Woodend architect, Brad Hooper, is using his family home as a case study of how to transform a typical 1970s brick veneer into a comfortable home with a low carbon footprint – and a MASH solar system is part of the solution.
Improving energy efficiency
“There’s a vast building stock of ‘70s brick veneers that are under insulated, poorly orientated but fundamentally well-built and often too good to flatten”, says Mr Hooper. He sees his home as an interesting project to work on and example of how to improve its energy efficiency in a cost-effective, realistic way. He is advising clients in the region with similar homes on how to take the same sorts of steps to improve their properties.
Solar part of ‘future proofing’
Brad had a list of priorities and for a long time solar was quite low down on it. But then he got a few larger electricity bills and that changed his mind.
“One bill was for $440 for only 2 months. We aren’t heavy electricity users; there are just two of us at home now. We don’t have electric heating but we do have electric hot water that mostly heats up on an off-peak tariff.”
“But with these higher bills, I realised that our electricity bills wouldn’t be getting lower. I wanted to start future proofing so we don’t get keep getting landed with high bills. So I decided to put solar PV to the top of the list.”
Commercial solar companies ‘got parked’
“Coincidentally, I had a cold call from a sales rep wanting to sell solar; then a knock on the door from a company offering a so-called special deal saying that I’d get $2,000 off if I signed up on the day. I didn’t like these approaches so I parked them. Next I saw the MASH banner on the community centre in Woodend and went online and registered.”
Liking the ethos behind MASH
“I like to support collaborations at a community level and was impressed by the ethos of the MASH community solar bulk-buy, its commitment to CO2 emissions reduction and not-for-profit status.”
“I spoke to the MASH solar supplier Sunergy and found the whole process seamless. I was given a date for installation and it all happened according to plan.”
“Sunergy recommended a 4.12kW MASH Premium system as it would cover the energy requirements of my home and home/office – plus put clean power into the grid which my neighbours can use. Sunergy have advised that my electricity bill savings in the first year will be around $760.”
Sun power in Woodend
“I love to see how the system is performing and at 6.45am the other morning we were getting 300 watts of energy. Yesterday, even though it was overcast, we were getting 600 watts at 8am and by late morning it was close to 4,000 watts. If you can get energy from the sun in Woodend – which is much maligned for its perceived lack of sun – you can get it anywhere.”
“Producing your own solar power is the cleanest form of renewable energy. It’s a no brainer in my opinion!”
“As a consultant I would have no hesitations in recommending MASH to my clients.”
Brad’s solar system at a glance
- 2 person home in Woodend, Victoria
- Running on electric: TV, lighting and electric hot water and a home office
- MASH Premium Solar PV system installed October 2016, comprising:
- 4.16kW JA Solar Panels (16 panels)
- Fronius Primo inverter
- Electricity bills before solar PV system: $1,504 annually / $376 per quarter (average)
- Estimated electricity bill savings with MASH system in year 1: $760 annually / $190 per quarter (approx)
MASH stands for the campaign for More Australian Solar Homes, a community solar bulk-buy organised by the not-for-profit Hub Foundation in Castlemaine.
For more information about MASH, visit mash.org.au or call the MASH team on 1300 466 274.