Your Home

We have a range and resources for both renters and home owners, concession card holders, builders and planners on how to be sustainable in the home.

If you're interested in solar for your home you can also check out our Energy section

For more information about practical and hands-on sustainability tips and advice for the home, visit the Edendale Community Environment Farm website.  

For renters

There is a lot of information around to help homeowners make their homes more sustainable, but for renters, it can be more difficult to make substantial changes. However, there are many things that renters can do to improve the comfort of their home, reduce energy and water bills and contribute to a healthier environment. Rebates may also be available to offset the cost of some items. 

The Victorian (Green) Smart Renters' Guide is a fantastic resource full of ideas, including how to approach your landlord about making improvements.

Another way to become more energy efficient without having to purchase anything is to borrow a Sustainable Home Audit Kit through the Yarra Plenty Regional Library. These kits contain an infrared thermal imaging camera, power meter, water flow cup, thermometer and instructions on how they can be used. 

For further information or assistance, contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on 9433 3214. 

You can also receive free personalised advice from Council's Sustainability Officers through the Energy and Sustainable Living Advisory Service.

For landlords

Including sustainable features in your rental property can give you an advantage over other property owners, while providing a well maintained, efficient, comfortable and healthy house will retain tenants for longer, reducing the number of vacant days and advertising costs.

It may also be possible to achieve higher rent levels when renters know that their ongoing running costs will be low.

If the time comes to sell your property, marketing its sustainable features may well net you a premium.

From a cost perspective, you can claim the depreciation on upgrades to numerous items, such as efficient hot water systems, heating and cooling systems, curtains, external shading and water efficient taps and shower heads. For ideas on appliance upgrades download Council's Electric Home Planner.

Rebates are also available for some items, including in instances where an existing unit has failed, through the Victorian Energy Upgrades for Households scheme

Working with your tenant will help achieve the best possible outcome, and your tenants will often know exactly where the issues lie.

Concession card households

Incentives and rebates 

In addition to rebates that are available to all eligible households, there are several Victorian Government rebates available specifically to concession card holders. 

Electricity account holders who have one of the following eligible cards can apply for an annual electricity concession:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card.

For help with concessions, contact the Concessions Information Line on 1800 658 521 or .

Free energy saving products and advice for concession card holders 

Council also offers a limited selection of free products to assist low-income earners to become more energy efficient. These are available until supplies are exhausted and include: 

  • Standby power controller (to save on standby power) 
  • Twin timer pack (timer device for appliances) 
  • Electricity monitor (to measure whole house energy use over time) 
  • Power meter (to measure energy use by appliance) 
  • Weather seals, draught excluders (for draught proofing) 

For more information contact Council’s Sustainability Team on 9433 3214.

You can also receive free personalised advice from Council's Sustainability Officers through the Energy and Sustainable Living Advisory Service.

Another way to become more energy efficient without having to purchase anything is to borrow a Sustainable Home Audit Kit through the Yarra Plenty Regional Library. These kits contain an infrared thermal imaging camera, power meter, water flow cup, thermometer and instructions on how they can be used. 

Financing options 

We know that the up-front cost of some items presents a major barrier for many households wanting to improve their energy and water efficiency. To assist households with low income levels here are alternative forms of finance available. 

Contact your bank to enquire about a green loan program. 

Non-mains energy concession 

The Non-Mains Energy Concession assists cardholders who rely on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), firewood or heating oil for domestic heating, cooking or hot water, or who access non-mains electricity via an embedded network, or who rely on a generator. Special conditions apply for the firewood concession. 

All non-mains energy costs are covered from 1 January to 31 December each year. The amount of the rebate depends on the annual amount of each non-mains energy source purchased.  

Applications for each year close on the 30 June the following year. 

Apply directly via the Department of Health and Human Services website.

See the Department of Health and Human Services' fact sheet (PDF, 35KB) for more information or call their Concessions Information Line on 1800 658 521 (toll free).

Building and renovating

Buildings produce 20 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions through the use of energy during operation. What's more, the construction of buildings, including demolition waste, contributes 40 per cent of all the materials sent to landfill, and in operation, buildings use large amounts of potable water for non-drinking purposes.

There are growing expectations from the community for the built environment to meet appropriate standards of environmental performance.  For environmental, economic and social reasons, Council encourages sustainable building practices and supports you in creating a more sustainable lifestyle. Visit the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) section below for more information.

Council can support residents with environmentally sustainable design advice when intending to build or undertake significant renovations. You can receive free personalised advice through the Council's Energy and Sustainable Living Advisory Service.

Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP)

If you require a planning permit for your project, Council’s planning application process can include sustainable design considerations. 

Sustainable design elements are most effective and cost less when they are considered in the early stages of a development. These are good reasons for all applicants to incorporate Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) considerations within an application. 

Nillumbik will be using the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) program developed by the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP), providing clear guidance on sustainability goals and consistency of process with other participating Councils across Victoria. The SDAPP brochure (PDF, 689KB) provides more detail about what is required for all types of development. 

The SDAPP framework: 

  • recognises the role of local governments as a statutory authority for planning matters
  • provides a framework for consideration of sustainable design elements of planning applications
  • offers a consistent method for identifying opportunities for improved environmental building performance.

The SDAPP framework identifies 10 key sustainable design criteria that will assist in achieving a more sustainable dwelling. These include: 

The SDAPP framework acknowledges that the scale of a project has a bearing on the level of information and the types of sustainability initiatives that can be incorporated in a project. To address this, two assessment methodologies have been developed to target different sized projects. These are: 

  • Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) 
  • Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) 

Sustainability Management Plan (SMP)

An SMP provides a detailed sustainability assessment of a proposed design at the planning stage. It addresses the 10 sustainable design criteria and demonstrates that an holistic ESD review has been undertaken during a project’s early design stages. It also identifies beneficial, easy to implement and best practice initiatives. The nature of larger developments provides the opportunity for increased environmental benefits, opportunities for major resource savings, and lower ongoing running costs, therefore, more thorough investigation is justified.

For planning applications, an SMP should: 

  • Identify relevant sustainability targets or performance standards. 
  • Document the means by which the appropriate target or performance will be achieved. 
  • Identify the different areas of responsibility and provide a schedule for implementation, ongoing management, maintenance and monitoring. 
  • Demonstrate that the design elements, technologies and operational practices that comprise the SMP can be maintained over time. 

Preparation of an SMP will generally require the engagement of a sustainability consultant. 

Whilst applicants may include a self assessment to support an SMP, due to the increased opportunity presented and the higher standard expected from larger developments, self assessments alone may not meet Council’s expectations. Council acknowledges that other ESD assessment tools, such as green star rating tools, are available and where appropriate these tools can be used to benchmark environmental performance and demonstrate how the 10 sustainable design criteria have been addressed.