Switching on

Article image - Switching on City of Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones, Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale President Michelle Rich and City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst check their phones for energy smart tips as part of the Switched On Homes program.

A program by three Western Australian councils is reducing energy consumption and has earned a National Energy Efficiency Award from the Energy Efficiency Council.

The Switched on Homes program, part of the Switch Your Thinking initiative by the Cities of Gosnells and Armadale and the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, has been recognised for its investigation into the way technology could change energy efficiency behaviour and the potential for SMS prompts to alter short and long-term behaviour.
Switched on Homes proved so promising, parts of the program are now being rolled out on a larger scale in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Efficiency technology specialists Power Intelligence, land developer Stockland, Anglicare and Environment House were also involved in the program.

Trial participants received a data logger to measure energy use and were sent information via SMS to help them manage their energy usage.

Some participants also received technology that reduced the voltage entering their homes and enabled some appliances to work more efficiently.

City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst said the City was proud to be part of the highly successful Switched on Homes program.

“Overall, participants saved 64,207 kWh of electricity during the pilot, which is equivalent to the greenhouse emissions produced by a medium-sized car driving between Perth and Sydney 47 times,” Mayor Dewhurst said.

City of Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones OAM JP said Switched on Homes was the first program in Australia to send participants energy efficiency information via SMS.

“All participants in the trial received weekly energy smart tips and ‘peak load’ SMS when electricity demand was high, to measure how the community responded to requests to shift their energy use. Some participants also received feedback about their electricity use as monitored by the data logger installed in their meter box,” Mayor Zelones said.

Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale President Councillor Michelle Rich said the results of the program were being used to improve residential energy consumption habits across the globe.

“This program is a fantastic example of how collaboration between forward-thinking local governments can make a positive difference to residents with the greatest needs, such as seniors and people on low incomes,” Cr Rich said.

Switched on Homes was funded through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Low Income Energy Efficiency Program.