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

Clean electricity makes fossil gas redundant

Climate solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions have today published a briefing paper on the use of gas as a fuel in buildings. The evidence shows that fossil gas' reputation as a clean, safe and cheap fuel needs to be re-considered.

Beyond Zero Emissions have criticised the fossil gas industry for increasingly using dirty and controversial coal-seam gas (CSG) for both export and domestic gas supply.

CSG has raised questions about leaks of the gas from and around the gas wells, as documented on Four Corners last week.

However, even traditional fossil gas mains and distribution networks leak.

CSG wells

The briefing paper was prepared by Richard Keech, who is working on the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan for BZE.

Mr Keech explained that “In the production and distribution of gas there's leaks all along the way.

“There was some limited data out of South Australia that suggested it was in the order of 7%, but the official figures put it at around 1.5%. In reality it's probably somewhere in between.”

Fossil gas is methane. Mr Keech said “The 20-year climate effect of methane is currently understood to be about 105 times that of CO2. It only takes about 2.6% leakage to effectively double the net climate effect of gas.

“With any technology that carries some risk, we weigh the hazard against the benefits.

“That balance has now shifted, especially as fossil gas supply is now moving to CSG. We're seeing that the hazard is much greater than it was once seen as, and the benefit much less.

“Ceasing gas use in buildings is the low-hanging fruit of a larger fossil fuel phase out that is ultimately necessary if a climate catastrophe is to be avoided.

“BZE concludes that clean electricity now makes fossil gas redundant.”

BZE will release the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan in mid 2013. The plan will outline how replacing buildings' gas appliances with renewable electricity powered heat pumps and induction cooktops can make a large reduction on carbon emissions and energy use.

This statement has been changed to correct the leakage rate to double the climate effect of methane, which is 2.6% not 1% as we had erroneously stated.

Download the briefing paper here (PDF)
Richard Keech interview on Radio Beyond Zero (podcast)

This summer, BBQ without cooking the planet

For the summer holiday season, the first thing on everyone's mind is naturally how to minimise their carbon emissions.

Well, maybe not the first thing on everyone's mind, but it is at least possible to have a barbie without contributing extra greenhouse emissions – and probably more convenient, too.

And you don't want that hot summer sun getting even hotter with climate change, after all!

Electrify your shrimp!

Do you get stressed out by those last minute runs to the servo to fill your gas bottle (or to buy a bag of briquettes) before the big family party? What if you've already had too many beers to even do the drive?

Well you can now save the environment, and a car trip as well, if you make your next barbecue an electric one.

If you have solar power, or purchase 100% renewable energy from your energy supplier, then an electric barbecue is definitely the most environmentally sound way of barbecuing those shrimps, kangaroo steaks, or even better, lentil burgers and vegetarian sausages.

We should point out, electric barbecues are quick-heating and easier to clean, too!

Pic: if you're really keen, see if you can get a solar grill...

Beyond Zero speaks to Deepak Gadhia founder of Scheffler dish manufacturer Gadhia Solar

WARNING: AUDIO QUALITY IS LACKING ON THIS INTERVIEW -- ANOTHER ATTEMPT WILL BE MADE TO INTERVIEW DEEPAK in 2010.  Deepak Gadhia has a built a solar empire around small to large scale cooking systems, now deployed in 1000s of sites around India and abroad.From his small family sized single pot systems to the world’s biggest solar cooking system at Mount Abu in Rajasthan that cooks 30,000 meals per day, Deepak is now installing systems for small scale cooking through to industrial steam applications for the textile industry and hospitals as well as solar air conditioning and solar crematoriums. He is also now building a 100MW solar electric plant in Gujarat thanks to a German style Feed-in Tariff being implemented in that state.

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