Your Synergy Bill (see images below) shows the number of electricity units you have sold to Synergy (kWh exported back to the grid) and the number of units that you have consumed (kWh imported from the grid).
The sold units are offset against the number of units you have consumed (refer to # 17 and 18 in the Synergy example bill below). It also shows your average daily usage (units) and cost consumed – refer to # 8 in image below.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your Synergy bill does NOT include the units your home has consumed from your solar power system during the billing period. Your bill only shows the amount of surplus energy sent to the grid.
These electricity calculations will give you something to think about!
1Unit = 1000Whr = 1kWhr
1kWhr = 1000 Watts of power being consumed for 1 hour
1MW = 1,000,000 Watts or 1000 kW
1 kW hr = 3.6 MJ (if energy expended at a constant rate of 1000W for 1hour)
1J=1Ws or 1W for 1 second
Synergy WA Home Plan A1 Residential Tariff Electricity Charge (as of 1 January 2017) = $0.26474 (https://www.synergy.net.au/Your-home/Energy-plans/Home-Plan-A1)
Note: on the bottom right hand side of your electricity bill you will find your ‘Average Daily Consumption’ in Units.
How much electricity do my appliances use?
If you want to find out how much an appliance uses then read below.
Using the information above lets works out what a Plasma TV would cost to run for one year.
Firstly find out the Watts for your appliance – see the energy rating or serial number sticker as it should state the WATTS of the device which demonstrates watts per hour.
EXAMPLE: If a Plasma TV uses 350Watts per hour and is on for 6 hours per day, then the total energy consumed per day will be 350W x 6hours = 2100Whrs =2.1kWhrs = 2.1units p/day.
To find the daily cost of running this appliance at 6 hrs/day multiply the daily units consumed by the cost per unit= 2.1units x $0.2647 cents = $0.55 cents per day
For one billing cycle of 61 days, multiply the daily cost by 61days:
$0.55 x 61 days (billing cycle)= $33.55 for running the Plasma TV for 6hrs p/day for approx 2 months, or approx $201.30 p/y for just 1 appliance!
YOUR Environmental footprint from electricity use per year
If you want to find out the environmental impact of your electricity bills per annum, using Green House Gas (GHG) as a metric, you will need to determine how much you consume, averaged per day.
Perth’s average household uses 20 units of electricity per day = 7300 kWh/year (20 x 365 = 7300kWh)
The NGERS GHG impact from Electricity Emissions Factor = 0.83 kg Co2–e/kWh (as at 2012/2013)
Therefore using calculations above as an example, the yearly emissions from electricity use for the average Perth Home = 7300 x .83 = 6,059 kg Co2-e/ YEAR = 6.1 Tonnes p/yr
For your imagination picture this… 1 x standard large Garbage Bag = 1kg CO2-e (CSIRO, 2009).
The City of Fremantle recently announced they are looking for expressions of interest from groups of people that want to develop 7 Quarry St in Fremantle, a site currently owned by the City. It’s not your ordinary expression of interest though…
Fremantle Baugruppen demonstration project
The project is inspired by the ‘Baugruppen’ development model, where future owners and residents become the developer. The aim is for the nearly 1,500 sqm site to become a showcase for an innovative development that provides a diversity of housing options. The conditions include that the purchasing body must be co-operatively owned and democratically controlled and demonstrate a legal mechanism to ensure the majority of owners are individuals who want to live at 7 Quarry St. Because it is to be designed and built under future owners’ guidance, there is no developer’s margin so the project can deliver more sustainable and (long term) affordable housing. The project is expected to meet national or internatial best practice for environmentally sustainable building design. The council sees a puchase price at or above market value, and will consider delayed settlement options.
What is Baugruppen?
The word Baugruppen is German for ‘building group’, a form of co-operative and collaborative housing. There are a wide range of case studies, most of them a far cry from the government subsidised and means-tested co-op model that is common in Australia which serves only low-income residents and leaves them at risk of losing their home if they grow too prosperous. The new model of cooperative housing is to cater for diverse segments, mixing up low and middle-income residents, adapting to individual needs and lifestyles, allowing people to prosper and possibly even move from renting to owning (and back).
