clear the air


“Visualising” Energy Use In Your Home

Household energy monitors have been around for some time. A few new entries into the space, however, add a splash of colour and style to make understanding energy consumption more intuitive.

Wattson, first of all, is a sleek, aesthetically pleasing device that shows homeowners through both numbers and colours how much energy they are using in their home. Consumers begin by attaching to their electricity meter or fuse box a transmitter device, which can measure both single and 3-phase systems. That, in turn, beams information directly to the freestanding wattson device elsewhere in the house, where it instantly displays current usage.

Wattson’s LED display can represent energy use in euros, dollars, yen or pounds, while its pulsing, coloured light also reflects the amount of electricity being used, ranging from cool blue for small amounts to red for high energy consumption. The wireless wattson display is portable, and when appliances are switched on or off, it indicates how much energy they use.

Homeowners can store up to 4 weeks of energy-use history on the device and download it for analysis on software that comes included; a forthcoming community feature will let wattson owners compare their usage. Wattson was listed in Stuff Magazine’s “Cool List” of the top 10 gadgets of 2007. It is priced at GBP 149.50 from UK-based DIY KYOTO.

The Home Joule, meanwhile, resembles a nightlight and plugs into any outlet in a home. The device displays not just energy usage, broadcast wirelessly by the consumer’s energy meter, but also the real-time cost of energy, which comes wirelessly from the energy company. The colour of light emitted by the device represents the costs of the moment, with yellow and red light indicating expensive energy costs, while green means energy is cheaper. The idea is that consumers can then modify their consumption accordingly, switching off discretionary appliances at peak times of the day. The Home Joule is from Ambient Devices and is currently available only to customers of Consumer Powerline’s demand-response program.

Finally, though not truly an energy monitor, we can’t resist mentioning Ambient‘s beautiful Energy Orb, which also emits different colours of light to represent pricing information. This time, however, the device emitting the light is an egg-shaped orb that plugs into an outlet. The Energy Orb has been adopted by Pacific Gas & Electric and other US energy companies, and is priced at USD 149.99.

With energy prices heading nowhere but up, so, too, will demand for devices like these. One to get in on early, especially outside the US!

Websites: www.diykyoto.comwww.consumerpowerline.comwww.ambientdevices.com
Contacts: info@diykyoto.comhwong@consumerpowerline.comdrose@ambientdevices.com

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“Give a Toss” to our Throw Away Culture
February 7, 2008, 8:06 am
Filed under: Australia's Challenge, Eco-Friendly Tips

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Scoodi is a new and exciting Australian based initiative that gives you a free and easy way to get rid of your unwanted things and find items you need. It’s a great website that promotes sustainable living through reuse, recycling and reduction of landfill.

Scoodi’s functional and easy to use design makes it simple for every one to use, leaving no excuse for anyone to take that step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. We all want to make a contribution to our community and reduce our impact on the environment.

Scoodi has been created just for this reason.Scoodi is simple, fast and convenient. Posting your items on the site, with a full description and as many photos as you need, takes less than 5 minutes and best of all – it’s FREE.

Finding stuff is just as easy. You’re not bound to any one location, so you can search for a bike for your niece within 5km from her address or a cordless drill within walking distance of your home!Our innovative ‘act-local’ technology is about promoting sustainability through local action and community building,’ says Richard HobsonYou never know what you might find. So why not give it a go.Visit www.scoodi.com.au and start hunting today!

Simon Turner  simon@marquetteturner.com.au



Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa Wins World Travel Award

eco-lodge.jpgA boutique eco-lodge situated amongst the dense tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland was announced as the World’s Leading Eco-Lodge in the World Green Category at the 14th World Travel Awards (WTA).

The WTA is a well established and recognised travel award – ‘the Oscars’ of the industry if you will. The Daintree Eco Lodge competed in the first ever “World Green” category alongside resorts and hotels from all across the world, including Egypt and Peru. The Daintree Eco Lodge was the only Australian nominee to take home a prize.

