Side mirror of an accelerating car
Housekeeping, Sustainability, Work


Well, it’s been quite a while between posts here… so a bit of explanation is in order.

Shortly after I presented at the IxDA drinks last year, a number of my colleagues pointed me to the Energy XO program that was being launched by Western Australian electricity utility Horizon Power and (now defunct) startup accelerator Pollenizer.

It seemed like a great opportunity to connect with industry folks and participate in a two-day “microhack”—essentially a workshop to develop up business ideas in the electricity sector and to be introduced to the “startup science” process that Pollenizer had developed around Lean Startup principles.

Little did I know at the time that I would be one of four people selected to enter into the 12 week accelerator program! Continue reading

Blurred city lights. Source:

How much impact might savings “within the walls” have?

In a recent post I commented:

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.

Ahh, assumptions. We have to make them sometimes to get moving, but it’s always best to close the loop, through research, if we can.

I spent a little bit of time the other day looking into this, seeing if I could source stats or research that examine the difference in energy consumption in a medium- and/or high-density residential environment (e.g. apartments) versus low-density (e.g. houses), and found some interesting tidbits… Continue reading

Electricity wall outlet. Source:
Presentations, Sustainability

IxDA Sydney presentation

Over the course of a few recent posts I’ve explored some of the challenges with reducing electricity consumption in a high-density residential environment.

On 2 June (Thursday next week) I’ll be diving into this problem space a little bit further at the IxDA Sydney meetup, and demonstrating some recent work and early directions that have been emerging from our consideration of this design challenge.

My talk is titled: Ambient interfaces: Influencing energy behaviours in urban environments Continue reading

People having a work-related discussion over coffee

Residential building management and energy savings

In a previous post I commented on how the high-density residential market is not being driven by the same market forces as the commercial property sector to incorporate sustainability measures in the design/development of new dwellings.

So assuming that current building stock (i.e. those being built today) have a life span of 50–100 years. Thus, if the development stock currently being built is less efficient, what can be done to improve efficiency in the meantime? Continue reading


Alex Laskey at TED

In a number of my workshops and presentations I’ve used the example of some research into the power of harnessing social norms to drive energy efficiency. And also how these same norms can have unexpected rebound effects. In preparation of a workshop I’m running in a few weeks’ time I came across Alex Laskey’s fantastic talk on the subject. Well worth a watch—he does a fantastic job of explaining how it all works and what they’ve found.