This chapter examines insulation in Victorian households.
State and federal governments have encouraged households to install insulation.
In early 2009 the federal government announced a Home Insulation Program under the Energy Efficient Homes Package as part of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan. Up until February 2010, the program gave a rebate to homeowner and renters who installed insulation in their dwellings.
The proportion of insulated dwellings in Australia has increased from 52% in 1994 rising to 61% by 2008 (ABS 2008). In 2005, 84% of households installing insulation in Australia gave the main reason for installing to improve comfort, while 34% of people without insulation stated the main obstacle to installing insulation was that they were not responsible for the insulation. Saving energy ranked low on the list of reasons for installing insulation (ABS 2005).
A large proportion of Victorian households have insulation, mostly in the roof or ceiling for reasons of comfort. Insulation in a dwelling contributes to comfort all year round, as well as reducing energy used for heating and cooling.
As part of the Victorian Government's Energy Saver Incentive, households may receive a rebate for under-floor insulation.
Of the 2,091,800 households in Victoria, 72% had insulation (including households that were waiting for ordered insulation to be installed) and 11% did not. A further 17% (351,600) were unsure if their dwelling had insulation or not.
Across Victoria, 65% households with the lowest household annual income had insulation, but a larger proportion (81%) of households with the highest annual household income had insulation.
Most households in Victoria with a solar energy source had insulation in their dwelling (93%). Like households with insulation, the proportion of households with solar energy also differed by income. Households earning $110,000 or more per year had 7.4% with solar energy which was higher than households earning less than $25,000 per year at 1.8%.
Of the 554,000 rented dwellings in Victoria, there was a higher rate of households with either no insulation or that did not know if they had insulation when compared with dwellings being purchased or dwellings owned outright. For rented dwellings, 20% had no insulation and a further 43% did not know if they had insulation. However for dwellings owned outright or being purchased 8.2% and 7.1% had no insulation and 5.9% and 7.8% did not know if they had insulation, respectively.
Across Victoria, dwellings with air conditioners were more likely to have insulation. 80% of the 1,423,800 dwellings with air conditioners had insulation, compared to 56% of the 668,000 dwellings without any air conditioners.
In regional Victoria, dwellings two years old or less were more likely to have insulation than older dwellings, with 88% compared to 77%. Melbourne showed little difference between dwelling age and households with insulation.
Households who were not renting and who stated that they had insulation were asked where the insulation was, or was intended to be installed. Of the 1,306,000 non-renting households in Victoria with insulation most dwellings (99%) had roof or ceiling insulation. 31% of dwellings also had insulation in the walls. A small percentage, 2.4%, had insulation in the floor.
Wall insulation was more common in dwellings (not renting) that were two years old or less, with approximately two-thirds (69%) having wall insulation compared to approximately one-third (30%) of older dwellings.
Across Victoria, the top three main reasons for installing insulation were to achieve comfort, building regulations or standards and cost or save on energy bills. More than half of (not renting) households (52%) stated comfort was the main reason for installing insulation.
More than 40% of households (not renting) in dwellings aged two years or less stated building regulations or standards as the main reason for installing insulation, which was almost 5 times higher than the 8.5% of households (not renting) in older dwellings.
Over half of households (not renting) that stated building regulations or standards (57%) or using less energy (54%) as the main reasons for installing insulation had insulation installed in the walls.
Of the 120,100 Victorian (not renting) households without insulation, 63% would install insulation if a grant or rebate existed.
While 67% of separate houses in Victoria would install insulation if a rebate or grant existed, only 48% of semi-detached dwellings, apartments units or flats would install insulation. 75% of households with a household income of $110,000 per year or above would install insulation if a grant or rebate existed while 50% of households with an income of less than $25,000 per year would install insulation if a rebate or grant existed.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2005, Environmental Issues: People's views and practices, Mar 2005, Cat no. 4602.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS 2008, Environmental Issues: Energy Use and Conservation, Mar 2008, Cat no. 4602.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.