Renew Issue 144

Winter issue – Smart homes, smart heating options, backyard farming + more

ReNew 144 is our smart homes special. Inside you’ll find our analysis of the sustainability of smart home tech along with case studies of households getting smart with their monitoring and automation. We also look at electric home heating options, consider the possibilities for backyard farming, investigate the greenhouse gas footprint of gas and much more!

Special feature: Smart homes

Houses that think

Smart home technology is touted as the way of the future, helping to make life easier while reducing energy use. But is that really the case? Lance Turner investigates.

Two smart home case studies

A smart home in Adelaide is using smart tech to automate their ventilation and heat-shifting; while a home in Melbourne has found many benefits from talking to Amazon Alexa.

A clever little home

Contrary to many people’s experience, Will Croxford and his wife have found that smart tech has made their house simpler and cheaper to run.

A mania for monitoring

There’s a graph for everything from humidity to temperature to energy use by zone in Cameron Munro’s high-performance house.

Special feature: Smart heating options

Efficient electric heating guide: beat the winter chills

There are plenty of efficient electric heating options to choose from. Use our guide to work out what suits you best.

Heating case studies

From a single split system to eight, to a simple portable radiator to heat pump hydronic, these householders describe the heating solutions that are working for them.

Heating people, not spaces

How much energy can you save by heating yourself instead of your home? Will you be as comfortable? Dave Southgate describes his personal heating experiment.

A warming tale

Location, communication and efficiency were key to the success of this owner-build—along with innovative hydronic heating and cooling.

Other features

The farmer next door

Can you grow enough food on a standard suburban block to feed yourself, or even your neighbours? Two households are showing how to be successful backyard farmers.

On the solarcoaster

Fifteen years and five solar systems: Jeff Knowles’ solar upgrades reflect his enthusiasm for solar and changing tech and standards.

The greenhouse footprint of gas

No one is keeping track as the greenhouse gas footprint of gas worsens with the ever-growing unconventional gas industry.

Keeping a clinic operating

A solar + battery system is keeping the vaccinations refrigerated and the lights on at this remote medical clinic in Timor Leste.

Electric vehicles

The end of the ICE age?

Amid a flurry of announcements from car manufacturers and governments, Bryce Gaton surveys the significant shifts away from ICE vehicles and towards electric.

EV charging and tariff choices

Which tariff should you use to charge your electric vehicle to minimise costs and greenhouse gas emissions?


Pears Report: On purpose

We should be repurposing old industrial or electricity generation sites for more sustainable activities. Alan Pears considers the politics.

Member profile: Edna the Eco House – a tale of two owners

After visiting it on Sustainable House Day, ATA members Jim and Kate bought their Stirling eco home from Jason and Susan, also ATA members, who had built the house 15 years earlier. Anna Cumming has a chat to them about a match made on SHD.