Nearly 200 people joined Mosman Council’s online Climate Action Forum last night to hear a stellar panel of guest speakers and government representatives discussing climate resilience and responding to climate change.

The panel included: 

  • The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy & Environment and Member for Hornsby
  • Zali Steggall OAM MP, Federal Member for Warringah
  • Felicity Wilson MP, Member for North Shore
  • Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan
  • Professor David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Sydney and Director of the Sydney Environment Institute
  • Professor Ruth Irwin, Team Leader Sustainability, Mosman Council.

Dominic Johnson, General Manager of Mosman Council was Master of Ceremonies. 

It was a lively forum with some insightful questions posed by audience members including representatives of Zero Emissions Sydney North. You can watch the complete forum here. 

Some highlights:

  • Zali Steggall MP explained how the proposed Climate Act will confirm a Federal net-zero-by-2050 target, which all States and Territories have already agreed to. She also discussed how legislation has helped successful climate action in countries such as conservative-governed-UK.
  • Professor David Schlosberg talked about Australia’s potential to be a renewable energy superpower
  • Matt Kean MP and Felicity Wilson MP spoke about NSW State based actions including the new renewable energy zones
  • Professor Ruth Irwin presented climate facts and solutions, and both Ruth and Mayor Carolyn Corrigan spoke about Mosman Council’s actions so far, including the 51 kW solar installation on the Marie Bashir Mosman Sports Centre as part of a Mosman-wide program to install solar on council owned buildings, LED upgrades planned for all street lights, and new resources to help individuals to take action, such as informational videos on solar, batteries and saving energy on the Council’s website, and discounted access to the Climate Clever app for all residents.

The panel spoke passionately about the need to support vulnerable people in our community who will be impacted by rising heat and unstable weather, and the urgency, the need to act now. They also urged people to use their democratic power to vote for climate action, and emphasized how important it was to consider politicians’ past voting records rather than their promises.

The panel ended with a video of a Q & A with local school students talking to Matt Kean and Felicity Wilson. The video makes it clear that young people are well across the facts and want to hear how we are switching to renewable energy, protecting our forests and animals, and creating renewable and sustainable jobs for their families and the students in the future.

Mosman Council also recently held three community workshops on climate, on mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and future scenarios. The three presentations from the workshops are available to view, along with a host of other videos, fact sheets, links and ideas for practical action on climate change.

To read more about Mosman Council’s climate action programs and initiatives, visit their website. And if you like what they’re doing, please tell them!

 

Did you know that most pool pumps run at more than twice the speed they need to for 99% of the time?

Chris Lee does. Chris is a volunteer with Zero Emissions Sydney North’s Home Energy Efficiency group and he has made a short video about how to dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your pool pump with a pool pump controller. It’s an easy fix which has an immediate impact on carbon emissions (and your electricity bill). If you’ve got a pool, it’s a no-brainer!

Check out Chris’s video here, and find further information below. 

If you’ve got a home energy efficiency idea, let us know or, better still, join us

Continue reading “Big savings for pool owners”

As it’s getting colder, we’re spending more time inside and our energy bills are going up. The perfect time to make some changes to reduce our energy consumption.

The Australian Energy Foundation recently ran a helpful webinar with a special focus on the top 2 energy vampires: Heating & cooling your house (40%) and hot water (23%). AEF’s top tips range from do-it-yourself fixes to investing in big-ticket items – such as reverse-cycle air conditioning for heating and heat pumps for hot water.

In our last post we covered the easy behavioural changes that you can use straight away. Now, some ways to make a big difference – to your bill and your carbon emissions.

Heating & Cooling

How to heat your house?

Reverse-cycle split-system air conditioning is now the most efficient and cheapest system to use. If you’ve got solar on your roof or are buying your power from a renewable electricity retailer, you can feel even better about your environmental footprint. Gas heaters are now second place with a bleak future: gas prices are going up and, as a fossil fuel, gas produces carbon emissions.

Find out more in AEF’s air con guide.

What about insulation?

