The people of the Illawarra have been leading the way in tackling the challenges posed by climate change. Households use 30% of all the energy consumed in NSW. This means the small, everyday changes residents of the Illawarra are undertaking to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and cut their greenhouse gas emissions, can collectively have a big impact in creating more sustainable futures.

Image: Cycling and walking are great ways to improve our health, and address issues like climate change

Just some of the simple but important changes we can make in our homes and lives to become more energy efficient include:

  • Investigate the Home Power Saver program which provides eligible households with free energy assesments, a power saver action plan and power saving kits. 
  • Switching to solar hot water (remember to check out our rebates page)
  • Insulating your walls and ceiling to reduce heat loss or gain (remember to check out our rebates page)
  • Getting rid of any old second fridges – you can even be paid to have it taken away and disposed of responsibility through the Fridge Buyback scheme
  • Replacing incandescent light globes and down lights with energy efficient globes
  • Walking, cycling and using public transport rather than relying on your car
  • Selecting energy efficient new appliances – see check for more info on the labels to look out for
  • Washing in cold water and dry your clothes in the sun when possible
  • Turning appliances off at the wall when not in use
  • Installing AAA rated showerheads to reduce hot water use
  • Purchasing Green Power
  • Installing Photovoltaic solar panels for household energy production (remember to check out our rebates page)

What Council is doing to reduce its energy consumption

Kiama Municipal Council has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce its energy consumption to demonstrate to the community that it is taking action as well as encouraging the community to reduce their energy consumption.  These initatives include:

  • Installing a 10kW photovoltaic solar power system on its Administration building
  • Installing power factor correction equipment in the Administration building
  • Trialling energy efficient lighting technology for future upgrades


Kiama Council 10kW photovoltaic system production



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Embodied Energy

Though it’s important to look at the energy we use in our homes, looking at the bigger picture, most of our energy usage is hidden in the production and distribution of all the goods and services we consume.

Embodied energy refers to the total amount of energy that goes into making something – including extracting the raw materials, transportation, assembling the product and the disassembling and decomposition of the product after it’s finished with. The Australian Conservation Foundation has put together a really helpful tool at that shows the environmental cost of our consumption in terms of greenhouse gases, water and eco-footprint.

Of all the things we consume, surprisingly, it’s our food which has the most hidden energy input. The Power House Museum has put together a great display to show the life cycle of a packet of kettle chips and identify the many resources from across Australia and indeed the world, required to produce, package and distribute this simple snack food. Cooking healthy food from scratch, purchasing from local and sustainable food producers, and having a go at growing food in your own backyard are everyday actions we can take to address climate change, which are just as important as reducing household energy bills. For more ideas on sustainable food, check out our sustainable food page.

Carbon Offsets

Carbon Offsets offer individuals, organisations and businesses an opportunity to invest in emission-reducing technologies to 'offset' their own carbon pollution. Travellers, for example, may choose to purchase offsets for a flight or car travel. There have even been cases of couples having 'green weddings' by offsetting the emissions from the event! A recent study by the Total Environment Centre, Institute for Sustainable Futures and CHOICE magazine has undertaken a review of carbon offset products, which you can find here:

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

What is a REC?

Renewable Energy Certificates, as the name implies, are a form of currency which recognises and certifies renewable energy generation has taken place.

The REC system has been created to aid in meeting Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets (MRET), set to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas production and increase the proportion of Australia’s electricity that is derived from renewable energy sources.

Residential Solar Power and Solar Hot water systems

Links & Contacts

Alternative Technology Association
A not for profit national organisation, with a branch in the Illawarra, that aims to provide a strong voice for renewable energy and ideas of green living.

Future World Eco-Technology Centre -
The Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre is an exciting facility located in the Illawarra, that demonstrates innovative environmentally friendly technologies.

Your Home
A suite of online materials developed to encourage the design and renovation of homes to make them more sustainable and enjoyable. Excellent resources includes a Technical Manual, Buyers Guide, and Renovator’s Guide.

Save Power
A really great site filled with power saving tips and a ‘power pledge’ you can take to help you reduce your energy bills.

Allows you to find how energy efficient your home is, and gives you ideas on how you can reduce your energy bills.

Fridge Buyback Scheme or 1800 708 401
Will remove your second working old fridge and may even pay you $35 for it!

Energy Labelling
A government initiative which gives a star rating for the energy efficiency of various electrical products, allowing you to make an informed choice.

Green Vehicle Guide
A federal government initiative that allows you to compare new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions.

Factsheets & Downloads

Your Home Technical Manual

Recommended reading and viewing

Making Your Home Sustainable: A Guide to Retrofitting
A comprehensive, practical guide by Derek Wrigley (2005), covering all possibilities available for retrofitting homes for comfort and energy efficiency.

Your Home Technical Manual
Covering solar passive design, heating and cooling, lighting, hot water, and solar power systems, with great examples of sustainable homes in all Australian states. See

Soil Not Oil – Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Insecurity (2008)
Vandana Shiva joins the dots between our most urgent crisis’s – food insecurity, peak oil and climate change – and offers solutions for a sustainable and socially just future.

Sanctuary Magazine – Australia Leading Environmental Homes
Dedicated to sustainable house design, Sanctuary profiles Australia’s leading environmental architects and designers, providing inspiration and practical solutions for sustainable homes.

ReNew Magazine
Australia's longest running sustainable technology magazine. Features the latest in sustainable building practice, renewable energy and water conservation.

Green: Sustainable Architecture and Landscape Design
Showcases eco designs from architects and landscapers around Australia, with features on homes, designers, the latest in global trends, and information on new products and expert advice.

An Inconvenient Truth
A film that became a catalyst for action on climate change around the globe. Al Gore delivers his message of urgency and hope in face of the climate crisis.

Crude: The Incredible Journey of Oil
A fascinating insight into the history, economy and future of oil, filmed in 11 countries by ABC’s award-winning Australian filmmaker Richard Smith.

The Truth About Climate Change
In this captivating BBC documentary, Sir David Attenborough undertakes a personal journey to discover how global warming is changing the planet he knows so well.

Who Killed the Electric Car
An intriguing documentary investigating the events that lead to the destruction of thousands of new, radically efficient electric vehicles in the Unites States.

Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC)
This website is a resource in education and general understanding about solar technologies. It introduces solar science and explains the differences in the installed solar technologies.

Kiama Municipal Council logo NSW Environment Trust logo This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environment Trust