Passive solar design

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)

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.

A/Prof Alistair Sproul UNSW

Associate Professor Alistair Sproul is a Photovoltaics Lecturer and the Postgraduate Coordinator in the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of NSW (UNSW). He is the Program Leader (Integrated Building Systems) with the “Low Carbon Living” Cooperative Research Centre (LCLCRC) which works with industry partners and other research institutions such as the CSIRO to research and develop new and improved energy efficiency and renewable energy systems for a low carbon built environment.

Benjamin Mandel - LBNL - talks cool pavements

Today we talk to Benjamin Mandel from the Heat Island Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to discuss cool paving and their cool schoolyards initiative which seeks to incorporate these solutions in schoolyards.

Ben talks to BZE's Matt Grantham and guest interviewer University of Melbourne's Chris Jensen who is working on similar projects at the University's faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

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

High Speed Rail and Australia's first Earthship

Vivien talks to Duuvey Jester who built Australia's first Earthship near Bundaberg.Then, Cameron Rosen, Builder of Daphna Tull Sustainable House design in Sydney.

We hear from Patrick Hearps, research director of the Zero Carbon Australia Transport Plan about BZE's plan for High Speed Rail (HSR) for Australia. Then Tim Colebatch, on his article on 'Getting Delhi Metro Project up in record time'.

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