annum – to be cut from all other sectors in this decade, through to 2030?  Why not more from other sectors?

In answering, the Minister referenced the importance of investor certainty and that ‘if we can achieve more we will.’ Elaborating on this, Combet noted that there is a legislated process in train to monitor 2025-2030 targets on a sector by sector basis, to identify where reductions can be accelerated. 

While setting a lower target than is required is obviously extremely disappointing, opting it seems for a pragmatic approach in the interests of keeping business on side, Victoria’s stance is nonetheless considerably more ambitious than that of the federal government and currently leads the nation in driving climate action. One hope expressed at the MSSI webinar was for collaboration between the states, which all have Zero 2050 targets, to accelerate national action.

Importantly, the Victorian target is also accompanied by spending commitments to decarbonise the economy: $100 million towards reducing transport emissions; $20 million on making farming more sustainable; $15.3 million for the Victorian Carbon Farming Program; and the rather exciting promise that: ‘Government operations, from schools and hospitals to police stations and metro trains, will also be powered with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 – an Australian first.’

Tragically, the 2021 Federal Budget has failed to back renewables. There will be no green recovery. Expressing the exasperation of many, Renew Economy's Ketan Joshi observed:

Climate change is no longer an ‘issue’. It is everything: it soaks into every single compartmentalised subject matter in society. It drives the worsening of pre-existing problems – and climate solutions can drive the curing of those problems, too. A massive, budget-driven project to commence a rapid, immediate decarbonisation of Australia could be transformative.

In view of the 2021 federal budget failure, and comparing the Victorian ERT to Ballarat’s recent Net Zero 2030 target it seems it will be we, at the local level, left to drive radical action – but you probably already knew that! 

With that in mind we ask BREAZE members and friends to please consider making a submission on the CoB’s Draft Budget for 2021-22, which is currently open for feedback on the MySay Ballarat site. Do read the Draft Budget document before you make your submission. BREAZE Inc would like to see funds allocated for developing a Plan to promote and implement the Net Zero 2030 community-wide target. 

Read more: President's Report May 2021

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In case you hadn't heard, Ballarat Action Climate Co-op is organising a school strike –  coming up in less than two weeks in Ballarat – on May 21 at 12 PM Victoria Park. Strike organisers are seeking older strikers prepared to volunteer to help out as Marshals (they need about 100).  

Any  BREAZE members or friends who are interested in volunteering to be a Marshall can find more information on the Climate Strike Facebook site.

To volunteer as a Marshall please sign up on the form on this link:



              • Masks will be encouraged on the day and we’ll be getting people to physically distance as best we can.
          • We’ll have a marshal briefing sometime in the next week to go over covid safety, so if people fill out that form we’ll be able to get in touch with them in regards to the time and place of that meeting. 

In May 2020 the Victorian State Government announced a grant of $450,000 to install solar and battery generated power at eight community buildings and sites, to 'enhance the Ballarat community’s assets, create jobs, reduce energy costs, maximise savings and reduce emissions at a local level.' The eight projects were identified and developed by Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions Inc (BREAZE) through Ballarat’s Community Power Hub to benefit Ballarat and the wider region.

          • Child and Family Services (CAFS) received $30,000 to install solar systems to to reduce energy costs enabling savings to be directed into community programs. In addition
          • McCallum Disability Services received $70,000 to install solar on eight social housing sites for people with disOCA  CAGrove launch 9 7 2021abilities to reduce their energy costs.
          • Ballarat Regional Industries received $35,000 to install solar to offset energy costs for workshop site for disability services provider and enhance job opportunities.
          • Ballarat Cemetery Trust received $80,000 to install battery to provide power to crematorium during power outages.
          • Ballarat Table Tennis Association received $35,000 to install a solar system to offset costs and provide better facilities for members.
          • Ballarat Squash and Racquetball Club received $25,000 to install a 20 kW solar system to offset costs and provide better facilities for members.
          • The Old Colonists' Association received $75,000 to install solar on twelve social housing sites for low socio-economic pensioners - actually installed solar on 37 units, and the Community Centre with additional funds from a Bank Australia Impact Grant.
          • Uniting Care Australia received $100,000 to install solar systems on UnitingCare social housing in Ballarat and Western Victoria to reduce energy costs for low-income households - originally committed for 15 properties but actually delivered installations on 49 properties.

 Completed in September 2021 the Grampians Renewable Energy program, co-administered by BREAZE Inc. in partnership with DELWP Ballarat staff, delivered 384.16kW of rooftop solar  across 105 properties and a 27.6kWH battery. This Program overdelivered on the 42 properties originally envisaged for the $450,172 investment.

Steering Committee for Old Colonists' Association Inc. Retirement Village solar installation – 37 units and the community centre – OCA volunteer committee and BREAZE volunteers - front row L-R: OCA President, Jo Barber, DELWP Grampians Regional Manager, Katherine Campbell and BREAZE Project Coordinator, Peter Reid (OAM).

