Articles on Energy efficiency

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Artist rendition of the National Western Center, a net-zero campus under construction in Denver to house multiple activities. City and County of Denver | Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center

Buildings consume lots of energy – here’s how to design whole communities that give back as much as they take

Net zero energy buildings produce at least as much energy as they use. Designing whole net zero campuses and communities takes the energy and climate benefits to a higher level.
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.

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