Brett Mashado

Brett Mashado talks about his passive solar designed Energy Freedom home in the lead up to Sustainable House Day. The site has no gas connection, and running costs are a fraction of their gas bill alone in their previous home. 

Brett and Gilda Mashado and their three children have been living in their home in Mt Gambier SA and collecting energy usage data for almost one year. He is planning to open his home for Sustainable House Day next year (He couldn't, due to work committments, for this Sunday 11 Sep. There are many other houses you can see so check out the website)


Brett's house features:

7.2 stars on the NatHERS rating 

Bondor construction

Sanden heat pumps for hot water

Heat pump hydronic heating, through skirting 

Very well sealed, with an air change rate of 2.05 per hour, which is equivalent to the best standards internationally (for naturally ventilated homes)

NO GAS connection

induction cooktop

3kW PV system 

... and much more!

Queeensland University of Technology (QUT) is collecting one year of opearating data on the whole house, as well as individual circuits, and analysing this for a report due out soon.

Growing a better climate for farmers

A new discussion paper released today by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) shows how Australian farmers and foresters, two groups most vulnerable to climate change, can shift from having a negative to a positive impact on climate change.

“Zero Carbon Australia Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry” a joint project between BZE and The University of Melbourne's Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute provides a way for Australian farmers to reduce carbon pollution, and bring young people back to regional centres with new employment opportunities.

“Changing land use practices will slash carbon pollution and can provide an alternative income stream for farmers” said Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave.  

"The frequency and severity of the extreme weather we used to see were nothing compared to what we've seen in the past decade,” said John Pettigrew, former director of SPC Ltd. and current President of the Goulburn Valley Environment Group.

"Our farmers, given time, can adapt to changing conditions. We can reduce carbon emissions on-farm, move towards sustainable farming systems and even play a major role in producing renewable energy for our urban centres," said Mr Pettigrew.

The land use sector is one of the highest carbon polluting sectors of Australia’s economy - emissions may even be as high as 54% of total national emissions.

“Making changes to land management practices and technologies such as savannah burning, clearfell logging and land clearing for agriculture can turn that around,” said report researcher Andrew Longmire.

“Carbon storage in Australian native forests is underestimated by a factor of up to four or five, meaning that logging is having a much higher impact on the climate than previously recognised. Research has shown the native forests of south-east Australia can sequester 7,500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide if left to recover from clearfell logging.  That’s equivalent to more than 10 years of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions” said Mr Bygrave.

“As the country braces for worsening drought and bushfires this summer, BZE is reaching out to farmers and other landholders to tackle climate change in a way that maximises the productivity and the health of their land, and breathes life back into their communities” said Mr Bygrave.

“Zero Carbon Australia Land Use: Agriculture and Forestry” is available on our website at:  http://media.bze.org.au/lur  High resolution images from the report can be downloaded at: http://media.bze.org.au/lur-media.

John Pettigrew and Stephen Bygrave are available for interview.

Media contact:

Genevieve Wauchope     0431 465 952

Beyond Zero Emissions wins NGO Green Lifestyle Award

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Pooran Desai OBE, BioRegional & BedZED eco-village

Pooran Desai OBE is Co-founder of BioRegional and International Director of One Planet Communities, not-for-profit organisations creating an initiative of practical projects and partnerships that demonstrate how we can live within our fair share of the earth’s resources.

Pooran Desai and Sue Riddlestone also created BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development), the UK’s first and best-known large-scale mixed use sustainable community, with 100 homes, office space for around 100 workers and community facilities, which was completed in 2002 (in South London).

Turning the Titanic

“Why do we find it so difficult to accept the findings of climate science and respond to the challenge of global warming?”

Queensland awaits the new BZE Buildings Plan

Eco-conscious Queenslanders will be pleased to learn the launch of a new Zero Carbon
Australia plan by the award winning non-profit educational and research group, Beyond Zero
Emissions (BZE) is fast approaching.

Like the Stationary Energy Plan launched in 2010, the new Buildings Plan draws on many
experts who have volunteered their time to compile it. The plan will explain how to transition
Australian's buildings sector to zero carbon emissions, through energy efficiency retrofits and
other clean tech strategies, saving consumers money and emissions.

Lead author on the plan, Trent Hawkins says, “Imagine buildings efficiency programs in the
near future which include the features of a "virtual power station", with solar panels, heat-
pump boosted solar hot water, reverse-cycle airconditioning, bulk and silver insulation, air
sealing, induction cooktops, and efficient LED lighting.”

What the heck is Beyond Zero Emissions, and is it important?

DAVID: What the heck is Beyond Zero Emissions, and is it important? Well that’s the question we are going to explore next ahead of tomorrow’s Bimblebox event in Maryborough.  Dylan Tusler from Beyond Zero Emissions will be one of the guests on the night and he’s with us now to explain exactly what it is.  Dylan Tusler Good Morning. 

DYLAN: Hi David.

DAVID: Dylan what is Beyond Zero Emissions? 

DYLAN: Beyond Zero is a not for profit research and communication group based out of Melbourne that started up a few years ago, and we are basically about trying to educate the Australian  public in the possibilities of replacing our fossil fuel economy with a more renewables based one.  A big plank of that is how we generate our electricity and that’s something that I talk about in some detail.

