The Climate Safe Rooms program offers free home energy upgrades for low-income households where at least one resident receives home care support services for an existing chronic health condition that puts them at risk from heatwaves and extreme cold.
The program aims to improve comfort levels within the home by creating a Climate Safe Room, a room that is upgraded to remain comfortable during both summer and winter temperature extremes. The program will also measure the health outcomes and energy bill savings that result from making the home more comfortable to live in, all year round.
Expressions of interest will be invited from 20 eligible householders during early 2019. Upgrade work will occur throughout 2019.
The City of Greater Geelong may contact potential participants and refer them to the program if they are interested and meet the eligibility criteria. Please note however that referral does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
What is a Climate Safe Room?
A Climate Safe Room is a room in the house that has been retrofitted to ensure that it does not become uncomfortably hot in summer or too cold in winter. Initially the room is made more energy efficient and then a high efficiency reverse cycle air-conditioner (for heating and cooling) is fitted, together with a small roof-top solar system to generate the electricity needed to operate the air-conditioner and offset its running costs.
The program is funded by the Victorian Government and will create the Climate Safe Room at no cost to the eligible participant. The program will also measure health and wellbeing as well as energy bill savings that result from making the home more comfortable during summer and winter weather.
What to expect if you are selected for the program?
If selected for the Climate Safe Rooms program, you will receive a free home energy efficiency and comfort upgrade worth up to $10,000 and safely installed by licensed tradespeople.
The following may be included in the upgrade to create your Climate Safe Room:
- Draught proofing
- Ceiling or underfloor insulation;
- Secondary glazing, window coverings or external blinds;
- Efficient light replacement
- A high efficiency split system air-conditioner;
- A solar power system, to offset the running costs of the air-conditioner;
- Non-intrusive monitoring devices to measure health outcomes and energy bill savings.
If selected for the program, you will need to agree to receive:
- Two or three (2 - 3) initial visits from program officers to determine the energy efficiency of your home and identify ways in which you can save energy and cut costs.
- Approximately 4 - 6 visits from qualified tradespeople to install the various home upgrades.
- A further 2 - 3 visits from program officers once the upgrades have been completed to collect various types of energy use and health/wellbeing data over a two year period.
Home upgrade work will commence in mid 2019. Non-intrusive data monitoring will continue until mid 2021.
Am I eligible to participate?
The Climate Safe Rooms program aims to support community members who have complex healthcare needs that puts them at risk during summer heatwaves and the extreme cold of winter.
You may be invited to join the program if you meet some, or all of the following criteria:
- you live in the City of Greater Geelong Council area;
- you have a Commonwealth concession card - either a Centrelink Health Care Card OR a Pensioner Concession Card OR a DVA Pensioner Concession Card OR a DVA Gold Card;
- you receive home and community care services from the City of Greater Geelong or another community organisation;
- you have an existing chronic health condition that puts you at risk during heatwaves and extreme cold;
- you plan to reside in your current home for at least 2 years.
What if I rent my home?
If you are either a private, community or public housing tenant you will require permission from the building owner before any home upgrade can commence. If you wish, Geelong Sustainability can contact the owner on your behalf to explain the program and gain their consent.
How do I join?
The Climate Safe Rooms project is now complete and is no longer accepting new participants. Results from the pilot project are expected to be available in late 2022.
Who is running the Climate Safe Rooms program?
The Climate Safe Rooms program is an initiative of Geelong Sustainability, a not-for-profit community group that supports Geelong residents to live more sustainable everyday lives. Geelong Sustainability's partners for Climate Safe Rooms are the City of Greater Geelong, CSIRO, ecoMaster and Uniting. Funding for the program has been provided by the Victorian Governments Climate Change Innovation Grants.