How We Improved Our Comfort, Cut Our Bills and Stayed Living in the Home We Love


Julie and Alex have lived in their 1960s three bedroom, brick veneer home for 20 years.

After having seen electricity and gas prices steadily increase over the past few years, they wanted to continue to enjoy their home without having to worry about their heating and cooling costs becoming too much.

So, they made a plan to invest in a comfortable future; to be cosy in winter and cooler in summer with lower gas and electricity bills.

Julie shares her journey towards an energy-efficient home that’s now delightful to live in regardless of the temperature outside:

“Our home is a 3 bedroom 1960’s brick veneer house which has been fully renovated inside. We love spending time at home and enjoy our living room for its comfort and entertainment systems.

We have lived here for 20 years and our home was always very hot in summer. On a 24 degree day our home would be 26 degrees inside. Although we had installed a large and efficient ducted refrigerated air conditioner with several independent zones four years ago, it often never reached the set temperature and ran all the time during the day. I do not handle the heat well and had been disappointed that I was still uncomfortable after spending so much on our air conditioning system.

Winter was comfortable, however, in order to maintain warmth to this level it was necessary to run our ducted gas heating constantly and at night we were never able to balance between being too hot and too cold in bed.

Our bills were quite high and we had noticed rates increasing considerably over the last few years. We could not think of any ways to reduce our costs other than not using equipment or appliances as much, but this was not always an option and our enjoyment of our home would be reduced.

We hoped to keep our home cooler in summer as a priority and to be more efficient heating the home in winter.

ecoMaster is a company that provides expert energy efficiency assessments and solutions to add liveability, comfort and value to your home. We were impressed with the information on their website and the manner in which it was presented. It was very clearly explained and we decided to investigate what we could achieve by retrofitting our home with energy efficient products.

The ecoHome Retrofit Plan was the best money we spent on updating our house for a long time, and was so comprehensive and tailored specifically for our house. ecoMaster’s Chief Technical Officer and Senior Home Assessor, Maurice Beinat, is a genius. He spent over 5 hours at our home to do the assessment and then to sit with me and explain what he had found, what it meant and how to improve it.

We were surprised to learn that we had no wall insulation at all and that our ceiling insulation, which had been newly installed in 2012, was not fitted correctly. We saw hot spots on our ceilings from the infra-red camera photos that pinpointed unprotected areas in our ceiling. It was also shown that we had so many draughty points around windows and doors that we hadn’t realised as a source of our heating and cooling problems.

We undertook to do everything in the retrofit plan except underfloor works, so it was a matter of scheduling what would be the best order to do the work in. We had ceiling and wall insulation done first as we considered them to be the main culprits in our home heating/cooling efficiency. Everyone who came to work at our home on the various installations was friendly, professional, hardworking and soooooo  tidy. Would have ecoMaster back anytime.

After the ceiling and wall insulation, we noticed a marked improvement in maintaining warmth on cold days and nights. The heating ran less and the house maintained a more constant warmth, even at night and when we got up in the morning.

Then we followed on with draught proofing on all doors and windows and ecoGlaze Retrofit Double Glazing on most windows, plus external sunblinds, and we were done! The products are excellent, particularly the ecoGlaze which fits so well on our windows and is painted to match existing frames. Unobtrusive and streamlined.

Our gas bill for August and September this year compared to same time last year shows we’re already saving money:

  • Before retrofitting our home: $5.13 per day
  • After retrofitting our home: $3.65 per day

As yet we have not had a full quarter summer power bill but we are hoping to see similar reduction on this and that they will continue to remain lower.

We would highly recommend everyone start with the full assessment as it pinpoints problem areas that can be prioritised for best results if you cannot afford to do all the recommended upgrades at once.

Our old home with all of its design faults, (no wall insulation!…really?) was made so much more liveable and comfortable after a reasonable investment for upgrades. We spent $18,300 for everything: from the initial invaluable report, to the ecoGlaze windows at the end and, we believe, that in our house worth about $950,000+, this is a small and worthwhile investment into the comfort and liveability of your home. Not to mention a great list for the resume when you do decide to sell!

But ultimately, we did it for us as we intend to stay and want it to be as wonderful to live in as possible. We think it is one of the best investments we have made.

Anyone with an energy inefficient home with high power and gas bills, or homes which are uncomfortable to live in because of the cold or oppressive heat would benefit. If people followed ecoMaster’s recommendations for their homes, they would achieve greater energy efficiency which would result in less use of heating and cooling appliances. This, in turn, should lower utility bills, greenhouse emissions and a better quality of life from full and comfortable enjoyment of your home.”

To learn more about creating your own Home Retrofit Plan, click here.

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