APY Lands energy efficiency retrofit pilot

Chief Investigators

Purpose of project

This project aims to investigate and provide solutions to challenges for energy performance and thermal comfort faced by Aboriginal people living in remote housing, specifically in the extremely harsh and variable climate conditions that Australia’s Western desert presents.

Whilst Aboriginal people have lived on this Country for tens of thousands of years, temperature extremes and associated severe thermal stresses have become more pronounced and are compounded by complex social and logistical challenges. With broader climate extremes and overall hotter summers predicted for the future, how people are living and maintaining healthy communities in Country is of growing concern. In this project, an energy efficiency retrofitting pilot is proposed to test the effectiveness and financial viability of various solutions, with the goal of replicating tested methods throughout the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Data and experience captured in the pilot can also inform future upgrades in other remote locations in other states and territories with similar challenges. 

The project team and partners will work closely with APY residents throughout the pilot to ensure solutions are fit for purpose and consider community needs.

Impact of project

The intended outcome of this pilot is to provide a model for energy efficiency upgrades in remote housing that can be replicated across the remaining APY Land housing stock, as well as all dry arid regions across several states and territories in Australia. This model will include the most effective energy efficient upgrade activities for the environment and how they can be implemented by appropriately training a local workforce to deliver them. An education package for households to get the best out of the efficiency of their home, tailored to their needs, will also be demonstrated that can be replicated and adapted as needed. 

Project partners – industry and research

UniSA (Lead), SA Department for Energy and Mining, SA Housing Authority, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Attorney-General’s Department, CodeSafe Solutions Services, Healthabitat, Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ), Pointsbuild, Powertech Energy

Project code


Page last updated 24 January 2024