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Articles on energy use

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Corn yields can suffer in high heat. AP Photo/Seth Perlman

4 ways extreme heat hurts the economy

Much of the US has been experiencing heat waves in recent weeks. An economist explains how the often record-high temperatures can affect the economy.
Reduced traffic during lockdowns led to decreases in air pollution in many major cities in Europe. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

COVID-19 lockdowns improved air quality in some cities, shedding light on how to curb pollution

While most areas experienced a reduction in air pollution in response to lockdown measures, other areas saw only small improvements or even an air quality deterioration.
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.

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