(image Green Fabric)
In comparison to a typical, developer style project where the profit is a key driver, in the Baugruppen or co-operative model:
Like minded people pool financial resources to buy land and fund their own development.
Architect and contractors design and build to co-operative’s needs.
Everyone gets a (strata) unit custom to their needs at a reduced cost.
Research by Kristien Ring, a German architect and researcher, and published in a book titled ‘Self Made City’ analysed and documented a wide range of self-made projects and found that these projects had qualities that are hardly achieved by investor projects. From a sustainability perspective, they include investment in ecological buildings, a strong focus on open and green space, and a responsibility, beyond the building, for the wider community. It is qualities such as this that the City of Fremantle is obviously looking for.
Other Baugruppen projects in Perth
But don’t think that Baugruppen are a completely new phenomenon. In Perth, Green Gurus team member Eugenie Stockmann, completed two multi-award winning Baugruppen projects as co-founder of The Green Swing. She recently founded Green Fabric to facilitate and assist others; she is working on a project in Shelley and is also involved with a submission for the 7 Quarry St opportunity. Landcorp also is trying out this new development model; they are collaborating with the University of Western Australia on a Baugruppen demonstration and research project on one of the apartment sites in the WGV project.
There is a lot of potential; in some German cities, Baugruppen make up 30-40% of new projects. We look forward to Baugruppen projects providing inspiration for what is possible in relation to sustainable buildings and communities.
Green Gurus™ partner Eugenie Stockmann wins big at the 2016 HIA GreenSmart Awards and MBA WA Excellence in Construction Awards with her development ‘The Siding by The Green Swing’. “This is important national recognition for the ground breaking nature of our projects” says Eugenie. “It is proof that The Siding one of WA’s most sustainable developments”.
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) announced the winners for the 2016 National Australian Greensmart Awards in early September and The Siding was fortunate to win 3 awards in the following categories:
GreenSmart Residential Development
Greensmart Water Efficiency
Greensmart Energy Efficiency
The Siding was also announced winner of two 2016 MBA WA Excellence in Construction Awards: Waste Management and Energy Efficiency.
The Green Swing – Development. 84 Rutland Ave, Lathlain, Perth. Photo: Daniel Carson | dcimages
Eugenie and The Green Swing team completed The Siding earlier this year. It is their second multi-award winning medium density development. The Siding consists of two townhouses and five apartments and has a strong focus on sustainability and community. The project was designed by architect Sid Thoo and constructed by builder Right Homes.
The design of the development is unique, the diverse mixture of dwellings is built around a mature eucalypt and provides for open and green space, including a shared productive garden.
Using solar passive design principles, the energy ratings of the homes at The Siding range between 9 and 10 stars and in theory the homes need little to no energy for heating and cooling thus reducing the ongoing burden of electricity costs for the occupant. Life cycle design results show an 80% saving in carbon emissions for the overall project.
Other sustainability initiatives include solar hot water and solar PV, double glazing, energy monitoring, energy efficient lighting, rainwater re-use, bore for irrigation, 15AMP power outlets for (future) electric vehicles, shared bicycle store, NBN ready and not connected to gas. The homes have been constructed using double brick with cavity insulation on the ground floors and reverse brick veneer on the first floor and in the gable ends. All homes have access to the attics via fixed stairs to provide extra bedrooms and living space.
For enquiries, contact Eugenie on 0438 718 247 or email@example.com
Green Gurus™ recently worked with the team at Mauravillo Estate to provide an information evening for current and prospective buyers to encourage better environmental outcomes at this remarkable rural estate.
The evening was a well-attended and very positively received initiative and was a unique joint effort supported by both the developer, John and Helen Court, and real estate agent Lee-Steere & Co. Mauravillo. On the night, Architect Sid Thoo and environmental scientist, Chris Ferreira from The Forever Project each delivered a talk on how land owners can design their house and garden to best utilize resources like sun and water and to be more energy efficient
The rural estate is taking great strides in their efforts of creating a sustainable community. The developer of the Mauravillo Estate, John and Helen Court, are committed to the idea of a green future at Mauravillo. They have had this vision for over 30 years now and planted the trees that now line the avenues and set Mauravillo apart. “We know that water and energy efficiency are going to be the essential features of contemporary living and in a rural environment like Mauravillo the potential for communal sharing of resources and produce will only add to good sustainable outcomes”.
