Sustainability Victoria and the Victorian Government have launched a free online renovation planning resource program—‘Smarter Renovations’, which they say will guide energy efficient practices for all home renovators.

The program will provide home renovators with interactive tools, information and independent advice on how to improve and maximise the energy efficiency of their building, be it any size or scale of project.

The organisation says they implemented the online tool to combat what they called the “knowledge gap in the home renovation market.”

“There is little practical information available on energy efficient retrofits and renovations, or advice provided to help renovators go beyond minimum building standards (currently 6/10 stars),” said a statement from the organisation.

“This results in missed opportunities which are crucial to the comfort and ongoing energy costs of living in the renovated house.”

The research released from Sustainability Victoria indicates that the knowledge gap in Victoria’s home renovations is particularly visual in wall and floor insulation as well as energy efficient lighting.

Sustainability Victoria’s research found:

  • 2/5 of Victorian renovators (40%) fail to fit wall insulation while almost 3/4 of Victorian renovators (72%) also fail to add floor insulation.
  • Almost 1/3 of Victorian homes (30%) do not have adequate door seals.
  • More than half of Victorian homes (56%) have inefficient lighting.
  • Only 1/4 of Victorian renovators (24%) chose to replace existing windows with double glazed.

The Smarter Renovations Planner tool attempts to addresses this knowledge gap by giving home renovators an accessible and free platform to calculate accurate cost savings that can be achieved by making different energy efficiency improvements. These improvements include things such as improving insulation, windows or lighting, draught-proofing and upgrading appliances.

Users of the Planner tool are asked five initial questions regarding the size, type of occupancy, location, material composition and aspect of their homes, before being delving deeper into the goals of their home renovation.

It works by assessing the type of house, current energy needs and use, together with the renovation work being planned.

The Key features of the Smarter Renovations program include:

  • The Smarter Renovations Planner – an online tool that calculates accurate cost savings that can be achieved by making energy efficiency improvements to any home.
  • ‘Your Guide to a Smarter Renovation’ – a consumer guide with comprehensive information and practical advice for novice and experienced renovators on how to incorporate energy efficiency improvements during a home renovation.
  • A series of Renovation Profiles, detailing the experiences of several individuals during their home renovation projects, sharing their successes and challenges.

The program can be accessed here: