Lego minifig character holding the 'Ctrl' key from a laptop keyboard
Business 2.0, Design, Sustainability

Finding momentum towards urban energy savings

Implicit in my recent series of posts is that the structural barriers won’t or can’t be addressed. Of course, wins of this manner/magnitude can have huge flow-on effects. So working towards addressing these remains critical and important. For example, if:

  • New building stock had sustainability as a key criteria
  • Buildings had smart meters that provided timely data to residents
  • Open data became the norm for energy usage information (i.e. system interoperability, with due security measures to ensure privacy etc.) that enabled individuals to use a variety of toolsets or “migrate” their data between systems
  • Strata managers and owners’ corporations took active steps to make operations more efficient, save money, and introduce generation capacity where suitable
  • Residents are empowered to have a more active voice in moving strata managers and owners’ corporations to express their values, whether they be owners or renters

Then we would be in a much better place—literally.

However, regardless of if this is possible, it’s going to take time. And in the meantime, what can residents do? Do they just throw their arms in the air and say “I can’t do anything (meaningful)?” Or are their options that the can exercise? Continue reading

Man spinning fireworks in the dark
Sustainability

Resource Man’s adventures in household eco-visualisation

Recently I had some interstate travel that presented an opportunity to catch up on a (long) back catalogue of reading. There were three standouts that are related to the recent series of posts I’ve been writing on energy monitoring and behaviour change in a medium- to high-density residential context (the articles relate to themes that are broader than this domain). Continue reading

City building rooftops from above
Sustainability

Microgrids and apartment rooftops

I’ve written recently about energy efficiency in a high-density residential context (here, here and here). One specific area of reducing costs/consumption is to install renewable energy generation capacity. For properties that have significant roof-top space, this can be a quite cost effective way of reducing reliance on energy utilities (and increasing energy costs), thus reducing energy bills.

Whereas in a low-density residential environment (e.g. a separated dwelling or home) introducing renewable energy capacity is an option (e.g. installing solar panels or a solar hot water system), this is more difficult to achieve in a medium- to high-density environment. Continue reading

Industrial style light bulbs
Sustainability

Inside the walls of high-density residential energy savings

Previously I have noted a few key challenges in relation to achieving energy efficiency in a high-density residential context. If developers aren’t prioritising sustainability due to a perceived lack of market demand, and owners corporations’ focus is elsewhere, where else can efficiencies be gained? What about what happens “within the walls” of the apartments themselves?

While the individual savings might be small, the cumulative benefits might be significant. Just how significant is unclear, however. So it’s hard to judge just what sort of impact energy efficiency measures across a medium- or high-density residential complex would be. I did a bit of digging but couldn’t find readily available stats. Are savings in this context just going to be a “band-aid” solution? Or can it make a significant contribution?

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the cumulative effect is significant enough to warrant attention. Continue reading