Newswire

Time to ditch the redundant gas network

By Ben Courtice. RenewEconomy

In the record-breaking heatwave that led up to the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, an estimated 374 people died due to the heat – before the fires even started. This is more than double the official figure of 173 deaths in the fires themselves.

Hot weather is a bugbear for many Australians. For the majority, living in temperate areas, summer heatwaves are a source of dread – and not just for the frail, or those in bushfire-prone areas.

It’s even become a topic of national debate – but not because of the early deaths of vulnerable people, or the sweaty discomfort. Rather, because so many people now have air-conditioners due to which electricity networks have implemented expensive network upgrades to cater to peak demand on a few hot days or weeks a year.

How to have zero emissions housing – and tiny power bills – in ten years

By Dominique Hes, The Conversation

A new study says that all Australia’s existing housing could be retrofitted to be zero emissions within ten years. Households could halve their energy use and go gas free. Australian households currently spend approximately A$15 billion every year on electricity and gas bills: this could be largely eliminated. Making this change would not only meet our emissions reduction targets but place Australia as a leader in a future carbon-constrained world.

The plan, launched today by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) as part of the Zero Carbon Australia project, is a follow up to the Stationary Energy Plan, which showed how Australia’s electricity could be supplied by 100% renewable energy sources within 10 years.

Most Australian homes are based on designs from a time when energy was cheap and plentiful, and we weren’t aware of the impact CO2 was having on our climate. Consequently, Australian homes are poorly built for our conditions, wasteful and often uncomfortable. But we can fix them with technology we’ve already got.

Switch off the heater, you won’t need it. IceSabre/Flickr

Buildings can be net zero in 10 years – plan: cut energy use in half, no gas

By Cameron Jewell, The Fifth Estate

7 August 2013 — Beyond Zero Emissions has released its Building Plan, a nation-wide plan to retrofit Australia’s existing buildings, and both residential and non-residential buildings can expect to cut energy use in half if all recommendations are taken up.

The group says it is possible to make all buildings zero net emissions within 10 years, the benefits of which include reducing energy bills, generation of renewable energy and improving health, comfort and productivity.

Australia maps out smart energy plans

By Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon. Asian Correspondent

Climate solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) and the University of Melbourne are launching a joint project that hopes to help developers build smarter buildings: eco-friendly and energy-efficient.

 

A building plan that does more with less

By Robin Mellon. ABC Environment

A plan released today shows how Australian households could cut their energy bills in half. It's an example of what we'll need to cope with the 'new normal'.




FROM INDUSTRY SLOW-DOWNS to rising electricity prices, and from fewer new builds to cost-of-living budgets, there are belts being tightened across the nation.

And the signs indicate that this is not a temporary aberration. This is likely to be the 'new normal' — at least for some time.

This being the case, we need to adopt the basic rule of 'doing more using less', rather than just waiting for things to come good.

Big emissions cuts possible at home, study finds

By Peter Hannam. Sydney Morning Herald

Australia's homes could slash their carbon emissions by half and eliminate their use of gas by investing in efficient electrical appliances now on the market, according to a clean energy advocacy group.

Jointly published with the Melbourne Energy Institute, Beyond Zero Emissions's Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan argues that residential buildings could reduce their operating emissions by 53 per cent, and commercial buildings by 44 per cent, within a decade.

Together, the two building sectors now account for slightly more than a quarter of the country's annual greenhouse gas emissions.

How not to do it -- Photo: Aaron Sawall

Obama is Leading the World to Climate Hell

Dear President Obama, Encouraging Tar Sands Development is Not Acting on Climate
by HELEN GRANT. Counterpunch

Dr. James Hansen’s latest dire warning is that we are on the verge of crossing the point of no return, triggering runaway global warming that would last for centuries, making much of the planet uninhabitable by humans. He asks, “Humanity stands at a fork in the road. As conventional oil and gas are depleted, will we move to carbon-free energy and efficiency – or to unconventional fossil fuels and coal?”

Aust buildings could halve energy use in decade – gas free

BY Sophie Vorrath, RenewEconomy

A nationwide plan to transform Australia’s existing building stock into models of energy efficiency and renewable power generation has found that residential and commercial energy use could be cut in half, and could reach zero emissions from their operations, within 10 years.

The The Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan – a joint effort from climate think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions and The University of Melbourne Energy Institute, set to be launched on Thursday – sets out a strategy to retrofit Australia’s buildings, to reduce energy bills, generate renewable energy, increase comfort levels, and make workplaces more productive.

The plan finds the residential building sector would be able to achieve a 53 per cent energy use reduction overall, with some typical home categories seeing over 70 per cent reduction. Commercial buildings are estimated to be able to reduce energy use by 44 per cent overall.

Zeroing emissions from Australian buildings

By Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), in conjunction with Melbourne University’s Energy Institute, has developed a detailed plan showing how all existing buildings can reach zero emissions within 10 years.

The report, to be released on Thursday, shows that residential buildings can achieve a 53 per cent energy use reduction overall, with some typical home categories seeing over a 70 per cent reduction. Commercial building categories can reduce energy use by 44 per cent overall. In addition, gas appliances are replaced entirely by electric ones so that all energy can be readily supplied by zero emission renewable power generation.

Is carbon pricing reducing emissions?

Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism has been vilified by the Federal Opposition and certain members of the business community, but it is a key part of Australia’s response to climate change. So one year on, where does it stand?

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