Commercial buildings energy efficiency

Dr Stephen White

Dr Stephen White is CSIRO's Program Leader for the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) talks about the EnergyFit Homes Project research, which is a collaborative approach to unlocking the value of energy efficient homes for buyers, renters and investors.  The EnergyFit Homes Project proposes a national voluntary home energy efficiency disclosure system, designed to empower consumers to rate and value homes with lower running costs and health, comfort and sustainability benefits.

Further reading:

CRCLCL Media Release: Consumers want energy-efficiency facts on homes – new research shows

Dr Stephen Bygrave

AN OVERVIEW OF THE WORK OF BZE OVER THE YEARS
To speak about such a topic, the guest was BZE CEO Dr Stephen Bygrave who is about to embark on a new challenge to join the Queensland government as executive director in the field of environment and climate change.

The work of BZE has encompassed such diverse areas as 100% renewable energy and how soon this may be viable, buildings, battery storage, agriculture including land clearing, industrial processes (such as alternatives in the production of aluminium), and transport to name just a few. In fact BZE has attained worldwide acclaim.

Transport in particular is responsible for 15% of national emissions but the ridiculous dependence on cars in Australia is badly in need of a "mode shift" in favour of public transport and electric cars not forgetting the movement of freight. It is so short-sighted by governments to move freight on the road in lieu of rail which had been achieved in the past. BZE has also written on the topic of high speed rail which has been utilised so successfully in other countries, in particular India and China where there are so many people to accommodate!

So Stephen will perhaps be involved in the different challenges that Queensland can throw up  - none bigger than the Great Barrier Reef and Adani and land clearing!

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre 12/8/16)

Dr Ashish Sharma

Dr Ashish Sharma of the University of Notre Dame (US) has completed a report on whether green roofs, which are covered with plants, and cool roofs, which are surfaced with reflective materials, could reduce Urban Heat Islands (UHI) effects in Chicago.

Dr. Ashish Sharma, doing post-doctural research in Environmental Change Initiative at University of Notre Dame whose research interests include Atmospheric Sciences and land-ocean atmosphere.  He achieved his PhD in Climate Science 2012.

Dr. Sharma spoke of "green" and "cool" roofs - the former having more benefits but of course needing water and a strong roof structure and useful in cities and populated areas probably producing vegetation. Could sustain urban bees and/or provide shade, and can have a pollutant-cleansing effect.

Whereas "cool" roof is basically a reflective roof, for example "Thermoshield" which can be painted on and has both reflective and insulating properties, and can reflect Infra Red.  Today's podcast follows on from last week's Beyond Zero Radio interview with Thermoshield, an Australian cool roof paint product which is headquartered in Dandenong, Victoria.

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: Green and cool roofs provide relief for hot cities, but should be sited carefully

ND Report: Cooling down Chicago: How green and cool roofs could impact urban climate

Charles Rendigs

 

The reduction of extremes in heat or cold without continually increasing power consumption

The answer is provided by Charles Rendigs, the National Business Development manager of "Thermoshield", an Australian company developed and owned, situated at Dandenong. It is a coating for roofs that can be painted or sprayed on, can be coloured by mixing with  red or green paint. White of course is generally used when a high  solar reflective index is desired i.e. in Summer but as it ages its capacity to reflect is naturally diminished.

But Thermoshield can also be used to retain warmth inside in the Winter months i.e. as a form of insulation producing what is called "dead air" space so its properties can work to either reflect or absorb. It can be used in conjunction with  PV as PV usually only covers part of the roof and may heat up around the cells. It can increase the productivity of cells during the day. It can also be complementary to pink batts. air conditioners and other forms of temperature control.

It has been tested by CSIRO and has been used from Queensland to Melbourne. It sounds like a robot acting as instructed!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Tim Forcey: 22 ways to cut your energy bills

How to save money on power bills

This is a headline which should be of interest to everyone!

Beyond Zero's Kay and Michael speaks to Tim Forcey, Energy Advisor, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne talks about 22 things you can do to improve your home’s energy performance. And how to reach the ultimate goal of a home heated and powered by 100% renewable electricity. 

My Efficient Electric Home fb group - join us!

