Builders have been given free reign once again over there hot water installs. The electric phase out roll back has given them the opportunity to revert back to the cheap and easy electric systems that all the legislation and incentives have tried to eradicate. This is welcomed changed for budget hawks in the building sector but bad news for new home owners and their annual running costs.

The latest QLD government changes have had a positive and negative effect on several parties that purchase, distribute and install hot water systems. Builders were directly affected by the changes, from the large scale project builders to the small one unit builders. However as a group, the roll back on the legislation has given the decision on what to install back to the builder, enabling them to make a decision that best suits them and not the market, industry or environment. Builders are driven by several significant factors; space, clients specification, legislation and cost. Now the legislation, the key heat pump driver, has been removed builders are controlled by 3 key elements with the most significant one being the price. The larger project builders will focus on the cost of the HWS and buy quantity at the best price. Often these large projects are small, budget based sites with the bottom line the most important aspect. Electric HWS offer the best solution for them, they are the easiest and cheapest units to install, taking up the least amount of space and saving the builders the most amount of money. Whereas the individual projects built for a homeowner will look at the best option long term and the hot water system can be designed into the house, benefiting the customer with the long term energy savings. The majority of builders, especially the large project builders will focus on the capital outlay as the running costs are irrelevant to them. Also space and simplicity of install make the electric units an attractive option. In regards to these factors, the new build market will only look at SHW if specified or a customer is concerned with energy consumption and requests the option. The decision is back with the customer and only the energy aware consumer will identify the benefits of spending a little extra and save in the long run.

By Simon Baird 

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