Insulation

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

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

Retrofitting Bonanza

To coincide with the launch of the Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Buildings Plan in August 2013, Beyond Zero Radio looks at transforming our buildings to zero emissions.The ZCA Buildings Plan is the first comprehensive, nationwide retrofit plan for Australia's building sector. This plan demonstrates how all existing buildings can reach zero emissions within ten years.

Beth talks to Lucy Roberts, BZE Live Retrofit Productions Manager, about the Master Builders Association's Build & Renovating Expo held in July 2013. Lucy ran a set and live performance at the Expo, where an average Australian house was transformed into a zero-carbon, low-energy, high-performance home, showcasing the solutions of the ZCA Buildings Plan. We also talk to a range of exhibitors promoting energy efficient products at the expo.

Trent Hawkins, ZCA Buildings Plan Project Director, explains how retrofit existing buildings for higher comfort and lower running costs can halve Australia's building energy use. Then we talk to Lloyd Niccol, Project Manager Team UoW Australia, the first team from Australia to gain entrance into a Solar Decathlon 2013 in China and the first in the history of the competition to demonstrate how to retrofit an existing home! 

UPDATE since the interview with Lloyd, is Team UoW has won Solar Decathlon 2013 - congratulations!

Retro wins out in high-tech housing contest

The Age: Disasters present opportunity to build for zero emissions future

By Trent Hawkins

Queensland's twin disasters, the floods and tropical cyclone Yasi, drew attention to the link between climate change and extreme whether events. Scientific research expects these disasters to get much more frequent and intense over time if no action is taken to rein in our carbon emissions. While we must plan and rebuild our communities to withstand extreme weather threats, we must also address those practices that have helped allow these threats arrive in the first place.

As the adage states: every disaster brings with it opportunity. In Queensland there is the opportunity to rebuild homes to minimise energy use and climate-changing carbon emissions. The homes built today in this mammoth rebuilding effort can help limit climate change, but only if the Gillard and Bligh governments take leadership.

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