Climate change projects and studies

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icon representing climate change with a sun shining on drooping vegetationTackling the challenge

The people of the Illawarra have been leading the way in tackling the challenges posed by climate change. Households use 30% of all the energy consumed in NSW. This means the small, everyday changes residents of the Illawarra are undertaking to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and cut their greenhouse gas emissions, can collectively have a big impact in creating more sustainable futures.

Embodied Energy

Though it’s important to look at the energy we use in our homes, looking at the bigger picture, most of our energy usage is hidden in the production and distribution of all the goods and services we consume.

Embodied energy refers to the total amount of energy that goes into making something – including extracting the raw materials, transportation, assembling the product and the disassembling and decomposition of the product after it’s finished with. The Australian Conservation Foundation has put together a really helpful tool at www.acfonline.org.au/consumptionatlas that shows the environmental cost of our consumption in terms of greenhouse gases, water and eco-footprint.

Of all the things we consume, surprisingly, it’s our food which has the most hidden energy input. Cooking healthy food from scratch, purchasing from local and sustainable food producers, and having a go at growing food in your own backyard are everyday actions we can take to address climate change, which are just as important as reducing household energy bills.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

What is a REC?

Renewable Energy Certificates are a form of currency which recognises and certifies that renewable energy generation has taken place.

The REC system has been created to aid in meeting Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets (MRET), set to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas production and increase the proportion of Australia’s electricity that is derived from renewable energy sources.

Each REC represents an equivalent 1 megawatt hour of electricity generation from an accredited renewable energy source, or in the case of solar hot water heaters each REC represents the equivalent of 1 megawatt hour of electricity displaced by solar energy.

Eligible technologies that may be able to create RECs include:

  • Solar hot water heaters
  • Heat pump hot water heaters
  • Small photovoltaic solar energy generation systems
  • Small wind turbines
  • Small hydro systems

Each system is assigned a REC value which represents the number of megawatt hours displaced by the system over its lifetime. The value of 1 REC at the time of purchasing the system will determine the total REC value of the system.  For example if your solar hot water system is entitled to 24 RECs, and the value of 1 REC is $46.00, then the total REC value of the system is $1,104.00.

In addition to rebates, there is also the opportunity to receive a further cost reduction at the time of purchasing climate friendly technologies like solar hot water and solar power systems through the creation of RECs.  Owners of solar hot water heaters or solar power systems can create RECs themselves through the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator’s internet based REC registry and do not have to sell them. However, most people find it far more convenient and simple to assign their right to create RECs to a Registered Agent in return for a financial benefit such as a discount at the time of purchase.

For more information on REC’s check out the Clean Energy Regulator or speak to your solar hot water or solar power supplier.

 

Links & Contacts

Alternative Technology Association
www.ata.org.au/branches/
A not for profit national organisation, with a branch in the Illawarra, that aims to provide a strong voice for renewable energy and ideas of green living.

Future World Eco-Technology Centre 
www.futureworld.org.au
The Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre is an exciting facility located in the Illawarra, that demonstrates innovative environmentally friendly technologies.

Your Home 
www.yourhome.gov.au
A suite of online materials developed to encourage the design and renovation of homes to make them more sustainable and enjoyable. Excellent resources includes a Technical Manual, Buyers Guide, and Renovator’s Guide.

Save Power
www.savepower.nsw.gov.au
A really great site filled with power saving tips and a ‘power pledge’ you can take to help you reduce your energy bills.

Nabers 
www.nabers.com.au
Allows you to find how energy efficient your home is, and gives you ideas on how you can reduce your energy bills.

Fridge Buyback Scheme
www.fridgebuyback.com.au or 1800 708 401
Will remove your second working old fridge and may even pay you $35 for it!

Energy Labelling
www.energyrating.gov.au
A government initiative which gives a star rating for the energy efficiency of various electrical products, allowing you to make an informed choice.

Green Vehicle Guide
www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/GVGPublicUI/home.aspx
A federal government initiative that allows you to compare new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions.

Resources

Making Your Home Sustainable: A Guide to Retrofitting 
A comprehensive, practical guide by Derek Wrigley (2005), covering all possibilities available for retrofitting homes for comfort and energy efficiency.

Your Home Technical Manual
Covering solar passive design, heating and cooling, lighting, hot water, and solar power systems, with great examples of sustainable homes in all Australian states. See www.yourhome.gov.au

Soil Not Oil – Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Insecurity (2008)
Vandana Shiva joins the dots between our most urgent crises – food insecurity, peak oil and climate change – and offers solutions for a sustainable and socially just future.

Sanctuary Magazine – Australia Leading Environmental Homes 
www.sanctuarymagazine.org.au
Dedicated to sustainable house design, Sanctuary Magazine profiles Australia’s leading environmental architects and designers, providing inspiration and practical solutions for sustainable homes.

ReNew Magazine
http://renew.org.au
Australia's longest running sustainable technology magazine features the latest in sustainable building practice, renewable energy and water conservation.

Green: Sustainable Architecture and Landscape Design
www.greenmagazine.com.au
Showcases eco designs from architects and landscapers around Australia, with features on homes, designers, the latest in global trends, and information on new products and expert advice.

An Inconvenient Truth
www.climatecrisis.net
A film that became a catalyst for action on climate change around the globe. Al Gore delivers his message of urgency and hope in face of the climate crisis.

Crude: The Incredible Journey of Oil
www.abc.net.au/science/crude
A fascinating insight into the history, economy and future of oil, filmed in 11 countries by ABC’s award-winning Australian filmmaker Richard Smith.

The Truth About Climate Change
In this captivating BBC documentary, Sir David Attenborough undertakes a personal journey to discover how global warming is changing the planet he knows so well.

Who Killed the Electric Car
www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com
An intriguing documentary investigating the events that lead to the destruction of thousands of new, radically efficient electric vehicles in the Unites States.

Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKASC) 
www.dkasolarcentre.com.au
This website is a resource in education and general understanding about solar technologies. It introduces solar science and explains the differences in the installed solar technologies.

 

10 Mar 2017