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Reduce heating & cooling costs

The cheapest way to heat your home with renewable energy

By Green architecture, News, Reduce heating & cooling costs
Households are turning to sustainability Step by step, householders are making economic decisions that will eventually lead to many completely disconnecting from the gas grid, as they find gas to be an increasingly costly secondary source of home energy. This is particularly true when it comes to space-heating. When the cost of operating a modern reverse cycle air conditioner (known in Tasmania and elsewhere around the world as a heat pump) can be one-third the cost of heating with gas, why wouldn’t a householder have a look at the possibilities?Another attraction is that heating with a reverse cycle air conditioner is largely renewable. Our research has quantified that reverse cycle air conditioners in Australia recover more renewable energy than do all of the millions of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. Who knew?
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The battery revolution is exciting, but remember they pollute too

By Green architecture, News, Reduce heating & cooling costs
Transitioning battery technologies for a greener economy We have also seen the development of an aluminium-ion battery that may be safer, lighter and cheaper than the lithium-ion batteries used by Tesla and most other auto and technology companies. These advances are exciting for two main reasons. First, the cost of energy storage, in the form of batteries, is decreasing significantly. This makes electric vehicle ownership and home energy storage much more attainable. The second, related reason is that these cheaper green technologies may make the transition to a greener economy easier and faster than we have so far imagined (although, as has been recently pointed out on The Conversation, these technologies are only one piece of the overall energy puzzle). Beware the industrial option These technological advances, and much of the excitement around them, lend themselves to the idea that solving environmental problems such as climate change is primarily a case of technological adjustment. But this approach encourages a strategy of “superindustrialisation”, in which technology and industry are brought to bear to resolve climate change, through resource efficiency, waste reduction and pollution control. In this context, the green economy is presented as an inevitable green technological economic wave.
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Concrete and Embodied Energy – Can using concrete be carbon neutral

By Concrete embodied energy, Green Factsheet, Reduce heating & cooling costs
Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world. There is now approximately 2 tonnes of concrete for each person on the planet earth. The small amount of embodied energy (carbon) in one tonne of concrete, when multiplied by the huge amount of concrete used, results in concrete being the material that contains the greatest amount of carbon in the world. Justification for higher embodied energy in buildings A higher embodied energy level in buildings can be justified if it contributes to lower operational energy over the life of the building. For example, large amounts of thermal mass, high in embodied energy, can significantly reduce cooling and heating needs in well designed and insulated passive solar buildings, particularly In climates with greater cooling or heating requirements and significant day/night temperature variations (like Canberra and region). (1) As the operational energy of a building over its life cycle far exceeds its embodied energy, using the high thermal mass of concrete to virtually eliminate heating and cooling energy requirements results in saving lots of energy that creates a carbon neutral outcome over the life of the building. How to reduce the impact of embodied energy The single most important factor in reducing the impact of embodied energy (EE) is to design long life, durable and adaptable buildings. Buildings should aim to use materials that have lower EE. (1) The choice of construction material should depend on all of the benefits…
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If passive solar design is so good why isn’t everyone doing it?

By Green Factsheet, Green living, Passive Solar, Reduce heating & cooling costs
Here at Strine Environments, we are sometimes asked by new clients why, if passive solar design is so good, isn’t everyone doing it? To which we say good question! We believe it comes down to a few key issues, which revolve around a lack of education and misconceptions. Misconceptions A common misconception is that if a house is sustainable, then style will have to be compromised. Surely they can’t coexist because eco-friendly, green energy homes are the provenance of dyed-in-the wool greenies who are not concerned with sharp, contemporary architectural design. Right? They just want to save the planet, which is all well and good, but surely it can’t be beautiful too? Well leaving the stereotypes that surround ‘greenies’ to one side, the answer is of course no. Strine’s passive solar designed homes have been fine-tuned over many years by owner and director Ric Butt, a highly awarded architect in Australia and internationally.  Strine’s homes are about creating comfort for the owners by keeping the inside temperature close to 20º in winter and summer, but the science that goes into this is not visible to the naked eye. To achieve year-round temperature stability, we have developed our own insulated precast concrete panels that allow us to provide high performance thermal mass. If you went into a Strine home you wouldn’t be able to pick if the walls were concrete or plasterboard as you have the option to paint or leave…
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