ReNew Issue 134

Energy efficiency special

This issue delves into the world of energy auditing and how to go about reducing your home’s energy consumption. We examine the rebound effect, where energy efficiency can lead to energy use that offsets some of the savings – or does it? We take a look at energy efficiency measures renters can undertake to get their energy bills under control, and review what you need to know about appliance Star ratings. We also cover the economics of adding batteries to a solar system, large-scale solar projects happening around the world, women working in the renewables arena, creating a cool refuge from the summer heat, simple DIY projects + much more! This issue includes our updated Solar Panel Buyers Guide with the lowdown on what to look for when buying your next solar panels.

Issue Contents:

Issue 134 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 reducing energy use in your home, adding batteries to solar, going off-grid or simple DIY reuse projects, there is something for everyone in this issue.

ReNew 134 has ‘energy efficiency’ as its focus. Inside you’ll find:

Special feature: energy efficiency

On the rebound: countering the sceptics

Can energy efficiency lead to energy use that offsets some of the savings: the so-called ‘rebound effect’? It’s not that simple, says Alan Pears, and in fact, the opposite can happen.

A focus on thermal efficiency

We talk to energy efficiency business ecoMaster about how they’ve managed to outlast policy upheavals, and get guidance on costs and what to consider when doing an energy efficiency retrofit.

A second life in sustainability

How do you get into energy auditing as a career? And how do you run an audit? Alan Benn’s experiences provide insights.

How to choose an energy assessor

Danielle King explains the types of assessments, what to expect and what to consider when choosing an assessor.

Smart cooling in the tropics

This project is improving comfort and reducing bills for low-income households in the tropics—and its research outcomes are set to influence building codes and policies.

Energy-efficient renters

Sarah Coles gets tips on what renters can do to reduce energy bills.

It’s in the stars

With household appliances major contributors to a home’s energy use, it makes sense to ‘buy smart’ and ‘use smart’. Eva Matthews investigates.

Buy your gran a cool corner

Professor Sue Roaf considers ways we could retrofit just a small part of our homes as a low-cost climate refuge.


PV power: A solar panel buyers guide

We’ve contacted solar panel manufacturers for details on warranties and cell types to help you decide which solar panels are best for you.

Other Features

Large-scale solar worldwide

Now often the cheapest option (yay!), large-scale solar is taking off. We look at some of the impressive projects happening right now.

When will storage stack up?

The latest report from the ATA examines the economic case for grid-connected solar plus battery systems.

Solar + battery trial

Lindsey Roke shares his household’s experience with a solar plus battery trial in Auckland, New Zealand.

Women in renewables

Sarah Coles talks to three women about their path into the renewables field.

Off-grid living

Chris Kelman describes his impressive off-grid wind and solar system—and the avid meter-watching that goes with it.

Another world in East Timor

Balmy nights and new DIY skills: Tim Adams on the latest ‘Light Up Timor’ tour.

Summer reading guide

Time to kick back with some reading on renewable energy superpowers, fair food and a manual for surviving climate change.

The Pears Report: Creative policy paths

Alan Pears considers the newly minted potential for indirect action in Australia—how creative can we get?—along with important considerations for fuel use in vehicles.

Member profile: Wait and see

Dr Katrina Swalwell is a senior wind engineer, long-time ATA member and avid ReNew reader. She discusses the state of renewables in Australia with Sarah Coles.

Book reviews

Reviews of Fair Food: Stories from a movement changing the world, edited by Dr Nick Rose; Six Square Metres: Reflections from a small garden, by Margaret Simons; DIY Garden Projects, by Matt Pember & Dillon Seitchik-Reardon; The Edible City, by Indira Naidoo; Birdscaping Australia Gardens, by George Adams; Surviving and Living with Climate Change, by Jane Rawson & James Whitmore; and Renewable Energy Superpower, by Beyond Zero Emissions.


Simple reuse projects

There’s a wealth of DIY resources online to help you reuse materials that would otherwise go to landfill. Lance Turner surveys the field and presents several simple DIY reuse projects.

A DIY temperature controller

Lance Turner describes a versatile temperature controller mostly built from spare and surplus parts.