Sustainable households

Save energy at home

The average Victorian household spends over $2,500 on energy bills every year.

Tips to save energy and reduce your energy bills

  • Insulate your roof and walls. Good insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 65%.
  • Switch to energy-saving LED light globes to save up to 80% on your lighting costs.
  • Seal draughts around windows, doors, plumbing, heating units and ducted systems.
  • Use your reverse cycle air conditioner as a heater.
  • Switch off appliances at the wall when not in use. Standby power can cost households hundreds each year.
  • Set your air conditioner thermostat between 18°C and 20°C. Every degree higher can increase your bill by up to 10%.
  • Use a heater timer. Set the timer for 20 minutes before you wake up or arrive home from work.
  • Set your fridge to 3 to 5°C and your freezer at -15 to -18°C.
  • Use curtains or blinds to keep the indoor temperature comfortable. On hot days you’ll keep the heat out and can open windows at night to cool down your home. In winter, open the curtains during the day to let the sun warm the room naturally and close curtains at night to keep the heat in.
  • Wash clothes in full loads with cold water and hang them up to dry.
  • Borrow a Power-Mate from any City of Stonnington library to measure your energy use, running costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Get free energy advice

We've partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation to provide you with free and trustworthy energy saving advice, services and products. They can also connect you with reliable suppliers for everything you need to make your home energy efficient. They conduct a rigorous procurement process so that you can buy with ease and confidence.   

The Australian Energy Foundation is a for-purpose organisation, leading the way to an equitable zero carbon society.

Home energy assessments

Many Victorian homes have high energy bills simply due to the way the home is built. A home energy assessment can help you improve this performance by rating your home and suggesting improvements.

The Victorian Government’s Scorecard involves an accredited assessor visiting your home to review and rate the energy efficiency of your home’s construction, fixed appliances and other key features like solar.

Save energy at home webinars

Prepare your home for winter

Watch our webinar featuring an expert from Renew to help you prepare your home and reduce your energy use during the cooler months.

 

Summer ready home with Arky Elston

Watch this webinar with energy efficiency expert Arky Elston to learn the many ways to buffer your home from the heat without the huge energy bill or carbon footprint. We talk cooling systems, air quality, DIY draught proofing, ventilation, insulation and using plants for shade.

Sign up to our monthly Environment eNews to have sustainability programs, events and news delivered directly to your email inbox.

Renewable energy for your home

Rooftop solar

An average solar system can pay for itself through your energy bill savings in 4-6 years.

Speak to an energy expert at the Australian Energy Foundation or Renew to discuss your home, roof space and energy use and determine if solar is right for you.

Visit the Clean Energy Council or CHOICE for more information about choosing a solar system and supplier.

Rebates and financing solar

The Victorian Government is currently offering rebates on the cost of installing solar panels, solar hot water systems and solar battery storage.

You may be eligible for a state government rebate of up to $1,888 if:

  • You’re an owner-occupier with a household income less than $180,000.
  • Your home is valued at under $3 million.

There are also rebates available to renters that help tenants and landlords share the benefit of solar including interest-free loans up to the value of the rebate.

Find out more and apply on the Solar Victoria website.

GreenPower

GreenPower is a great way to access renewable energy if you aren’t able to install rooftop solar on your home or business.  It's a federal government scheme that allows households and businesses to purchase clean, renewable energy from an electricity retailer. The electricity retailer will add certified renewable energy to the grid on your behalf.

Save water at home

Adopting water efficiently principles in your home has many benefits. It will:

  • lower your water bills
  • give you an independent water supply
  • help your garden survive through low periods of rain
  • reduce sewage discharged to rivers and the oceans. 

Here are some ways you can save water at home:

Install a rainwater tank

Using rainwater to water your garden can reduce the use of scheme water by up to 25 per cent, and is preserving our precious resource.

In line with advice from Melbourne Water, due to potential water quality issues we do not support drinking rainwater tank water in urban areas.

Things to consider before installing a rainwater tank

Check your drainage

Ensure there is adequate drainage that won’t cause any issues for neighbouring properties. The tank needs an overflow pipe that matches the size of the inlet, and can return excess stormwater to the property drain.

Check building requirements

Domestic rainwater tanks don’t require a building permit but you should consider where they are placed to ensure there are no issues with neighbours or local amenities.

Estimate your water use

Consider what the water will be used for and the volume needed.

Planning conditions

In most cases a planning permit is not required to install a domestic rainwater tank with a capacity of 4,500 litres or less.

To check if you need a planning permit call our Planning Services team on 8290 1333.

Greywater treatment systems

Greywater is all non-toilet household waste water, such as water from washing machines, showers and laundry sinks.

It can be a good water resource in dry periods however, if misused, can carry health and environmental risks.

Kitchen and toilet water is not allowed to enter a greywater system and greywater cannot be used for drinking purposes. However, you can use greywater on your property to replace scheme water for toilet flushing and garden watering.

We believe greywater can be reused effectively and safely in households by following these few simple dos and don'ts:

Greywater Dos

Do:

  • use greywater from baths, showers, hand basins and washing machines (preferably the final rinse water)
  • use greywater on the garden
  • alternate the areas of your garden you water - only apply enough water for the soil to absorb
  • wash your hands after watering your garden with greywater.

