ReNew Issue 138

Summer special – Window shading, greener roofs, DIYs and more!

With a hotter than average summer on the cards, this issue our buyers guide tackles the question of window shading. We cover the options, from fixed eaves and awnings, to retractable blinds and adjustable louvres; plus 3 case studies – an insulated pergola roof, DIY awning and louvre blinds. We go in-depth on roofing options, looking at the materials available and the design issues to consider (roof pitch, insulation, colour). Plus: a special feature on the feasibility of a 100% renewable grid, islands leading the way in sustainability (Lord Howe among them), vertical gardening, towards zero-waste and DIYs galore – reusing building materials in the garden, DIY wicking beds and making your own earth bricks. Plus much more!

Issue Contents:

Issue 138 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 green roof options, window shading, how a transition to 100% renewables can work or how to charge an EV while travelling, there is something for everyone in this issue.

ReNew 138 has special features on 100% renewables and building materials. Inside you’ll find:


Special feature: 100% renewables— how feasible is it?

With ongoing discussion about the effect of renewables on the grid, the ATA’s Andrew Reddaway and Damien Moyse unpick the misconceptions and suggest the way forward.

Island of energy

Samso Island in Denmark is already 100% renewable for electricity, and transport is next on their agenda. All it took was community energy—and government support.

Other islands going renewable

A showcase of islands switching to renewables.

Towards zero-waste: Howe it’s done

Another island, another forerunner: pristine Lord Howe Island takes reduce, reuse, recycle to the next level, as Sophie Liu and Don Batson found out on their recent holiday.

Change in store

Going zero-waste is not easy in our throwaway world, but doubly so when you don’t have bulk stores nearby. Tammy Logan shows it’s still possible.

Driving emissions down

How far can you go on a single charge and how can you charge overnight if you don’t have a driveway? Jeff Challis answers electric vehicle FAQs.

Straight up: vertical garden design

Two vertical garden owners give tips on what’s needed for success.

Building materials special

A roof over your head

Following on from our review of wall materials in ReNew 132, Lance Turner examines the options for roofing materials and considers advantages, disadvantages and sustainability of each.

What’s in a timber finish?

Peter Smyth explains the types of timber finishes available for both indoors and out, and considers preparation, application and eco credentials.

Reusing materials in the garden

There’s a lot of scope for creative reuse of building materials in the garden. Permaculture expert Drew Barr considers tiles, bricks, concrete and metal.

Slab-edge insulation

Dick Clarke explains why most homes in Australia need slab-edge insulation and how to apply it even in termite zones.


Keep your cool: External shading buyers guide

Window shading is essential in many parts of Australia and Anna Cumming reviews the options. Plus three case studies: innovative shading on a difficult site; DIY shading that’s cheap and effective; and a pergola to add shade and thermal protection.

Reader projects

DIY: Make your own earth bricks

They can be made on-site and potentially even use the excavated soil. John Hermans describes pressed earth bricks and how to make them.

DIY: Wicking beds

Rob Phillips was only planning to clean up the yard when he went to get some plastic containers. Then he realised their wicking bed potential.


The Pears Report: Reflections on reflections

Two decades on and 75+ ReNew columns later, Alan Pears is still positive about our clean energy future. How does he do it? Alan reflects on the clean energy facts we all need to know.

Member profile: Ripples in the community

Long-time ATA member Ali Campbell has no qualms about buying secondhand instead of new and looks at all purchases through a “green lens.” She talks to Jodie Lea Martire about how community is critical to sustainability.