DAVID: So it is certainly a big goal then? What would a Beyond Zero Emissions future actually look like? 

DYLAN: Well actually it would look a lot like today.  It’s all about maintaining our standard of living and, you know, our food and water security and things like that.  It’s just the way we generate our electricity that we were focusing on initially and we want to get rid of brown coal and gas fired power generation facilities and replace them with ones that are based on renewable resources.

DAVID: So what is the time line on this then?  How quickly could we achieve this?

DYLAN: Well we have done some research into this and worked out it would take about 10 years - I mean if you were going to run full tilt at - it to replace all of our power generation.

DAVID: So 100% renewable energy in 10 years?  Is that realistic?

DYLAN: Ten years, yes, it’s achievable. You know,  you’ve got to weigh that against the policy background that we have to operate under. We could definitely do it. Whether there is political and social will to do it is another question and that is what we are working on.

DAVID: So how would you do it then?  What would be in place to create that kind of huge amount of energy that would be needed? 

DYLAN: Well, and it’s an even a bigger amount of energy we predict as well because we would like to see a lot of fossil fuel in vehicles and so forth replaced too so we expect people to use about half as much electricity again as they are using today and we see that being generated through a combination of what’s called concentrated solar thermal power, which is, is not solar panels like you have got on your roof, this is heat energy that’s generated with mirrors shining onto a hot point into the middle of a field.  That would provide about 60% of our electricity and the great advantage of that is that it is baseload power, it can actually generate power 24 hours a day.

How Australia must lead on climate change

By Fergus Green

Fergus Green is co-author of Laggard to Leader: How Australia can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. He will be launching the report in Brisbane on Thursday. Part 1 of this post here.

With UN negotiations deadlocked, our new report, Laggard to Leader, published by climate solutions think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, calls for a new way of thinking about international climate cooperation.

'Cooperative Decarbonisation' is a practical, problem-solving approach to the decarbonisation of the global economy within the timeframe necessary to restore a safe climate. Instead of merely complying with arbitrary emissions targets hollowed out by loopholes and undermined by accounting tricks, Cooperative Decarbonisation is much more pragmatic.

Put simply, each country must phase down to zero or very near zero the greenhouse gas emissions associated with every economic and social process over which it has control or influence, acting unilaterally and through international cooperation in small groups focused on particular problems and solutions associated with climate change.

Australia can lead the world to zero-carbon prosperity… or hold back climate action


Following its acclaimed Zero Carbon Australia stationary energy plan, Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is releasing today a new report: Laggard to Leader: How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. The report shows the magnitude of Australia’s contribution to climate change – and makes the case that Australia has the power to lead the world towards climate solutions while the UN negotiations are hopelessly deadlocked.  

Download the report here: http://media.bze.org.au/embargo/Laggard_Leader.pdf

Staying within the 2°C temperature goal, which all nations have formally endorsed, requires global emissions to peak and start declining by 2020 at the absolute latest.

Yet the best case scenario for the UN negotiations would entail emissions cuts coming well after 2020. The UN negotiations therefore cannot provide the solution we need to avoid runaway climate change.

Meanwhile, Australia’s is making the problem worse. Australia’s coal and gas export emissions are already double its high “domestic” fossil fuel emissions, and its fossil fuel export emissions are on track to more than double again by 2030.

If this goes ahead, Australia will export more carbon dioxide to the world than Saudi Arabia does today: almost twice as much. Australia’s total domestic and fossil fuel emissions in 2030 would equal a jaw-dropping 11% of the 2°C carbon budget, for that year.

But Australia can choose whether to continue exporting this coal and gas. BZE’s report outlines an approach that would enable us to choose not to.

BZE’s new report calls for Australia to institute a moratorium on new fossil fuel developments as the centrepiece of a global campaign to phase out fossil fuels.

Such a move would herald  Australia’s leadership role, in collaboration with other willing nations, to decarbonise the global economy and move to renewable energy.

Germany led the world in making solar panels cheap. Australia can lead the world in making another critical technology cheaper than fossil fuels: Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) with storage. This technology, which is operating today in other countries, produces 24 hour electricity from the power of the sun.

The greatest gift that sunny Australia could give to the world would be to repeat for CST what cloudy Germany did for solar panels: through smart policies and targeted investments, enable the deployment across Australia of enough CST to make this game-changing technology cost-competitive with fossil fuels everywhere. 

The report’s primary authors are

Fergus Green – Chairman of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership and a 2012 General Sir John Monash Scholar to the London School of Economics

Reuben Finighan – 2012 Fulbright Scholar and 2012 Frank Knox Scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

For comment from the authors, please phone Ben Courtice on 0413 580 706 to arrange an interview or email ben@beyondzeroemissions.org

Public launch event details:

Controversial doco to be screened

FRASER Coast environment groups will screen a controversial documentary next week that shows the attempt to turn an outback nature refuge into an open cut coal mine.

Bimblebox, which premiered in Byron Bay in March, will screen at the Brolga Theatre on Thursday for $5 per ticket.

The film documents the proposal to turn the Bimbebox Nature Refuge in central Queensland. into the China First coal mine.

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