Home in WA visited Mauravillo Estate and talked with project manager Steven Rushforth about the sustainability features of the estate. Steven said “We have a strong belief in the benefits of a sustainable community both from an environmental point of view and through social interaction” he said. Initiatives include tree planting, crushing their own gravel and a Carnaby’s Cockatoo habitat. The local men shed in Wundowie built the nesting boxes. “Sustainability is ultra-important for us and we are trying to bring the community along with us by hosting information evenings and events.”
Mauravillo is a new country estate in the hills near the historic town of Wundowie and is one of the very few rural estates to have reticulated scheme water. Most of the blocks are about 1hectare in size(10,000sqm) and are fully serviced with power, water, telecommunications, sealed roads and fences. Another unique feature of this estate is the generous public open space which will have lakeside amenities such as a playground, public toilets, barbeque areas and a Carnaby’s Cockatoo habitat. Stage 1 is sold out, Stage 2 is newly released. Project manager Steven Rushforth pointed out that these features will create a vibrant united community.
It has been called the second solar energy revolution: battery storage. The product and its potential is capturing people’s attention and interest. The Green Gurus™ team are getting many questions. How does it work? What is the cost? Should I think about installing battery storage and if so, when?
Why consider battery storage?
A drawback to using solar power on its own is that it is only available when the sun is shining. You may not be at home during that time, while at night time when we cook dinner or watch television we are still completely reliant on the grid. Battery storage can help maximise the on-site benefits of solar PV. It can also play a role in smoothing peak demand issues on the broader grid, reducing the need for costly network upgrades.
Battery storage has been available for some time. What is changing is that the technology is getting better and cheaper.
Deep cycle batteries and other components were expensive and difficult to operate and maintain. The development of lithium-ion batteries was a game changer. It is cheaper, lighter and good looking. The Tesla Powerwall generated enormous interest in battery storage on a global scale. But there are other systems on the market too such as the Fronius solar battery, Enphase AC Battery and SonnenBatterie Eco.
Magellan Residential Energy Storage System the HESS
What many people may not know is that we also have Western Australian companies such as Magellan Power, leading the way in relation to energy storage. Magellan Power has supplied energy storage solutions to hospitals, substations, oil rigs, airports and mines as well as on Australian warships both in Australia and overseas since 1992. They also have solutions for the residential market. Their Magellan Hybrid Energy Storage System (HESS) converts solar energy into useable power and stores it, allowing you to benefit from solar power at night. This is combined with bi-directional energy management that recharges the battery at off-peak hours and saves substantially on electricity bills, depending on the tariff used. HESS has been specifically designed for Australian conditions. It contains everything in one unit and there is no need for additional inverters.
The price of battery storage
So what about the cost of battery storage cost? Giles Parkinson, in a recent blog post for RenewEconomy, looked at this and wrote that whether there will be large scale uptake of solar battery system may depend on when the price of battery storage will come down enough to make it an affordable and financial attractive proposition. This is assuming that the purchase of battery storage will be rational one. The post quotes a recent study by Investment banker Morgan Stanley which predicts that battery storage costs could fall 40 per cent in two years, largely as a result of an increase in scale in global manufacturing and the local industry.
Many people that were among the first to install solar PV in Australia will be coming off generous Feed-in-Tariff agreements within the next couple of years and are expected to give battery storage some serious consideration. For some of these early adopters the desirability of battery storage will be the deciding factor. But once prices are starting to come down, the financial business case will also start to stack up for more and more people. And with around 22.5% of homes in Western Australia already having solar PV, battery storage may take the world by storm.
The Property Council of Australia recently launched its 100 Women in Property sponsorship program. The National program aims to encourage established leaders, both women and men, to sponsor and mentor talented women in their organisation or business sphere. Program participants gain access to their mentor networks to enhance their own visibility in the industry and develop future career opportunities.
