ReNew Issue 141

Spring issue – Energy monitoring, home battery systems and more

ReNew 141 is an energy efficiency special, plus we’ve updated our popular energy storage buyers guide. We look at energy monitoring, blower door testing and clever use of energy rating tools for efficient design. Our energy storage buyers guide brings you the latest on home battery systems. There are also plenty of case studies: energy efficiency retrofits, a heat pump that handles hydronic heating and hot water, and a range of battery system installations.

Issue Contents:

Issue 141 is hot off the press and full of advice for your sustainable home this spring. As always, ReNew comes overflowing with articles to satisfy both the technically and the not-so-technically minded. Regardless of whether your interest is household batteries, monitoring and reducing energy use, hydronic heating without gas, EV charging systems or DIY garden irrigation, there is something for everyone in this issue.

ReNew 141 has a special focus on energy efficiency, energy monitoring and energy storage.

Inside you’ll find:

Special feature: Energy efficiency and energy monitoring

Halve consumption, double productivity

Alan Pears discusses the enormous savings that could come from energy efficiency (or energy productivity in the new lingo).

Home truths

After conducting home energy assessments for a couple of years, Richard Keech shares some of the all-too-common problems he sees.

Heat pump hydronic

Many people ask us about using a heat pump for hydronic space heating and hot water. It can be done, as this Melbourne house shows.

On the way to zero net energy

Energy efficiency is critical in the plan for a NSW shire’s transition to 100% renewables.

Knowledge is power: energy monitoring guide

Need help getting the upper hand on your electricity bills or checking that your solar system is working? Check out our energy monitoring guide.

Orientation matters!

With a low average energy use of under 5 kWh/day, Ewan Regazzo shares the lessons he and his family have learnt from building a new energy-efficient home.

Beyond the Stars

There’s much more to be gained from an energy rating tool than the number of Stars; used during design, it can help you tweak the building’s orientation, windows, shading and more.

Testing for air leakage

Even new Australian homes are leakier than average. Blower door testing can help find the gaps to guide draughtproofing and certification.

Cool performance in the desert

A net zero energy home for desert conditions is being designed and built at the University of Wollongong for entry in the international Solar Decathlon.

Energy storage guide + case studies

Energy storage buyers guide: ready-to-use home battery systems

With rapidly increasing demand, there’s been an explosion in the number of ready-to-use home battery systems available. We survey the options and present three short case studies.

Towards grid independence

What happens when a home with very low electricity use adds a battery? Terry Teoh describes his home’s interesting results.

Saltwater batteries in use

When the old battery bank gave out, it was back to diesel at this significant conservation site in Victoria’s Mallee region. But an innovative off-grid system has changed that.

Second-life for EV batteries

With ‘end of life’ approaching for a lot of electric vehicle batteries, a Melbourne-based startup is finding them a second life.

Off-grid extension

If your off-grid system is undersized, it can be tricky to add more batteries—but not if you add them to the ‘AC’ side, as this family did.


DIY garden irrigation

An automatic watering system can save you time and deliver the right amount of water where it’s needed, without waste. A reader describes his evolving system.

Electric vehicles

Plug wars

Different standards and increasing EV battery size have meant an evolving set of standards for EV plugs. What does it mean for owners?


The Pears Report: Summertime, and the living ain’t easy

With summer approaching, there’s a flurry of activity to ensure reliable energy generation under peak loads. We also need to look at the way our Star-rated buildings cope in the heat, says Alan Pears.

Member profile: Spreading the word on sustainability

Long-time convenor of the ATA’s Perth branch, Travis Hargreaves tells Anna Cumming about his experiences in the retail solar sector and his real passion – educating people on sustainability and equipping them with the knowledge to continue the conversation.