“Eco-friendly practices are really paving the way of the future and for a green category to be finally introduced this year, I think that it goes to show that the discerning and experiential traveller is really looking for an intelligent luxury,” says Eco Lodge co-founder Cathy Maloney.

Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa

Simon Turner  simon@marquetteturner.com.au



Carbon Neutral Events

It’s time to Switch to Green – Join the action towards a carbon neutral capital!

Green Pages Australia has partnered with THE premier climate change event this year – the Switch to Green Conference & Expo, held in Canberra on 4-5 April.Read More 

Also coming up:

  • SUSTAINABLE LIVING FESTIVAL 2008 15-17 February Federation Square, Melbourne

Sustainability – Make it Your Sport!Just like sport, sustainability is about the thrills and spills, being part of a team, feeling healthy, and having fun!www.slf.org.au/festival

  • Green Cities 08: What’s Possible Now? 10-13 February – Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour

The Green Building Council of Australia and the Property Council of Australia have once again joined forces to host Green Cities 08: What’s Possible Now?

www.greencities.org.au/

 Simon Turner  simon@marquetteturner.com.au



HAUL

dsc_0796-1.jpg HAUL started as Urban Boomerang in Tasmania in 1998 by Scott Kilmartin who, when moving to Melbourne in 2000 changed the companie’s branding to haul in 2003.

 

haul is an indie streetwear brand that designs using ‘green materials’ building a range of recycled accessories from used vinyl advertising billboards, rubber truck inner tubes & number plates.

rack.jpg  All products are Australian made and are certified “Good Environmental Choice” by the Australian Environmental Labelling Association.

 

haul products are stocked domestically in streetwear boutiques, motorcycle & design stores and independent Apple centers:  World domination planned for late 2008 (AUD$ permitting!)

Taking ‘used’, making ‘unique’, no two products are EVER the same.

www.haul.com.au



Your Green Grass Could Save The World

Grass WITH new research showing that the world’s forests are absorbing less man-made carbon dioxide each year, two Australian scientists said some plants could store CO2 for thousands of years.

Grasses such as wheat and sorghum can store large amounts of carbon in microscopic balls of silica, called phytoliths, that form around a plant’s cells as they draw the mineral from the soil, a report in the latest issue of New Scientist says.

When a plant dies, the phytoliths, or plantstones, enter the soil and lock in the carbon for potentially thousands of years, said the Southern Cross University agricultural scientists Leigh Sullivan and Jeff Parr. The next step would be to see if plants that best store carbon in plantstones have higher or lower crop yields and quality.

Strains could be bred to better produce plantstones and farmers could potentially claim carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol, the report said.

The forestry industry is already heavily involved in carbon storage but storing carbon in plantstones could become more widespread because farmers could also still earn income by selling the crops for food, the report said. 

Simon Turner  simon@marquetteturner.com.au



The effect of climate change on Australia

red-earth.jpg Ongoing water shortages, notably in southern and eastern Australia, are likely to get worse by 2030.

Ecologically important regions such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National Park are likely to lose a significant part of their wildlife before then, by 2020.

Some coastal communities are very likely to see an increased risk of coastal storms and flooding. Temperature rises of 1C-2C are likely to bring benefits to cooler areas, such as New Zealand, in the form of longer growing seasons and reduced energy demand.

Greater warming is likely to bring a net negative impact – such as increased risk of drought and fire.Ongoing water shortages, notably in southern and eastern Australia, are likely to get worse by 2030.

Ecologically important regions such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu National Park are likely to lose a significant part of their wildlife before then, by 2020. Some coastal communities are very likely to see an increased risk of coastal storms and flooding.

Temperature rises of 1C-2C are likely to bring benefits to cooler areas, such as New Zealand, in the form of longer growing seasons and reduced energy demand. Greater warming is likely to bring a net negative impact – such as increased risk of drought and fire.

Simon Turner  simon@marquetteturner.com.au