Tim has ideas on 22 ways of cutting power bills  and 38% off electricity and gas.  He said there is no economic reason for connection to the gas grid as gas has increased in price 75% over the last  5 years!  To make the production and usage of hot water  go further it is preferable to consider heat pumps and those with smart meters would find it simpler to trace one's usage regularly. It is possible to do this on line for the clever ones (my expression!)

But first on the list is to install LED lights  and thereby  using less power without heating and these are of course now being offered free of  charge. Next it is also a good idea  to ring retailers  to request what discounts are available ot to  threaten to switch if dissatisfied!

But before getting too technical adequate insulation is important  particularly hot water pipes and pressure release valves and a commonsense approach e.g. checking for draughts from old fireplaces and vents and the installatiom of old fashioned drapes and pelmets

Michael raised the question of showerheads which Tim said need not be either giving a satisfying shower or be saving hot water but could be both and if not satisfied could be returned! And that green power is provided by most retailers not only Powershop.

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: 22 ways to cut your energy bills (before spending on solar panels)

Presentation: Tim Forcey: How to cheaply and comfortably heat your home with renewable energy

Dr Aaswath Raman

Dr Aaswath Raman of Standford University is cofounder of a startup called SkyCool Systems. They are one of several groups commercializing an energy-efficient cooling approach that takes advantage of the coldness of space, based on relatively recent advances in the ability to manipulate light at the nanoscale.

In 2014, Aaswath's group published a paper in Nature in which they showed that a device designed to combine the optical properties of three different materials, arranged in stack of multiple layers, cooled to nearly 5 °C below the ambient air temperature. This proved that “the cold darkness of the Universe” can be used as a renewable resource, “even during the hottest hours of the day,” wrote the researchers.

The Sky may hold the secret to Efficient Air-conditioning

Nature: Passive radiative cooling below ambient air temperature under direct sunlight

Tom Quinn

Tom Quinn on the future of food 

Tom Quinn is Executive Director of the Future Business Council which represents innovative, sustainable and resilient businesses that will define our future economy. He has also worked in the Sustainability area at the  City of Melbourne. Tom joins the Beyond Zero radio team talking about his early upbringing on a farm which he attributes his interest in wildlife and his subsequent choice of occupation. His interests have broadened to include issues such as 'green' buildings, organic food production, health and nutrition, sustainable irrigation and afforestation, to mention a few.

Tom points out that Australia has a "unique opportunity" with the approach of the end of the mining boom in considering "what comes next". He stresses that there are numerous vested interests and lack of bipartisan support which result in "missed opportunities". However, "there are lots of smart people here" in Australia who are able to transform environmentally sustainable ideas into commercially viable projects. One of the important aims for the future is "carbon draw-down", i.e. taking carbon out of the atmosphere. There are many ways to do this, one of which is reforestation.

Tom announced an event on the future of food security in Hobart on 8th June in conjunction with the University of Tasmania Business School, and hopefully engaging with the Tasmanian community on issues of sustainability and productivity.

The Future Business Council has released The Next Boom report which has found compelling evidence that sustainability should not be seen as a cost, but a business opportunity. Tom also talks about the climate policies we would like to see for the upcoming federal election. 

BZE's Michael also mentioned the Coral, Coal and Climate Change forum on 16th June at Box Hill Town Hall which is sponsored by Lighter Footprints, an active local environmental organisation. Comedian Rod Quantock will be present, as well as local and other candidates, including Shadow Environment minister Mark Butler and local member Josh Frydenberg.

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Leesa Blazley - Solmax

Leesa Blazley leads business development for Solmax and has also worked on renewable energy projects in both the public and private sectors. Solmax roofing is a product based on the established Aramax roofing system. Solmax is a large-span, steel roofing product for residential and commercial buildings with integrated solar cells. Leasa joins Dr Scott Watkins (formerly Stream Leader, Organic Photovoltaics, Materials Science and Engineering at CSIRO and now Technolgy Developer in a number of start-ups including this one!) to discuss the Solmax roofing products and how they are being used in Solar Energy Hubs for community-scale energy generation and storage in a low-cost, rapidly assembled building.

Nicholas Bernhardt MBA - GreenBizCheck

Photo of Nicholas Bernhardt

Nicholas Bernhardt is Managing Director at GreenBizCheck, a global technology-based environmental certification program for business. The GreenBizCheck program helps companies to quickly implement sustainable  environmental practices which rapidly increase profits, attract new business, conserve energy, water, resources and minimise waste.

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