Chiara Pacifici, founder of Green Gurus™ and head of sustainability at Psaros is one of the mentors. She also sits on the Property Council’s Women and Diversity in Property Committee and the Sustainable Development Committee and championed the program with staff at Psaros.
Excerpt from article published in the Southern Gazette Community Newspaper on Tuesday 31 May 2016.
Living in a strata building should not limit your ability to enjoy a low carbon/ low cost, sustainable lifestyle. There is more to sustainability than solar power and savings in power bills.
At the Perth Eco Fair on Sunday 3 April, the Green Gurus™ team launched its brand new Green Apartment Living Program aimed at empowering residents to live more sustainable lifestyles; enhancing the liveability of strata buildings in Western Australia.
The Program is not only defined by environmental and financial outcomes, but also has a focus on building the social ‘fabric’ and networks between the people who reside within a strata building and stakeholders including the strata managers and caretakers of the building.
The Green Gurus™ program and engagement process, will help build social capital between these parties enabling them to achieve rapid and measurable behaviour change through motivation of specific parties, nurturing networks and fostering collaboration within the building and improve occupant understanding of their role in best performing buildings.
As Green Gurus™ team member Eugenie Stockmann suggests “We want to help create a sustainable community and make it easy, fun and social. “
The Program focuses on seven main areas: Design, Sustainable Transport, Energy, Water, Waste, Food Production and Community.
This educational program is suitable for new and existing apartment buildings, villas, townhouses and survey-strata complexes.
For new buildings that were designed and built with long-term sustainability in mind, the program will inform owners and residents about the existing sustainability features, how they work and how they can benefit from them. For older, existing apartment buildings, the Green Gurus™ team works with the owners and residents towards retrofitting the building for sustainability and inspiring sustainable lifestyles within.
To kick start the Green Gurus™ Green Apartment Living program, Psaros a Perth based apartment developer and builder leading the way in sustainable apartments have launched ‘Psaros Place’, a Green Apartment Living program exclusively for Psaros apartment residents and owners.
Apartment living offers real sustainable lifestyle options. Increasingly, apartments are built or retrofitted with sustainable features such as for example renewable energy, energy and water saving technologies. In addition, many apartments offer sustainable transport options simply by being located near transport nodes, shops and other community facilities.
Griff’s list of significant contributions is lengthy! Some of these include Inaugural Board member of the now Sustainable Energy Association, Member of the HIA Environmental Planning Committee, Member of the Commonwealth Government Committee regarding the Technical Advisory Manual for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Member of two Disability Services Commission committees just to name a few.
Griff and his Solar Dwellings staff have been recognised with numerous awards. They’ve also received much recognition for their work on notable projects such as the:
Mandurah Links Sustainable Home
Subiaco Sustainable Demonstration Home
Quattro in Queens Park Sustainable Home
The creation of two 10 star homes in Hilton with Josh Byrne, landscape architect and Gardening Australia’s WA presenter.
One of the first homes that I ever designed in Perth was a home in West Leederville where I’d advised a client on a particular house, this house was a typical double brick and tile home. Nothing different to any other home except the layout of the rooms and placement of openings to make the house more efficient.
After the conversion the client had the plans valued and the agent said he had a buyer who would pay $80,000 more for the house, which was a considerable sum back then.
She then contacted me and confirmed that the choice to design a solar passive home would indeed increase the value of the property. The design went ahead and the property was built.
As a consequence of living in her previous home she found that she had been experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) syndrome. And it just so happens that every winter she would go back to England to spend the English summer with her mother.
When she moved into her new home she found that she was happier and didn’t feel the need to go back to England. The house was so bright and warm through winter she found that she stayed in the home and her mother came out to visit her.
The sale of both properties achieved not just a financial gain but also a positive lifestyle change. Once selling she approached me again to construct four solar passive investment properties in Subiaco.
Passive solar design cuts energy use by at least 50%
Using only 30% to 50% of the energy consumed by conventional homes, a passive solar home is also far more comfortable and liveable because it stays naturally warm in winter and cool in summer.
