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Articles on energy use

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Lochiel Park in South Australia has demonstrated the benefits of building homes to a higher standard – a minimum 7.5-star rating in this case. Stephen Berry/UniSA

HomeBuilder misses a chance to make our homes perform better for us and the planet

There has never been a better time for public money to go into improving the performance of Australian housing. We could have cut household bills and emissions, as well as saving construction jobs.
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.
A visitor sanitises hands before entering a state hospital at Yaba, Lagos. Hospitals like this are likely to suffer power cuts as lock down force Nigerians to stay at home and consume more power. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

COVID-19: Nigeria should prioritise power supply to health care facilities

Effective public health response to a pandemic, depends on the availability of a stable power supply system.
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.
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.

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