Energy efficiency

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Take that extra hour off work. Just don’t spend it burning coal or petrol. Rawpixel/Shutterstock.com

Want to help the environment? First fix your work-life balance

Being time-poor makes it harder to be green, says a study which shows that people who work long hours are more likely to fall short on taking real action to address their environmental concerns.
Batteries to store excess solar power will be a game-changer. But energy-efficient appliances will mean you can use a smaller battery. AAP Image/Raoul Wegat,file

Energy storage is crucial, but it’s not the only piece in the puzzle

The unveiling of Tesla's Powerwall home battery has been hailed as a huge moment in renewable energy. But don't forget the other innovations that can help you use that stored power more efficiently.
The long view: Australia is bidding to boost energy productivity by 40% by 2030, but other countries are already doing more. Mattingbn/Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s energy productivity plan: great idea, but is it ambitious enough?

Australia's federal government wants to boost 'energy productivity' by 40% by 2030. A good idea, but the plan needs to cut energy use, not just deliver more economic bang for the energy buck.
Car makers pay close attention to the emissions regulations in the countries they export to. Everett Kennedy Brown/EPA/AAP

Could Australia become a dumping ground for high-emission vehicles?

Unlike many countries, Australia does not have mandatory greenhouse emissions standards for cars - meaning that manufacturers are free to sell their least efficient, most polluting vehicles here.
Money spent on helping consumers reduce demand means less money spent on substations and other infrastructure. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

A simple rule change can save billions for power networks and their customers

Incentives for cutting peak power demand are cheaper than building ever more infrastructure and sending power bills ever higher. The industry has a chance to embrace this new approach - but will it?
Switching to alternative energy sources, such as renewables, and using more electric cars could double Australia’s energy productivity. NRMA Motoring and Services/Flickr

Australia could double its energy productivity by 2030: report

A new report shows Australia can and should double its energy productivity, increasing economic productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Rising gas prices, driven by the development of Queensland’s exports, could end up driving domestic customers away. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

A crash in gas use is more likely than the forecast ‘shortage’

Gas developers have been ominously warning of impending gas shortages in New South Wales, with official forecasts from planning authorities pointing to steady or rising demand. Yet our analysis suggests…
Monitoring energy is first step to saving energy. Shutterstock

Smart homes: consumers favor home security over efficiency

The message from the yearly CES consumer electronics extravaganza was clear: the list of gadgets that can be connected to the “internet of things” is growing rapidly. These smart-home technologies have…
Motorists in the United States and elsewhere have been treated to low prices. Whether they will bounce back is another question. EPA/CJ Gunther/AAP

Energy firms are waging a price war they might be unable to win

Late in 2014, we saw iron ore and coal prices fall. Now we are seeing oil prices tumble, dipping to less than US$50 a barrel, half the price of a year ago. In all cases, these price collapses reflect the…
The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s climate “hot spots” — vulnerable to rising seas, storms and erosion. Phalinn Ooi/Flickr

Cities could be the secret to fighting climate change

The world’s population could reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Most people will live in cities. To accommodate an additional 3 billion people, we’ll need to build the equivalent of one new city, that can…
In the 1970s, refineries in the Middle East controlled the world’s flow of oil. Not any more. National Iranian Oil Company/Wikimedia Commons

OPEC v oil prices: how the world’s biggest oil cartel lost its power

With oil prices on the slide, members of the once-dominant Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided last week not to attempt to rally them by cutting production, leaving the Brent…
The scheme aims to make buildings with high energy-efficiency ratings, like this one in Canberra, attractive to potential buyers and renters. Bidgee/Wikimedia Commons

Green building scheme review adds yet more policy uncertainty

Australia’s policies to cut greenhouse emissions have been shrouded in uncertainty over the past few months. The contentious Renewable Energy Target review and the swapping of the carbon price for Direct…
Gas guzzled: OPEC’s 1973 oil embargo threw America into crisis and underlined the political power of energy. David Falconer/Wikimedia Commons

Four decades later, has America finally got over the oil crisis?

The Australian Financial Review recently trumpeted America’s “re-emergence as a world oil power”. It is an accomplishment four decades in the making and its success is still under debate. Energy security…
A tourist train from Sheringham to Holt steams past an offshore wind farm, one of many that have sprung up along the UK coast. Gerry Balding/Flickr

UK shows how Australia can cut emissions without a carbon tax

Australia’s carbon price has gone – but a UK review released this week shows that to lay the foundations for a low-carbon economy, pricing carbon is far from the whole story. Over recent months, as Australia’s…
Don’t let gas price flare ups catch you by surprise: there are better ways to save your money and energy. Ben Jenkins/Flickr

Don’t get burnt by gas price rises: tips for homes and industry

Gas prices are on the rise, starting tomorrow with a 17.8% increase this year in New South Wales, with other parts of eastern Australia expected to follow in coming years. That means it’s a crucial time…

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