An eye for detail

ReNew proof reader Stephen Whately

Stephen Whately is ReNew’s dedicated proofreader and long term member of the organisation. He talks to Beth Askham about his favourite places and zero carbon house.

Every word in ReNew (and there are a lot of them) has been read and re-read before it reaches your eyes. With a coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, one person in particular has pored over every page, searching carefully through text and tables for errors. There are very few spelling or grammatical mistakes that escape Stephen’s eagle eye.

Stephen comes into ReNew HQ, the ATA office, with dependable, regular timing, two to three weeks before each issue goes to print. He bravely volunteers his time to make sure the ReNew that reaches you is not studded with errors. He has been proofreading ReNew’s pages for around eight years and has become a valuable and indispensable member of the ReNew team, contributing not just proofreading expertise but also technical knowledge, a dry sense of humour and article ideas.

Stephen’s knowledge of sustainable technology extends to his home where he has a 1 kW grid-connected solar system that exports more than the low 1.6 kWh he uses (on average) each day. He also has a separate 400 W stand-alone system, incorporating an old 12 V Telstra battery bank he picked up from a scrapyard in Bairnsdale. Many of his appliances, including his TV and radio, employ 12 V plugpacks, so the appliances can connect to the battery bank.

Being a lover of detail, he writes his energy consumption down in a spreadsheet from daily readings from his inverter. Gas use and petrol consumption are also written down in the spreadsheet and he then totals them all up for the month, converting everything to kilowatt-hour equivalents. At the end of each month he comes out mostly in the negative thanks to his solar panels. It’s really a very thorough, exact system. In his own words: “I take things too seriously; it’s dreadful.”

The north-facing back of his house has a passive solar extension that he built himself and in the backyard he has fruit trees, a veggie patch and not a single scrap of lawn.

When not proofreading ReNew or sampling the classical musical offerings around Melbourne, Stephen might be removing the weed sea spurge from Wilsons Prom or the southwest of Tassie, where he recently took part in a program that has largely eliminated sea spurge from 600 km of coast.

If you come into the office you might see him, and if you do, bring him a coffee or perhaps some vegan sorbet, because he deserves it.

This article was published in ReNew 127. Buy your copy here.

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