Greywater Don'ts

Don't:

  • water vegetable gardens with greywater if the vegetables are to be eaten raw
  • use greywater that might have faecal contamination, such as water from washing nappies
  • use greywater from the kitchen (including from dishwashers)
  • store greywater for more than 24 hours
  • let children or pets drink or play with greywater
  • allow greywater to leave your property or enter stormwater systems
  • use greywater during wet or rainy periods
  • use greywater if it’s smelly or your plants aren’t looking healthy.

Before considering a greywater system for your home please refer to information on the EPA Victoria website.

Permanent installations require EPA Victoria approval and should also be discussed with your local water retailer - South East Water or Yarra Valley Water. 

Do you need a permit?

Before installing a greywater system please confirm permit requirements with our Environmental Health team on 8290 1333.

Steps to obtaining a permit

  1. Confirm your chosen greywater treatment system is on the list of EPA certified systems.
  2. Complete a Domestic Greywater Treatment System(DOC, 76KB) application
  3. Before installing the system, arrange a preliminary site inspection with one of our environmental health officers.
  4. Following installation, arrange a final inspection with one of our environmental health officers.

A permit will only be issued if all site inspections have been completed.

Important:  Only greywater systems with a current Certificate of Approval from the EPA will be permitted. Irrigation systems must be designed and installed in compliance with EPA Certificate of Approval CA1.5/08. The system must not be constructed until a 'permit to install' has been issued. The system must not be used until a 'permit to use' has been issued.

If you have any questions please contact our Environmental Health team on 8290 1333.

Build a raingarden

A raingarden is just like a regular garden but is positioned so that it catches rainwater from hard surfaces such as rooftops, paths or roads. 

We have installed 47 raingardens across the city to improve the quality of stormwater entering our waterways and help reduce the impacts of flooding.

We also support residents who would like to build a raingarden at home.

Read our Green Blue Infrastructure Manual(PDF, 12MB) to learn how you can improve stormwater quality by installing raingardens, tree pits, permeable pavements and structural soils.

For tips on how to build a raingarden visit the Melbourne Water website, email our Environment team or call 8290 1333.

Support biodiversity at home 

Biodiversity is the range of all forms of life on earth — the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, and the ecosystems they are part of. Despite being in the heart of Melbourne, Stonnington has some incredible biodiversity in our parks and open spaces.

You can help provide habitat for local birds, bees, butterflies and lizards by creating a wildlife haven on your balcony or in your backyard. By providing food, nesting, shelter and water, wildlife will be drawn to your garden and add a whole range of benefits to both your garden and the wider community.  

Create habitat for wildlife:

  • Fill your garden with locally native plants from nurseries like Victorian Indigenous Nursery Co-op or Bili Nursery.
  • Create a multi-layered habitat of ground covers and small and medium shrubs.
  • Plant flowering species like grevillea, correa and wattle to attract nectar eating birds and insects.
  • Build dense and protective habitat using prickly shrubs such as Acacia paradoxa.
  • Use logs, sticks, leaf litter and rocks in your garden to provide habitat for native bees, insects, skinks and lizards.
  • Put in a bird-bath or pond.

Visit Sustainable Gardening Australia or Birds in Backyards website for more tips on designing a garden for birds and wildlife. 

Keep wildlife safe

A garden that is safe for wildlife means it is safer for pets and children too.

Keeping your cat indoors or in an outdoor enclosure will keep them and wildlife safe. For ideas on keeping a happy cat, visit Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife.  

Fruit tree netting – netting is a popular way to protect fruit, but can be dangerous for wildlife like birds, flying-foxes and possums who are looking for food. Use netting that has a mesh size of 5mm x 5mm or less at full stretch to reduce the risk of wildlife becoming entangled. For advice on fruit tree netting, visit Agriculture Victoria.

Become a citizen scientist 

There are so many ways to get involved, contribute to science and learn about the thriving biodiversity in our city.

  • iNaturalist: download the iNaturalist app on your smartphone to join a global community of citizen scientists and get help to identify the plants and animals around you.
  • ClimateWatch: join this national initiative and help scientists understand how Australia’s environment is responding to climate change. It’s all done on an easy-to-use app on your smartphone.
  • Aussie Backyard Bird Count: celebrate National Bird Week in October by heading to your favourite open space and recording the birds you see.
  • Frog census: become a frog monitor using the Frog Census app. Head to your nearest river, creek or wetlands, listen out for frog calls and record what you hear. 

Living with possums

Stonnington is home to two varieties of possum - the Common Brushtail Possum and the Common Ringtail Possum.

While living with possums isn’t always easy, it is possible to live in harmony in our shared urban spaces.

Please note: Possums are protected by law, and you have a legal obligation to deal with possums humanely. Possums can be trapped in order to remove them from a roof, but must be released on the same property within 50 metres of the capture site.

One of a possum's biggest challenges is finding shelter and nesting sites, and the Brushtail possum will often be found seeking shelter in our roof spaces and wall cavities. Ringtail possums will rarely enter a roof, instead preferring to build a shelter in dense foliage metres off the ground.

If possums are a nuisance at your house visit the DELWP website or Sustainable Gardening Australia website for tips on managing possums.

Injured possums

If you find an injured possum please call Wildlife Victoria on toll free 1300 094 535.

You can also email the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or call them on 136 186.