The House With No Bills is an initiative of real estate giant Mirvac, in line with their manifesto to develop affordable, self-sustaining communities for the future, where householders no longer have to pay for their energy. The Zimmerman family have been chosen for a pilot program to live in a purpose-built, sustainably designed home for one year – with no bills.
“It’s just going to be a great opportunity for us,” says nursing student and mother of two teenage children Lisa Zimmerman, who expects the family to save around $28,000 in the next 12 months, in exchange for taking part in the study to learn how they use the house and consume energy.
According to CEO of Sustainability Victoria Stan Krpan the average Australian household spends around $2,000 a year on energy, 60% of which goes into heating. “It’s going to help us financially – take the stress off a little bit, to do things we’ve been trying to do, but also to have the opportunity to actually really try and drive change,” says Lisa.
The study is the first of its kind in the world and part of the “This changes everything” sustainability initiative, designed to understand and gain insights into how the family consumes energy and how technology can deliver energy more efficiency. “It makes a very sustainable house, and that reduces the impact we’re having on our planet,” says Mirvac CEO & Managing Director Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.
The home is designed for sustainability and fitted with state-of-the-art appliances and power-saving technology that Mirvac hope and expect thousands of homeowners will adopt in time – feeding back into the grid to save money, time and save the environment, one home at a time.
“For our family itself, any time you don’t have to pay bills or rent is always a good thing!” says police officer and father Rob Zimmerman, who is looking forward to being able to use the heater without Lisa worrying about the cost.
The family will monitor their energy consumption with the help of smart technology and a raft of energy efficient appliances, including water heater, heating and cooling.
“We hope that what they will find is just how easy it all is and how there is not anything reuired on their behalf, other than just living the way that they ordinarily would,” says CEO of Evergen Emlyn Keane.
“The house with No Bills could change everything. It could change everything for families in Australia living in highly sustainable, very low cost homes.”Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.
The family will complete a series of video diaries and provide feedback on the usability and functionality of the home technology they’ll be using – feeding back to a research team at Curtin University for tracking and observation.
As part of the project, they have been learning how to live more sustainably and reduce energy output – including saving water.
Here are five easy ways to reduce water usage at home:
1. Cut your showers short! Speeding things up in the shower can amount to some serious savings.
2. Don’t turn on the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s full. Avoid running half-loads, as they can add up to litres of wasted water.
3. Water your plants early in the morning or at dusk. This is because you’ll need less, as cooler morning and evening temperatures mean losing a smaller amount of water to evaporation.
4. If you’re hand washing your dishes, make sure the sink is full of dishes first! Avoid running the tap while you’re scrubbing. Instead, make the most of using a full sink.
5. Turning off the water when you brush your teeth. This is one of the easiest ways to start cutting back on water consumption at home. When you start brushing, turn the taps off until it’s time to rinse.
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