The Senior

Energy efficiency and window shutters: Lowering utility bills in Melbourne

With energy bills increasing it's important to find ways to make your home more energy efficient. Picture Shutterstock
With energy bills increasing it's important to find ways to make your home more energy efficient. Picture Shutterstock

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With the cost of living continuing to rise throughout Australia, it is little wonder that so many of us are actively seeking ways to save on essentials, including utility bills such as electricity.

While shopping around different providers may help you find a better deal, the reality is they are all much the same. Instead, one of the most practical solutions is to find ways to reduce your overall energy usage and make your home more energy efficient.

One strategy for achieving this that offers long-term energy efficiency benefits alongside a host of added extras is external window shutters. The following outlines our investigation into window shutters and energy efficiency including recent studies, data and expert opinions.

Electricity prices: The latest statistics

Ask anyone in charge of paying their homes energy bills and they'll tell you that continued price rises are very apparent and inescapable. However, just how much have they gone up, is it really that bad?

According to Victoria's Essential Services Commission, who set the Victorian Default Offer prices that help to regulate prices set by energy providers, from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 average annual bills in Victoria may increase by up to a whopping 25 per cent.

This is reported as being mainly due to a large increase in wholesale electricity costs which must be passed on to the consumer for providers to remain solvent.

Where changes of a smaller percentage would still be felt, a 25 per cent increase in the space of a year has the potential to severely impact Victorian households and businesses.

The Victorian climate & energy efficiency

With Victoria experiencing sweltering summers and bone-chilling winters, it is easy to understand why so many have become reliant on heating and cooling systems.

They are essential for Victorian's wanting to remain comfortable in their own homes no matter the season or what weather it brings. This is a fact supported by the Bureau of Statistics that asserts that as early as 2009 around two-thirds of Victorian households (67 per cent) had one or more air conditioners installed.

Victoria regularly struggles with power outages during peak periods, particularly in summer, due to an overloaded grid as households struggle to keep a comfortable indoor temperature.

As such finding ways to be less reliant on air conditioning or make it more efficient are increasingly important.

Two-thirds of Victorian households have one or more air conditioners. Picture Shutterstock.
Two-thirds of Victorian households have one or more air conditioners. Picture Shutterstock.

The government's position

With little relief on the horizon, the Victorian government is encouraging homeowners to make changes to become more energy efficient and promote a more sustainable future.

This includes access to resources through Sustainability Victoria regarding building or renovating for greater efficiency as well as some practical steps homeowners can pursue towards this.

Things such as switching off lights and appliances when not in use, changing to LED lighting, cleaning air conditioner filters and heating water during off-peak times are all part of this.

However, their data indicates that a massive 47 per cent of the average Victorian's electricity bill is attributable to heating and cooling, meaning more has to be done to reduce reliance on these or bills will remain high.

The answer? Better insulation and helpfully, this does not have to mean renovations and is not limited to new builds.

How window shutters contribute to enhanced energy efficiency

According to the Department of Energy, around 30 per cent of a home's heating energy is lost through windows. Conversely, approximately 76 per cent of all sunlight that falls on a standard double-pane window transfers through and heats the indoors of your home.

The simplest way to gain great control over this heat loss or transfer is to invest in window coverings. This facilitates greater energy efficiency by making it easier to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Potentially reducing your reliance on heating and cooling and thereby lowering your energy bills.

While indoor window covering such as blinds and curtains can contribute to this, the most effective solution is to create a tight seal against the elements through outdoor window shutters.

Enhance energy efficiency with external window shutters. Picture Shutterstock
Enhance energy efficiency with external window shutters. Picture Shutterstock

The window shutter solution

Typically made of insulated aluminium slats, a roller shutter curtain, when professionally installed, creates a tight seal around all sides of your windows.

This seal, combined with the inbuilt insulation and air pocket created between the glass and inner side of the shutter create an exceptional barrier against heat transfer or loss. Making them ideal for all seasons.

Able to be installed on windows of all shapes and sizes and designed to last for decades, as long-term industry expert David Spotiswood, CEO of Titan Shutters attests to.

"Quality roller shutters are one of the single most effective additions you can make to your home for enhancing its energy efficiency with the potential to cut your electricity bills by 25 to 30 per cent," he said.

"Even brand new homes built to current efficiency standards can greatly benefit as without the premium thermal insulation provided by window shutters, they are just as vulnerable to heat loss and transfer."

A versatile investment

Arguably not the lowest cost investment you can make towards energy efficiency, window shutters do however offer significant return on investment over time.

Using less energy than it takes to boil a kettle, operating your shutters is also efficient and inexpensive.

A proven method for enhancing energy efficiency and lowering energy costs associated with heating and cooling, they also come with several other valuable features.

From high-level security as a near impenetrable barrier against burglars, to complete control over light and privacy and a reduction in neighbourhood noise among others, this is one solution that is well worth investigating.

Add to this their longevity and minimal maintenance requirements and they further take the lead as a sustainable, environmentally friendly option for Victorians not only focused on cost reduction now but in future also.