Air conditioners get a bad rap for the load they place on the energy system. It surprises many people to learn though that they’re particularly efficient at turning energy into warmth or coolth. If you’re buying a new unit or replacing an old unit these tips will help you minimise the energy consumption and maximise the life of the air conditioner.
Fonzarelli Electric Scooter
I had the opportunity to take a Fonzarelli electric scooter for a spin. It’s a 125 cc equivalent that would be great for getting around town.
For anyone that’s spent a bit of time riding motorbikes, it’s hard to overstate how big a deal the lack of engine noise is. Motorbike riding is normally yourself, inside your helmet, wind noise that increases with speed and the constant buzz of the bike below you. There’s no radio, no passenger, no car interior to compete for your attention.
Solar Energy Self Consumption
In 2015 I moved into a new house which at the time was using a whopping 85 kWh/day on average in winter and not getting below 45kWh/day across most of the year. I straight away installed a large 10 kW solar pv array. A lot of this power was being exported to the grid during the day and we were still using a lot at other times. I wanted to try and use more of the power I was making, this posts tracks the journey through that process.
Running your pool pump on off peak electricity
Historically Australian homes were on single rate and off-peak/controlled load tariffs – all of their power at the same rate regardless of what time of day it was used. The exception being hard wired off peak circuits which received power for a set number of hours overnight. The exact time and duration these circuits receive power is governed by the electricity provider and appliances can only be connected to one or the other – not both. Most often only used for electric hot water heating.
Downlight’s pepper your ceiling with holes through which you loose heat in the winter and gain it in summer. To make your home safer and more energy efficient you need some form of cover over them.
GoFar – the money and time saving driving widget
I first met Danny the founder of Greendrive at the Founders Institute startup launch program about 2 years ago. Back then it was a “cleantech business creating new automotive technologies to increase vehicle efficiency and reduce emissions” (snooze). In layman’s terms he was building a widget that plugged into a port on your car to help you reduce your CO2 emissions. It sounded quite ambitious and to be honest I didn’t really believe he would make it happen (or that people cared enough about CO2 to buy it unfortunately).
Branched Drain Grey Water Diversion
After deciding I wanted to keep my grey water onsite but finding the commercial products a little on the expensive side I went looking for cheaper alternatives.
My first attempt was a 200L drum outside my bathroom connected to the waste outlet from my bath, lined with some rudimentary filters and draining to the garden via 19mm poly pipe. This was a failed experiment with a positive outcome. I quickly discovered where grey water gets it’s name from – when stored for any length of time this is the colour it quickly turns.
Sustainable Coffee Capsule Alternatives
I have to start this article by putting my hand up and saying that I’m a Nespresso hater. It’s not just because everyone has one it’s the waste created by the capsules and the cheap appliances that will have inevitably short lives before joining their capsules in landfill.
I’ve heard and subsequently re-told stories about how Nespresso capsules really have instant coffee inside them, how they don’t have as much cafeine as real coffee and how they use artificial chemicals to imitate the flavours (without knowing if any of these things are true). What’s worse is that I did this before I’d even tried coffee from a Nespresso machine!
Australian Organic Beers
Unfortunately it’s slim pickings drinkers of Australian organic beers at the moment. Unless you happen to live near one of a handful of boutique brewers you’re pretty much limited to Mountain Goat’s Organic Steam Ale.
As Deena Shanker explains over at Grist, the organic ingredients don’t really change the taste to the benefit to the consumer is purely the knowledge that the ingredients were grown using more sustainable practices.
Thankfully it’s quite a different store with local organic wines.
First Light Organics Baby Products
Since 2006 First Light Organics have produced the finest quality natural baby products in small fresh batches from locally grown produce* in northern NSW. They use only raw and sustainably sourced ingredients that are certified organic.
The result is a product that’s safe enough to eat! It’s noticeably smoother and more gentle on your baby – it’s “extremely pure and delicately effective”.
The products are mostly sold online and ship Australia wide.
* Wherever possible