Articles on Energy efficiency

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The University of Wollongong Illawarra Flame House demonstrates how a typical Aussie fibro home can be transformed into a net-zero-energy sustainable home. Dee Kramer

Homes with higher energy ratings sell for more. Here’s how Australian owners could cash in

Buyers pay more for a home they know has a good energy rating. That's worth an extra 2.4-9.4% in the only part of Australia where energy ratings must be disclosed at the time of sale.
Changing incandescent light bulbs (right) to LEDs (left) is an example of eco-efficiency, but it can also have unintended consequences. Shutterstock

The pitfalls of eco-efficiency

Often presented as one of the best ways to save energy, eco-efficiency often proves to be less effective than one might think.
While many Australian households have solar power, our very large houses and wasteful use of building space are factors in our very high emissions. Jen Watson/Shutterstock

Making every building count in meeting Australia’s emission targets

Making better use of existing building space is a neglected but essential way to cut our carbon emissions. The key is human behaviour. Good low-carbon citizens will help create good low-carbon cities.
Increasing heat in Sydney and other Australian cities highlights the urgent need to apply our knowledge of how to create liveable low-carbon cities. Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock

We have the blueprint for liveable, low-carbon cities. We just need to use it

The research has been done. The evidence is in. We know how to create cities that are sustainable, liveable and affordable. But we have yet to apply that knowledge widely across Australian cities.
Most new houses being built in Australia do no better than comply with the minimum energy performance required by regulations. Brendon Esposito/AAP

Australia’s still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard

Australia requires a minimum six-star energy rating for new housing. New homes average just 6.2 stars, so builders are doing the bare minimum to comply, even as the costs of this approach are rising.
Australia’s new National Construction Code doesn’t go far enough in preparing our built environment for climate change. Sergey Molchenko/Shutterstock

Don’t forget our future climate when tightening up building codes

Fires and building failures highlighted serious gaps in Australian building regulations. But recent revisions and recommendations still fall short of preparing our buildings for climate change.
The more laundry you do, the more you can save with efficient washers. Rawpixel/Shutterstock.com

Not all consumers are equal – in terms of what they save by using efficient appliances

People who use an appliance a lot save more from an energy efficient model. With the right app, they could easily get a sense of their own potential savings when they shop.
The Internet of Things could improve quality of life, but it will also consume vast amounts of electricity and boost greenhouse gas emissions. (Shutterstock)

How to make computers faster and climate friendly

The Internet of Things is contributing to climate change. Innovation in computer design could help mitigate the problem.
Transport and livestock are both significant contributors to nitrogen pollution. Annalucia/Shutterstock.com

You’ve heard of a carbon footprint – now it’s time to take steps to cut your nitrogen footprint

The University of Melbourne is the first institution in Australia to have its nitrogen footprint calculated – it's 139 tonnes per year, mainly because of food production, energy use and transport.
Customers line up to buy gasoline in San Jose, California, on March 15, 1974, during an Arab oil embargo. The crisis spurred enactment of the first U.S. vehicle fuel economy standards. AP

Government fuel economy standards for cars and trucks have worked

Since the federal government started setting fuel economy standards, US-built cars have doubled their fuel efficiency, saving money for consumers and reducing pollution.
Off-grid mountain house. Shutterstock

Is it possible to live off-grid?

Lowering your carbon footprint by living off-grid is a sustainability dream. But how possible is it using current technology?

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