The REB Efficiency Group had its second meeting on Tuesday June 26th at the Benalla Gliding Club.
Howard asked us to think about orientation and how this might affect the comfort and efficiency of our homes. The movement of the sun around our homes is very predictable. Ideally the living area is best facing north to allow penetration of winter sun, however eaves will largely exclude the sun in the hot summer when the sun is high in the sky. Sleeping and utility areas are better placed on the south side of the house.
The Australian Government website Your Home has an excellent guide to Passive Design, http://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design.
Peter provided a brief outline of the Energy Freedom Home stepwise process of improving the energy efficiency of your home until eventually it can, after installation of solar panels, become a net exporter of energy.
As Peter's home has a northerly facing living area he is investigating better utilising this aspect of the home to make it more comfortable and energy efficient. This could include replacing northerly windows with doors to allow more winter sun access. These doors would then also allow access to an outdoor living area which would become a private area after changes to fencing. He is also considering insulation, draft proofing, and windows. Peter recommended Sustainability Victoria's video, Energy Efficiency at Home.
Other useful links with information on improving energy efficiency.
Indigo Shire Better Build Toolkit
ATA: Free Renter's guide to Sustainable Living
REB Report to BSFG Meeting, 22nd February, 2018
The BZE-Benalla Transition Strategy document details three major strategies that need to be implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve zero net energy. These strategies are:
i) Energy efficiency measures to reduce energy use,
ii) Promote and install local roof top solar,
iii) Investigate utility scale renewables, battery storage and micro grids.
Mondo Power Bulk Buy Offer
Mondo Power will be presenting their proposal for a bulk buy of panels, monitoring systems and eventually batteries, and the establishment of microgrids, to the Benalla community in early April. This proposal, if accepted by community members, will lead to increased numbers of PV panels on roofs and has the potential to see the establishment of microgrids in Benalla at a future date.
Small working groups have started to prepare plans to start on the implementation of the three major strategies mentioned above:
Offer of assistance from solar farm developer
FRV Services Australia, a Solar Farm Developer, has approached BSFG/REB to offer assistance.
This is part of the community engagement and benefit sharing by renewable energy project developers required by the Victorian government if they wish to be involved in the VRET.
Financial support is certainly part of this assistance being offered and there may be other forms of assistance as well.
Indi Energy Action Group
Cathy McGowan, Federal Member for Indi, has established an Indi Energy Action Group to promote and support community energy groups across the electorate of Indi.
Community Energy Retailer
Work is being done to investigate the possibility of establishing a community energy retailer in north-east Victoria.
The proposed community energy retailer would be a decentralised energy retailer providing a platform for local communities to achieve community energy goals and access locally generated renewable energy.