eeXtra – November 2015
A regular round-up of energy-efficiency projects and innovations from Australia and around the world.
CBD celebrated five years of operation on 1 November. Since commencing in 2010, the program has played a significant role in boosting energy efficiency in Australia’s commercial buildings sector. Since commencement, the program has abated 2050 kilotonnes of CO2 emissions and delivered $44 million in benefits.
The Victorian Premier’s Built Environment Award was won by the northern Victorian Goulburn Broken Greenhouse Alliance for its ‘Watts Working Better’ street light replacement project. The project will see over 12,000 inefficient streetlights replaced with LED or T5 lighting, saving $15.6 million over 20 years, and more than 90,000 tonnes abated in greenhouse gas emissions. The project is a cooperative venture among several regional councils, which contributed a third of the project cost. Additional funding was contributed by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Source: Sustainability Victoria
ClimateWorks Australia has undertaken a collaborative project to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings across Australia and Indonesia. The project is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. A workshop was recently held in Jakarta (see PDF of outcomes) involving Australian and Indonesian participants from government, the property sector, universities and energy sector professionals.
Source: ClimateWorks Australia
Combining solar panels with home battery storage could be the cheapest way to get electricity within three years, according to a new report. Powerful Potential: Battery Storage for Renewable Energy and Electric Cars (PDF) finds that solar storage costs will continue to fall dramatically.
Source: Climate Council
The Northern Sydney Institute has revamped a 1960s Brutalist-style science block into the award-winning energy-efficient Cameraygal Building. The extensive retrofit incorporates innovative and sustainable technologies.
Source: Facility Management
Christian Weeks, EnerNOC Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, discusses one of the biggest new opportunities for energy management – the use of software and ‘big data’ to manage energy costs. ‘We’re experiencing a rapid transformation of our power system, which is resulting in a boom in customer choice,’ Mr Weeks said.
Regular data analysis boosts energy savings
Hawaii became the first state in the US to generate electricity from the sea, using a 105-kilowatt ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant. The supply of ocean thermal energy is essentially limitless, especially in tropical areas where the surface water heats up quickly.
Source: Digital Trends
The US Department of Energy has released its Quadrennial Technology Review 2015. The 500-page volume examines four trends that involve energy efficiency in the US economy: convergence, diversification, confluence, and ‘efficiency everywhere’. America (and the world) is in the midst of an energy revolution.
The Little Green Data Book is a ready reference on key environmental data for over 200 economies. Primary indicators are organised under the headings of agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, energy, emission and pollution, and water and sanitation.
Source: The World Bank Group
Download The Little Green Data Book
Five trends in energy use and management are transforming the US economy. Tesla’s advances in solar storage received global attention, with corporations such as GE and Lockheed Martin quick to devote millions to their own development and commercialisation of similar technologies.
Source: Energy Manager Today
An American architect group finds that many buildings aren’t energy-modelled while others are modelled too late in the design process, and then only to show compliance with building codes or get a green certificate. Early-stage modelling can instil deeper energy reductions.
Researchers at Stanford University in California have found that the use of graphene in computing and telecommunications could significantly reduce cut energy consumption. Graphene sheets are stronger than steel, as conductive as copper and have thermal properties suitable for nanoscale electronics.
Source: Energy Manager Today
Much international research is focused on improving solar panel efficiency. Among the more novel approaches is that of some German scientists who are proposing optical invisibility cloaks which guide sunlight around objects that cast a shadow on a solar panel. This intriguing technology maximises the light collected.
Optical rectennas combine the functions of an antenna and a rectifier diode to convert light directly into DC current. This technology could ultimately lead to solar cells that are twice as efficient at a cost that is ten times lower.
Canadian researchers are turning trees into energy storage devices capable of powering everything from a smart watch to a hybrid car. Cellulose, an organic compound found in trees and other vegetation, may be the key to more efficient and longer-lasting supercapacitors.