ReNew Issue 130

Sustainable cooling issue

Heading into Australia’s hottest months, this issue provides an insight into sustainable cooling options. We present the state of solar cooling in Australia, now and in the future, investigate the pros and cons of pre-cooling your home and consider house design in the face of increasing heatwaves. This issue also includes our updated greywater system buyers guide, the Greeny Flat experiment into low-cost sustainable housing, energy-efficient cooking techniques and technologies, DIY low-cost retrofitting for energy efficiency, a holiday reading guide to inspire you and much more!

Issue Contents:

Issue 130 is hot off the press and full of advice for your sustainable home this summer. As always, ReNew comes overflowing with articles to satisfy both the technically and the not-so-technically minded. Regardless of whether your interest is solar cooling, greywater systems, energy-efficient cooking or DIY low-cost retrofitting for energy efficiency, there is something for everyone in this issue.

ReNew 130 has ‘sustainable cooling’ as its focus. Inside you’ll find:

Special feature: sustainable cooling

The state of solar cooling

Can you use the sun to power your cooling system? ANU’s Mike Dennis takes us on a tour of where the solar cooling market is now and where it’s headed.

Pre-cooling your home

Does running your air conditioner to pre-cool your home make environmental or economic sense? ATA’s Andrew Reddaway examines the issue — with a little help from Sunulator.


With cooling being the biggest contributor to household energy use in the tropics, an innovative new project is finding smart, simple ways to change that. Jessica Steinborner from COOLmob explains.

Design for a changing climate

Heatwaves are already becoming more frequent, and are likely to increase exponentially as the climate warms. Dick Clarke and Chris Reardon look at how we need to rethink the way we design our homes.


AC vs DC coupling

Off-grid solar systems are steadily moving towards AC coupling topology. Lindsay Hart explores the pros and cons.

Know your renewables: meter matters

Lance Turner presents our ‘basics’ article on how meters work and which ones you need in your renewable energy system.

Greywater system buyers guide: save your garden this summer

With water a precious resource in a country as dry as Australia, greywater systems let you use water at least twice. Our buyers’ guide looks at what systems are available.

Other Features

The Greeny Flat experiment

Andy Lemann shares the principles, materials, results and lessons learnt in building a low-cost, high-efficiency home. Seven months into a one-year trial, the outcomes are promising.

Energy-efficient cooking

What do you need to consider when looking at the energy and environmental aspects of cooking? Alan Pears begins the discussion.

Are we still cooking with gas?

ATA gas report author Kate Leslie gives the lowdown on the research and its findings.

Food vs fuel

Does biofuel production contribute to global food shortage and hunger, or not? Dr Seona Candy steps us through the pros, cons and complexities of the debate.

Light Up Timor-Leste

It’s not just about providing solar lighting— the Light Up tours provide training and could seed a solar industry. Dave Carlos from Timor Adventures describes their latest tour.

Kael Rai

Involvement with the ATA brings great variety and enjoyment. A good example of this was a chance phone call with Danielle and her seven-year-old daughter Kael. Doug Rolfe explains.

Solar sports car

Clint Steele investigates the tricks and traps of body design for a solar car.

Holiday reading guide

From the practical to the visionary, ATA members review some books to fuel New Year’s resolutions.

The Pears Report

Alan Pears considers why coal seam gas is not the answer and, when it comes to energy-efficient homes, why the cooling side of the equation needs some attention.

Member profile: (Not) cooking with gas

ReNew fan and environmental consultant Kyle O’Farrell puts his knowledge to good use in building his new Melbourne home, as Sasha Shtargot discovers.


Off-grid in the suburbs

A ReNew reader has used his electric vehicle battery to take most of his energy consumption off-grid. He explains how he did it.

Efficiency on a budget

Alan Cotterill takes us on his journey retrofitting a standard brick-veneer home for energy savings.