Renew 146: Cooling guide, DIY special

“This was my grandfather’s axe. Of course, it has occasionally required some repairs. My father replaced the handle and I replaced the head.”—unknown source *

Buying things that will last, looking after them and repairing rather than discarding are perhaps the simplest sustainable things to do. And it doesn’t have to mean living with dagginess (though that’s an option too if you’re anything like me!). The beauty of reuse and repair is illustrated by some of the DIY projects in this issue, such as making beeswax wraps as long-lived replacements for plastic wrap. Or there’s visible mending, where you make something beautiful—embroidery or a simple patch—to cover a hole or stain. Or then there’s the reader who’s quashed any desire to replace a tired, old kitchen by reorganising it and repurposing furniture found in garage sales.

An interesting question arose when planning this issue: should we be covering DIY projects as our publisher Renew works to shift the mainstream towards sustainable living? DIY and mainstream don’t need to be mutually exclusive though. A DIY project might even inspire a bit of GSI (get someone in), equipping you with the info you need to make the right decision about what to buy. Whether you’re on the GSI or the DIY end of the spectrum, we hope you’ll find our eight DIY projects useful and inspiring.

The other main focus this issue is on sustainable cooling. It’s a big topic, and there’s a big buyers guide (11 pages) in this issue as a result. We can’t cover everything, but sometimes we sure try! We look at passive cooling options—external shading, roof and window treatments, ventilation, insulation and thermal mass. Plus we cover common questions about fans and air conditioning, with a table online of some of the suppliers and options.

In among the many options are some which will work for renters, though much more needs to be done regulation-wise to bring our rental housing stock up to an acceptable standard—so we cover the situation in each state for renters.

Along with the buyers guide are three case studies of different approaches to cooling, including one well-sealed and well-insulated house using pre-cooling matched to solar output to reduce energy use from the grid at night. Plus, we bust myths about renewable energy, explain the situation with solar and voltage rise, look at a case where solar has worked on a shady roof, consider the options for electric scooters and electrification of the trucking fleet—and much more besides. Enjoy!

You can buy a copy in our shop – with free shipping until end of January!

* The quote at the start of this post may be from an unknown original source, but we found it in a recent e-newsletter from Treehugger, a great round-up of sustainable thinking and news, out of the USA.

Some of the articles in Renew 146
Cooling buyers guide: Active cooling options

Cooling buyers guide: Active cooling options

Our first-ever cooling buyers guide gives you all the info you need on effective shading, ventilation, fans and efficient air conditioning for both renters and homeowners; in this extract we bring you the lowdown on active cooling options.

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Desert Rose

Desert Rose

An Aussie net-zero energy house takes on the competition in Dubai, bringing home an impressive second place overall in the 2018 Solar Decathlon.

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