Properly insulating your house can cut your heating/cooling bills by 40-50%! If your house was insulated before 2010, you should re-visit the roof space and see if you need to upgrade to better materials. Insulating your walls is expensive and only recommended as part of a reno project – you can do one room at a time.

Find out more in AEF’s insulation guide.

How do I prevent heat escaping from the house?

The average old Aussie home has cracks and gaps that amount to the equivalent of a football-sized hole in your wall! Get cracking and start fixing those cracks. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Seal door gaps with products from your favourite hardware store or a door snake
  • Close off your air vents – could be as simple as a piece of cardboard and duct tape
  • Use ‘No more gaps’ products to fill in the gap between your floorboards and skirting
  • Buy a ‘chimney sheep’ to seal your unused chimney

Need inspiration? Just follow the step-by-step videos “Green It Yourself” with Lish, Queen of Green.

And windows?

10-20% of heat escapes through windows, unless they have double-glazing. Some easy fixes:

  • Thick curtains that touch the floor with pelmets at the top.
  • Do-it-yourself double glazing: Put adhesive film on your window (check out Lish again) or even cheaper, use bubble wrap.

Hot Water

If your existing hot water system (gas or electric) bites the dust, replace it with a heat pump. Heat pumps can use up to 80% less energy than a standard electric tank. Start doing your research when your existing electric tank is about 8 to 9 years old (check age on the compliance plate on your tank) – they last about 10 years. Know exactly what you are going to buy when the old tank stops working.

Find out more in AEF’s heat pump guide.

Also check out simple behavioural changes that won’t cost you a cent but will reduce your heating and hot water costs.

You can view a recording of the recent AEF webinar or check out the presentation. Both are available online until 30 June.

If you’d like to share stories, volunteer, or just find out more about what we do, please contact us at hello@zerosydneynorth.org or sign up for our email newsletter.

Do stay in touch. We’re just getting started.

I have discovered a secret weapon in my quest to persuade people to make the switch to renewable energy. It’s called GADGETS!

We’ve had solar panels for nearly ten years now. 18 months ago we bought a Tesla 2 battery for $11,500 (which, as I now realise, was quite a bargain since prices have gone up this year). The installer, who did a great job, showed me how the app tells you exactly how much electricity you are consuming at any moment, and where that electricity is coming from. 

I didn’t realise at the time how powerful that insight could be. Three pictures


A sunny day in North Balgowlah
  1. A sunny day in November 2019

The big yellow mountain is solar energy, collected from our rooftop panels. The jagged line is our household energy consumption. (You can see that I made a cup of tea just before 8 a.m., and I ran the dishwasher and the washing machine in the morning.) Below the horizontal axis shows how the battery works: when the sun comes up excess solar energy feeds into the battery. It’s full by noon, so the grey area is excess energy flowing back to the grid (and earning a feed-in tariff). And you can see that, on this day, the battery powered the house right through till sunrise, so we were 100% self-powered.  ☺


Solar Offset
  1. Of course, the sun doesn’t always shine

But this screen shot shows that across 2019 we offset our usage — 8166 kWh — with 5473 kWh solar power from our roof. So a 67% reduction in our electricity bill and a 67% reduction in our carbon emissions. The retail price in NSW per kWh is 33c. So *furrows brow, doing sums* that’s $1806.09 in savings in 2019. Nice.

  1. What’s happening here?

This is a screenshot from March 2020 showing where our power is coming from. We’re in the middle of a powercut. The Tesla battery automatically takes over, so that the house can be independent of the grid, using power from the solar panels and, if needed, from the battery. WFH with no grid? No problem. 

We love checking on the app to see how much we are saving. But above all, this funky little app, with its visual representation of real time household electricity usage, is an amazing communications tool. Household power bills aren’t sexy but gadgets totally are. Therefore, my husband, even though he is not involved in environmental campaigning, gets a real kick out of showing his friends how we are helping ourselves to free energy (and helping the environment at the same time).

Do you have a battery? Do you have a story to tell about your journey towards zero emissions? Let us know by [best way to connect]