ReNew Issue 135

Water saving special

This issue of ReNew explores where households can save water, inside and out. We look at efficient and effective use of water for gardens, including drip irrigation, wicking beds and using stormwater via rain gardens. Our mini guide is on waterless toilets. This issue also updates our heating buyers guide, with an in-depth look at hydronics and heat pumps (reverse-cycle air conditioners which can be used for efficient space heating). We also bring you the latest on what’s available in all-in-one battery systems and where the market is heading, and we examine the sustainability benefits of solar and solar + battery systems. Plus lots more: a DIY on double glazing, a mini hydronic system, a wind-farm round-up, a collaboration to power an Indigenous ranger station and nine water saving book reviews.

Issue Contents:

Issue 135 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 finding out which heating system to buy, adding batteries to solar, saving water indoors and out or DIY projects such as double glazing or a mini hydronic system, there is something for everyone in this issue.

ReNew 135 has ‘water saving’ as its focus. Inside you’ll find:

Special feature: water saving

At home with water efficiency

Gadgets, habits and tools to help you save water at home and in the garden by Eva Matthews.

Drop by drop

With real experience from her own patch, Gardening Australia‘s Sophie Thomson gives tips on water-efficient gardening in a dry climate.

Measured irrigation

This Adelaide invention adjusts watering based on temperature and rainfall, and it’s being used in homes and community gardens around Australia.

Wicking bed know-how

After a lot of research and experimentation, permaculture design consultancy Very Edible Gardens are wicking bed converts. Dan Palmer explains the ins and outs.

A project for a rainy day: put your stormwater to use

Using stormwater can save water, cool cities and reduce flooding problems, at the same time as protecting local rivers. Chris Walsh shows how in his inner-Melbourne home.

Common sense meets design: a permaculture approach

Sarah Coles talks to Su Dennett and David Holmgren about water efficiency and permaculture.

Waterless toilets: a mini guide

Dry toilets should be able to fit into any home. Eva Matthews presents the options available.

Gardening in the tropics

Rain in summer and lots of it, little rain in winter: Emma Scragg explores gardening in the tropics and subtropics with two northern Australian gardening experts.

Water footprint of your food

Sarah Coles explores the relationship between water resources and our dinner.

Water saving books

10 books to slake your thirst for water saving approaches in your home, garden and community.


Heating Buyers Guide: Heat pump and hydronic

Reduce your heating energy use and reduce your bills. We look at the latest in reverse-cycle air conditioners (heat pumps) and hydronic heating systems.

Other Features

Wind in the works

Wind turbine technology is evolving. Alicia Webb takes us on a tour of the latest tech and of wind farms worldwide.

Energy storage market heats up

With industry announcements almost every week, Lance Turner takes a look at where the energy storage market is heading.

A light in the bush

A pilot project shows how collaboration can help turn off polluting generators in remote locations. By ATA volunteer David Tolliday.

How green is my solar?

Andrew Reddaway examines the sustainability of solar and solar + battery systems, taking into account the energy that goes into their production and their effect on the grid.

The Pears Report: Global energy markets

Following his participation in two international summits recently, Alan Pears reflects on approaches to a transitioning energy market, both internationally and in Australia.

Member profile: We heart Tankulator

From studying environmental science, to working in the urban stormwater sector, to installing an intensive green roof on top of her home, ATA member Claire Hanley talks to Sarah Coles about community engagement with water.


Double glazing on a budget

With a bit of care and patience you can add double glazing to existing windows without breaking the bank. Alan Cotterill shows us how.

A DIY mini hydronic system

Martin Chape describes his mini DIY system that heats just one room using solar heat.