‘Renovate or Rebuild’ a full series evaluation

Research and reality TV helping consumers create sustainable homes.


Many Australians live in homes that are uncomfortable, unhealthy, energy inefficient and expensive to run. But creating a more energy efficient home can be confusing for many people. Cue ‘Renovate or Rebuild’, an Australian lifestyle and reality television show that aims to stimulate the nation’s sustainable housing market.

The ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV Series was the top-rated TV show on Channel 9Life for the Monday broadcast, reaching between 300,000 and 500,000 viewers per episode, with a reach of over 3.2 million views across the eight episodes.

The latest RACE for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre report, authored by national science agency CSIRO, in partnership with the NSW Government and Sustainability Victoria: ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ full series evaluation evaluated how successful the TV series was in enhancing the awareness and desire for sustainable housing features and energy efficient homes among its audience. The evaluation uncovered a positive reception for the sustainability and energy efficiency themes of the show and a thirst for more information and depth on these topics.

The research found that viewers of the show were significantly more likely than non-viewers to desire a home energy star rating above the minimum standard, a repeated topic throughout the show. The survey results also showed that compared to non-viewers, viewers were more likely to report engaging in several sustainability-related behaviours relevant to the show. In particular, 57% of viewers compared to only 39% of non-viewers reported obtaining quotes for solar panels. Similarly, 63% of viewers compared to only 43% of non-viewers reported intending to buy solar panels to generate electricity for current and/or future properties. When it came to purchasing or intending to purchase uPVC windows, also featured in the show, 47% of viewers compared to only 22% of non-viewers reported this. Finally, 53% of viewers compared to only 28% of non-viewers reported purchasing or intending to purchase insulation.

Dr Danie Nilsson, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at CSIRO who led the evaluation said, “The results of the evaluation are promising. They support the potential of TV series like ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ to expand the sustainable housing market across Australia by increasing viewers’ understanding of and desire for more energy efficient and sustainability-related house designs, features, and products.”

RACE for 2030’s CEO, Jon Jutsen said “It is encouraging to tangibly evidence that many Australians are open to sustainable living options and are conscious about home energy efficiency. This is an integral part of RACE for 2030’s goals in our journey towards a clean energy future. This project perfectly complements our upcoming Energy Upgrades for Australian Homes project, which focusses on the large-scale transformation of existing homes to meet carbon emissions reduction targets and adapt to climate change”.

The report highlights the evaluation and broader mass media campaigns undertaken for ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ have demonstrated an impactful, innovative, and strategic communications approach to assist households in accelerating Australia’s sustainable housing market.

The research demonstrated the potential to generate social change on a large scale; in this case, by applying behavioural science in innovative ways, through the design and delivery of a wide-reaching reality TV series. This approach is a promising step in helping Australians live more sustainably and comfortably in their own homes.

RACE for 2030 gratefully acknowledges the contributors to the Renovate or Rebuild’ full series evaluation report: CSIRO, NSW Government, Blue Tribe, Renovate or Rebuild and Sustainability Victoria.

You can find this research report on the RACE for 2030 website: www.racefor2030.com/standard-track/