Residential 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)

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)

Prof Andrew Blakers

From Stars to the Sun

Professor Andrew Blakers is a professor engineering at the Australian National University. He works in the area of photovoltaics. His original goal was to be an astronomer studying Maths and Physics but while bushwalking  he was struck by so many places under threat - and that was as far back as the 70s!

He believes Australia receives thousands of times more solar energy than all the fossil fuels combined so why not be involved in solar and wind? He is a member of ARENA but fears the organisation, with the present political situation may lose the capacity to award grants. 

An interesting account of Andrew's life and work can be accessed on the ABC's Conversation Hour (13/6) and more details on the usual BZE podcast which mentions sliver, PERC technologies and silicon with its non-toxic properties. 

He has no doubt that Australia could become 100% renewable before long - and that is not just "pie in the sky"!

(Summary written by Bev McIntyre)

Further reading:

The Conversation: Wind and solar PV have won the race – it’s too late for other clean energy technologies

More articels at The Conversation

Chris Cooper

SunCrowd - the home battery movement from SunCrowd on Vimeo.

SunCrowd is Australia’s first bulk-buy for solar storage solutions. Let’s use our bulk purchasing power to make batteries affordable!  Join the movement at www.suncrowd.com.au

 

An entrepreneur in renewable energy

Chris Cooper is Chief Energy Officer and co-founder of SunCrowd, who are helping communities run local bulk-buy campaigns to make rooftop solar and storage easy and affordable. Chris Cooper became a keen clean energy student whilst at high school studying Economics and Geography and he was encouraged by gaining a Winston Churchill Fellowship scholarship which took him overseas to U.K., U.S. and Europe.  He favoured working for a practical change rather than joining academia and to concentrate in a local area.  To achieve this, he co-founded SunCrowd mainly situated in Shellharbour, Nowra and recently launched in SunCrowd Newcastle, NSW, although he has received calls from places as far afield as Alice Springs, Broken Hill and Melbourne. He finds people are keen for information on dispatch and storage of power.

Specialising on local communities seems to resonate with Germany where ownership of power has been returned to local communities. And of course in Australia with the development of rooftop solar despite the drop in feed-in tariffs. At the same time he has found problems in achieving grants and government funding and has found ARENA rather bureaucratic compared with the US which has provided millions in Government grants. ARENA seems to favour large organisations such as AGL.  Hopefully he says his submissions will change this but there is certainly room for that considering the present Prime Minister speaks regularly of "innovation"!

(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

Brendan Condon

Positive moves towards a sustainable society

Brendan Condon is Managing Director and co-founder of Australian Ecosystems, an integrated company specialising in ecological land restoration. He is also Director at The Cape sustainable housing project and Biofilta Stormwater Solutions

Brendan Condon believes we have been "sitting on our hands" regarding matters relating to climate change for too long and ignoring the urgent need for a serious vision for the future. Who could argue with that? Certainly the P.M. would agree that this is an "exciting time"  but they would have amazingly different paths. Brendan has chosen to develop the means of capturing and re-using the storm water that we see flowing down our gutters carrying all the rubbish into the Bay, instead to capture the pollution by means of a plant filtering system. One of the largest of these systems of returning and re-using this water is in the Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne.

Another of his areas of challenge and developed expertise is the development of good design in sustainable housing (e.g. The Cape Paterson sustainable housing project). He points out that apart from environmental grounds there are marked improvements economically with the rise in the price of gas coupled with the drop in the price of solar.

Other projects of interest include the development of vertical and horizontal gardens useful for city dwellers for urban food production, community gardens, autonomous electric vehicles (probable in the next decade), when one can read a book on the way to work!

All this should be of interest to anyone planning a home, living in the city or merely caring about the importance of food and water and waste management for the present and the future.  

(Summary written by BZE volunteer Bev McIntyre)

Alexander Greig - Architect Green Magic Homes

Image result for green magic homes nz jpg

Beyond Zero speaks to Alexander Greig, Architect in New Zealand and Australasian dealer for Green Magic Homes. This technology provides arched structures made of fiber reinforced polymer modular components to build earth-sheltered green homes.

Trent Hawkins - Zero Net Energy Towns

Trent Hawkins is Senior Consultant at renewables and energy efficiency consultancy Enhar. He joins Beyond Zero to talk about his latest technical research on Zero Net Energy Towns. This project looks at supporting Australian towns and villages assess and design their own plan to achieve 100% renewable energy over a period of 5-10 years. Trent has completed a report about Uralla NSW which is a Z-NET Case Study Town. 

Trent was the Project Director of the recently published Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan at Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE). The report is a groundbreaking new pathway for Australia's existing buildings to respond to the challenges of climate change, dependence on fossil fuels, and rising energy prices. Trent was a research director with BZE, a climate change solutions think tank for over three years, including playing a role in senior management of the organization. He was a contributing author to the Banksia award-winning Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan. Trent is a Mechanical Engineer with a background in renewable energy and computational modelling.

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.

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