Articles on energy use

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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.
Lochiel Park in Adelaide was Australia’s first large-scale attempt to create homes that use near net zero energy. Stephen Berry

When the heat hits: how to make our homes comfortable without cranking up the aircon

Air conditioning changed both building design and people's active management of home temperatures. A return to houses designed for our climate can keep us comfortable and cut energy use and emissions.
The latest Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts tell us waste production is rising with GDP, but the information is incomplete and widely ignored. Estormiz/Wikimedia

You probably missed the latest national environmental-economic accounts – but why?

Water and energy use are becoming more efficient, which is good news for both the economy and the environment. But Australia has yet to realise the value of national environmental accounting.
The study showed that boosting the office temperature a little can save energy and keep office workers comfortable without sacrificing their cognitive performance. Mami Kempe / The Conversation

Chill out. A slightly warmer office won’t make it too hot to think

Our study found that office workers performed just the same, whether the air conditioning was set at 22°C or 25°C. But making that tweak can cut energy use by 18%.
Falling back or staying put? Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock.com

Is daylight saving time worth the trouble? Research says no

Advocates say daylight saving time saves energy and wins wars. But studies show that injuries and illnesses rise when the clocks change. Some states may end the practice; others could make it permanent.
Soaring heating costs mean many vulnerable Australians endure cold houses and the associated risks to their health. Paul Vasarhelyi from www.shutterstock.com

Forget heatwaves, our cold houses are much more likely to kill us

The idea of a hot and sunny land is so baked into our thinking about Australia that we've failed to design and build houses that protect us from the cold.
Solar panels are still a rarity in WA’s lower-income areas. Orderinchaos/Wikimedia Commons

WA bathes in sunshine but the poorest households lack solar panels – that needs to change

Western Australia has huge amounts of sunshine and wind, yet only 7% of its energy comes from renewables. What's more, most households in the poorest suburbs are still locked out of the solar panel boom.
Airlines have saved energy by changing flight routes and modifying wings for better fuel use. Plane image from www.shutterstock.com

Reducing energy use is a big winner for business and the climate

Companies could improve their profits 2-10% each year by saving energy, according to a world-first attempt to assess energy performance.

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