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The latest round-up of energy-efficiency projects and innovations from Australia and around the world.

Battery storage may have started mass-market take-up in Australia

A recent bulk-buy campaign by Suncrowd reveals that people want solar battery storage, smart energy software and high-quality Australian made solar panels. ‘People want [solar power] delivered in a transparent, engaging and easy to understand format,’ said Suncrowd’s Chris Cooper. ‘And the community sector has a key role in facilitating this if we’re to increase uptake of important new energy technologies.’

Source: One Step Off the Grid

See: Battery storage may have started mass-market take-up in Australia

Your energy savings checklist

Dr Paul Swift outlines six steps you can take to save money on energy in your business. Start by checking you’re not using more than you should against sector benchmarks.

Source: Startups (UK)

See: Your energy saving checklist

Improved pumping efficiency saves 60% fuel for farmers

A NSW cotton-producing operation replaced its old diesel-powered irrigation system with a much more efficient and reliable solar-diesel hybrid that uses less than half the fuel. Savings of $46K per year are being realised.

Source: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

See: Improved pumping efficiency saves 60% fuel for farmers [PDF]

Study reveals better insulation can save Australians over $300m

Research by A2EP on the energy efficiency of Australian homes found that current minimum requirements for insulation were not the most cost-effective. Better insulation could save residents $312 million over 30 years, with the benefits far outweighing upfront costs.

Source: Architecture and Design

See: Study reveals better insulation can save Australians over $300m

​​​​AIRAH and OEH partner up on training for energy efficiency

New training courses in HVAC-R will be delivered by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating in all states and territories, excluding NSW. AIRAH will work with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to develop information materials for the commercial refrigeration sector.

Source: The Fifth Estate

See: AIRAH and OEH partner up on training for energy efficiency

Sydney students share solar/battery system

A student housing apartment block in Newtown has become one of the first multi-dwelling buildings in Australia to install a shared solar/battery system. This will provide 80% of residents' energy needs, with savings of $35 per month per person on bills.

Source: ABC News

See: Stucco students share solar/battery system in Sydney

Darwin Airport’s time in the sun

Darwin International Airport switched on its new 4 MW photovoltaic solar array early this year. The array comprises 15,000 solar panels over six hectares, forecast to produce 100% of the airport’s peak electricity demand during the day and 25% of its overall energy needs. 

Source: ecogeneration

See: Darwin Airport’s time in the sun

Compost for clean energy production

A Churchill Fellowship recipient says his research shows huge potential to generate clean energy from compost. Gippsland Water agribusiness manager Jono Craven  travelled to Israel, the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the US and Canada to research best-practice compost production.

Source: ABC Rural News

See: Compost for clean energy production

Turning waste into renewable energy

A study supported by ARENA investigates whether waste streams can be used to create renewable energy, including captured and treated sewage and other wastes such as fats, oils and greases from industry and businesses like restaurants and cafes.

Source: ARENA

See: Turning waste into renewable energy

Competition keeps prices down at fourth ERF auction

A mature market has brought forward highly competitive bids, across a range of sectors in the fourth Emissions Reduction Fund auction. Auction results and infographics are available from the CER Media Centre.

Source: Clean Energy Regulator

See: Competition keeps prices down at fourth ERF auction

Energy retrofits are getting easier

With 80% of the Australia’s commercial buildings 10 years old or older, retrofits are where the most carbon-cutting potential is found. Energy savings of between 50 and 70% can be achieved in these older buildings with efficient refurbishment measures.

Source: The Fifth Estate

See: Energy retrofits are getting easier

IEA Heat Pump Centre

The International Energy Agency's Heat Pump Centre links people and organisations worldwide in support of heat pump technology. The HPC is at the centre of a global network of individuals who have an influence on the application of heat pump technology.

Source: Heat Pump Centre

See: IEA Heat Pump Centre

Vanadium batteries, a lithium-ion alternative

A new use for the metal vanadium is emerging as researchers continue to look for better ways of storing solar energy. Vanadium batteries at least double the life span of lithium-ion versions and store at more than four times the energy.

Source: ABC News

See: Vanadium batteries, a lithium-ion alternative

Leading companies pledge to 'use better energy, better'

The EP100 program showcases international corporations voluntarily committed to doubling their energy productivity. Companies Dalmia CementSwiss Re and Helvetia have made new and bold energy commitments for their global operations that will help to cut costs, lower emissions, and drive zero-emissions economies.

Source: The Climate Group

See: Leading companies pledge to use better energy, better

FBI keeping watch on energy efficiency

Evidence suggests that energy efficiency is expected to be at the centre of planning and construction of the replacement building for the Federal Bureau of Investigations headquarters at an undisclosed location. 

Source: Energy Manager Today

See: FBI keeping watch on energy efficiency

US military rivals face off in an energy-saving reality show

The US Department of Energy launched the second season of its ‘Better Buildings Challenge Swap’ a reality web series in which two organisations swap three-person teams to find ways to increase energy efficiency. In this season, it's two branches of the US military—the Navy and Air Force.

Source: US Department of Energy

See: US military rivals face off in an energy-saving web series

New efficiency record for large perovskite solar cell

Perovskite solar cells hold major potential for the future of renewable energy due to being cheap, easy to produce and being so flexible they can be sprayed or painted on surfaces. Now a team of Australian researchers has set the efficiency record for the biggest perovskite solar cells so far.

Source: New Atlas

See: New efficiency record for large perovskite solar cell

Comprehensive energy-use data resource for USA

A new source of data is set to dramatically change the nature of research into the ways Americans use energy in everyday life. Beginning in January, researchers will have access to granular data that will enable analysis of energy use on a much larger scale than has previously been possible.

Source: Forbes

See: Comprehensive energy-use data resource for USA

Underwater Aussie solar for Java

A proposal to develop a 2000 km submarine cable to supply Indonesia with solar energy from Australia has been assessed as financially viable and possible within the decade.

Source: Renew Economy

See: Underwater Aussie solar for Java

Smart hardware to improve ‘Internet of things’ energy efficiency

By sensing chemicals, moisture, temperature and other environmental variables, ‘internet of things’ systems will finely tune comfort levels inside buildings, make factories more productive and distribution more effective by keeping the goods under optimum conditions at all times.

Source: Ferret Electronics News

See: Smart hardware to improve ‘Internet of things’ energy efficiency

See also an explanation of the Internet of things

Lessons for new large-scale solar plant from open data

A range of new technologies will impact the deployment and investment potential of large-scale solar in Australia – specifically, technologies that can shift the daily profile of solar output closer to the way we consume electricity.

Source: Renew Economy

See: Lessons for new large-scale solar plant from open data

Ice storage freezes electricity costs

The idea is simple: water is frozen in the middle of the night, when the energy used to do so is inexpensive. It then is thawed and used for cooling the next day.

Source: Energy Manager Today

See: Ice Storage Slashes Electricity Costs

EE for medical and hospital projects

Engineers working on hospital and medical campuses face unique challenges, such as evolving technology, increased specialisation, and working safely around medical activities. Sustainability professionals with experience in such facilities share advice on how to tackle these projects.

Source: Consulting – Specifying Engineer

See: EE for medical and hospital projects

Veggie power in Sydney

Anaerobic digesters at the Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sydney produce solids and gas. Renewable energy produced from food waste will generate more than 60% of the energy the plant needs to run­--enough to power a third of the homes in Cronulla for a whole year.

Source: ecogeneration

See: Veggie power in Sydney

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