BREAZE members and supporters can now contribute to the Ballarat Housing Strategy. The City of Ballarat Draft Housing Strategy has been released and is open for online consultation until April 30th. With Ballarat anticipated to grow by 50,000 residents by 2040, this is a really important opportunity to try to ensure new housing development is environmental best practice. The Discussion Paper should provide an understanding of the Ballarat housing future. The Council advises that responses and feedback provided from community engagement will be considered in the draft Housing Strategy. Engagement on the discussion paper has been extended to 30 April 2021. Click here to have your say: Ballarat Housing Strategy | mySay - City of Ballarat

The spatial simulation of the energy efficient housing model

MDBallarat Net Zero 2030!

At its 24 March meeting the City of Ballarat Council responded to a Council staff report on setting a community net zero target prepared by the Sustainability Officer, Ching Tiong Tan (Tan), unanimously endorsing a community net zero date of 2030 – as proposed by Cr Belinda Coates. It’s a decisive step in addressing the climate emergency, but one which will of course need to be matched with appropriate funding in the upcoming budget.

Thank you to all who wrote letters and made submissions to Council. Your voices were heard and your good work paid off. Now, of course we must keep reminding Council along with the rest of the community about what is at stake. We have only nine years left to slash emissions sufficiently to set the right trajectory for the Paris target of zero 2050.

'Decarbonising our Regional Cities' - A Ballarat Case Study’

We in Ballarat are relatively well placed to take the lead here, being in the Western Victorian Renewable Energy Zone, with some key industries – McCains and Mars – already showing the way. Interestingly on 20 April from 1-2 pm climate think tank, Beyond Zero Emissions, is holding a free webinar in collaboration with the Committee for Ballarat – Decarbonising our Regional Cities' - A Ballarat Case Study – So if you want to find out more about how local industry is responding to this challenge click the link above. 

Smart Living Ballarat

BREAZE welcomes the new Smart Living Ballarat coordinator/host - Sam Rodgers 

The next Smart Living Ballarat online talk on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 AT 12:30 PM is Meet Ballarat's EV Enthusiasts - an introduction to electric cars and includes interviews with Pat Hockey (Nissan Leaf), Sandra Hawkins (Tesla Model 3) and Sam Blanchard (Hyundai Kona) – about what it’s like having an electric car and where to purchase, maintain and charge an EV in Ballarat. Rob Law from Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance will also discuss the Charging our Regions Project. Log on via SLB Facebook

Ballarat Green Drinks - 'Facing the Future: Faith in Climate Action'

On Thursday 15 April at 7:30 pm Ballarat Green Drinks continues online. Our April presenter, Fahimah, is Sydney Convenor of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and Director of Fahimah Designs, an architecture practice that specialises in energy efficient, low carbon buildings. Fahimah will talk about justice, diversity and her own journey in the climate movement. Fahimah will be speaking on why she got involved in climate activism, and why she choose ARRCC as her activism home. She will also be discussing the role that people of faith can play to broaden and deepen the climate justice movement, and the opportunities coming up with 'Sacred People, Sacred Earth', a global multifaith year of climate action. Register for free via Ballarat Green Drinks Facebook  

BREAZE Talks to Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – Radio 3BA

The next BREAZE talk on 3BA is on Friday 23 April at 10:15 AM. We hope that members will tune in to hear Board member Emily Lee, talk to Brett about ‘What you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.’ It’s a topic with renewed importance now that Ballarat has a community net zero target date.

JOIN US! - 18th April Get-together for BREAZE members and friends

The Board invites all BREAZE members and friends to join us for a get-together on Sunday 18th April from 3-5 pm in the Champagne Lounge at the Lake View Hotel - to celebrate COVID normal and the BallaratNetZero2030 target – and to just catch up with friends.

BREAZE Social Solar

BREAZE Social Solar will be getting a bit of media attention soon as the ten major projects, 9 of which are being administered under the Grampians Renewable Energy Program come to fruition. Many thanks to all who have worked on and donated to the program. Please consider supporting the work of BREAZE Social Solar with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt –- All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Board Vacancies

If you have a passion for climate action and are interested in working with us on the BREAZE Board send us an expression of interest. We are particularly looking for people with experience in: Project management; Media/communications; Marketing; Information technology; Event management; Fund raising; or Writing grant applications. Please also note that BREAZE members are welcome to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in joining the Board or in just attending the April Board meeting, now held via Zoom, should email me –

All the best


Mary Debrett
President, April 2021

 ‘Meet Ballarat’s EV Enthusiasts’ is an introduction to electric cars including interviews with Pat Hockey (Nissan Leaf), Sandra Hawkins (Tesla Model 3) and Sam Blanchard (Hyundai Kona).

We find out the best and worst things about having an electric car (spoiler alert: there aren’t many ‘worst’ things), as well as where to purchase, maintain and charge an EV in Ballarat.

We also chat to Rob Law from Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance about the Charging our Regions Project. This free one hour session will include a Q&A so any questions you may have about EV ownership can be answered by one of our experts. 
The session will also be streamed live to the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook page and posted afterwards for you to rewatch later!

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