27.5 C
Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Energy efficiency ‘cheaper than renewables’

Latest News

Tweed Council rejects Casuarina disability viewing platform

Issues of queue jumping, the allocation of Tweed Shire Council’s resources in both time and money, and responding to...

Other News

TGA obstructs prescription psilocybin, MDMA

Imagine that some crazy professors convince a bunch of participants at a five-day mindfulness retreat to agree to take part in an experiment where half of them are given magic mushrooms, and half of them a placebo.

Archibald has knock-on effect in Murwillumbah

The Tweed Regional Gallery is hosting the Archibald Prize and local business people say the event is giving the town of Murwillumbah a significant economic boost.

Interview with Michael Balson, creator of Ocean to Sky

Local filmmaker helps tell the story of Edmund Hillary’s last adventure, in the film, Ocean to Sky

Research takes the vegan option to a new level

A project by Flinders University will see their Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development fishing for new vegan ideas.

Editorial – Ewingsdale development creep rejected by residents

A petition of 294 signatures against rezoning Ewingsdale farmland to commercial use will be presented to councillors for their upcoming Thursday meeting.

Ready for Byron’s latest massive development on Jonson St?

The changing face of Byron as Gold Coast and Sydney developers move in to recreate the look and feel of the town with intense development proposals.


All fired up, l to r:  local energy expert Colin George from Cool Planet,  Qld GM of Beyond Zero Emissions Emma Bosworth, lead researcher and presenter Trent Hawkins and Transition Byron Shire’s Sapoty Brook at last night’s event.

Sapoty Brook, Transition Byron Shire

Energy efficiency is a cheaper and easier way than renewables to get reductions in carbon emissions, a new report has found.

And reverse-cycle air-conditioning should replace gas heaters because it uses 80 per cent less energy.

Heat pumps also are better than solar hot water in winter in cooler climates, according to Trent Hawkins, project coordinator for the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan.

These were some of the controversial findings of the report, sponsored by Beyond Zero Emissions, which Mr Hawkins presented to a full house at the Byron Sport and Cultural Complex last night.

He said lax building regulations resulting from a cheap-energy economy are putting Australia behind in the global drive for energy efficiency in buildings.

The report was created by collaboration of more than 100 volunteers, each of them experts in their field.

Key recommendations are to replace gas with the more efficient electrical energy, retrofit houses for energy efficiency, and install rooftop solar extensively.

The International Energy Agency predicts power generation from renewable sources will exceed natural gas by 2016. By investing in gas, Australians are at risk of rising prices. Whereas investing in efficiency and renewables provides freedom from the three main energy companies. According to the report the national cost of gas over 30 years equals the national buildings efficiency retrofit cost.

Recommended cost-effective government programs include:

  • LED lighting conversions should be rolled out now. Installing LED lighting now provides an 80 per cent saving over halogen, for example.
  • The federal government program to fully insulate houses should be completed.
  • Actions should be taken to drive the double-glazing industry in order to halve heat loss through windows.
  • Solar incentives should be continued to achieve the goals of 28GW of residential rooftop solar and 3GW on commercial buildings. Network upgrades required to accommodate this expansion of solar amount to only a relatively small $17 billion.

Other recommendations include awnings and shading of windows, conversion to induction cooktop stoves, and installation of energy-management systems.

Energy-management systems providing better feedback have resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in some commercial buildings. Smart meters in homes typically provide a 15 per cent reduction.

The report concludes that overall reductions in energy use of 53 per cent in residential and of 43 per cent in commercial buildings can be achieved over a 10-year time-frame. Economic expenditure is the same as business-as-usual over 30 years, but zero emissions can be achieved when combined with conversion to a renewable-energy grid.

Last year the International Energy Agency warned that growth in the use of coal in developing countries could lead to as much as six degrees rise in average global temperature by 2100. A media report mistakenly quoted the date as 2050, and this created disagreement during discussion after the presentation.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Mr. Trent Hawkins was not only wrong with the year, he does not know “power to gas” in Germany over 8000 biogas farmer can upgrade and store to non fossil methane with wind and solar energy this means 24/7 electricity, gas for cooking and mobility.
    I was there and NOT impressed.

  2. Yes well energy efficient devises are in there, But renewbles are the key to long term (next thousand years technology). I mean what if the energy company put it’s rate at now $31.290c a unit to say $5.00.00 yes $5 bucks a unit, how many of you are going to be able to pay? Remember the oil companies & the gas companies are hand in hand: Peas in a pod, believe it…………


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Bringing down the heat in our ‘hood

How well we survive the future depends on our vision for our towns and suburbs – and on how we bring that vision about.

Resilience through biodiversity and awareness

The Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow will be in Brunswick Heads this Saturday, as part of a series of events across the region tackling the question: ‘How do we create more resilient communities in 2021?’

Housing affordability on agenda at Ballina

With the housing crisis worsening in Ballina and across the Northern Rivers, councillors agreed that something had to be done about the problem at their meeting yesterday.

Final stage of Lismore Base Hospital get underway

The redevelopment works commenced in late 2016 and the final stage is now getting underway to complete the Lismore Base Hospital referbishment.