Passive solar design doesn’t require solar panels (although these can be added to a home to reduce running costs even more) but relies on intelligent design factors such as orientation of the home, placement of windows and choice of building materials.
The main components of passive solar design are:
Siting and orientation of the home, with living areas and large windows facing north, minimal windows to the east and west, and with the long axis of the home within 15° east or west of north.
Winter warmth and summer cooling is achieved by positioning windows so the sun enters in winter but not during summer.
Natural cooling is also achieved by window placement that allows cross ventilation.
Stable internal temperatures, resulting from appropriate materials, such as brick, concrete or stone, or stone, used in the right locations. Timber floors which can absorb the sun’s warmth in winter will release it back into the home in the evening, while external shading prevents summer sun entering.
Insulation is a barrier to heat flow, and most home builders include ceiling insulation as standard. Recommendations include ceiling, under-roof and some wall insulation to retain winter warmth and exclude summer heat.
Intelligent landscaping does a lot more than simply create an attractive exterior – it can protect a home from summer heat and maximize access to winter sun.
Other measures which will create an even greener home with a smaller environmental footprint include:
Non-chemical termite prevention, so the home and family are safe
Rainwater harvesting and other water efficiency measures
Low-allergen and non-toxic building processes and products, which are important for young families and anyone with allergies
Active solar design, such as photovoltaic power generation and solar water heating
Aerobic sewerage and waterless urinals
Grey water recycling systems and other technologies.
Savings & Benefits
What will building a passive solar home mean for you? It looks good, is healthy, saves on running costs, will age with you, will be bright and airy and will feel great.
It’s so much better for the environment and the future of our planet too – and a sustainable home costs you significantly less to run.
The real question is what it will cost if you don’t?
In December 2015, the Paris Agreement brought hope to the global community setting a goal to be a net zero carbon society and pursue efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 0C.
I learnt that the real problems are natural problems; all other problems are problems that we have created. When we think of the real natural problems, Global Warming is the most well known. Looking at our social system and where the impacts that cause global warming are coming from, we quickly think of consumerism, transportation, food, our cities and infrastructure, waste and a few others. Now imagine a net zero carbon society, where we work through every aspect of our social and economic systems and quantify how we are performing on an annual basis. It’s complex, but there are many good stories happening within the construction industry, and it is getting more traction every year.
How is my building contributing to the situation?
When discussing building environmental performance with designers and builders we all want a best performing building, but the carbon performance target is not very often part of the project brief. It’s common to hear people talk about the “big picture” and reference the financial aspect as the most important but in reality there is no economy without ecology. Energy efficiency, durable materials, solar passive design to name a few, are all important design considerations and will improve building performance. But again, how good for the planet are the buildings we are designing? We can only reduce impact when we quantify potential issues throughout the whole building lifespan.
What performance are we measuring?
Before we can answer that question we have to remember what problem we are trying to solve and what our target is. To put it simply, the problem is Global Warming; a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere attributed to greenhouse effect, caused by increased level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. The target we’re aiming for is a net zero carbon society, where all annual emissions are naturally absorbed by the planet without causing any harm to its natural cycle. The specific environmental impact indicator is Global Warming Potential (GWP), and it’s measured in mass of carbon equivalent (kgCO2e).
How to truly quantify environmental performance of buildings?
The only way to quantify the true environmental impact is by looking at the whole of building life cycle performance. Life Cycle Design utilises Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to model whole of building performance, from construction through to end of life, all include use phase impacts. It also analyses functionality, and how well the project is delivering the proposed primary function. When designing a house for example, we want a dwelling that is comfortable, secure, healthy and in balance with the planet. By maximising the lifespan of a house, or the number of people it will provide shelter for, we can significantly improve the performance on a function unit basis (impact/occupant/year).
Our buildings are living organisms, and by understanding their impact on the environment and how we can design in balance with the natural life cycle, we will be able to make a more realistic plan towards the net zero carbon society we want to be part of.
The car share market has grown rapidly in recent years, both globally and in Australia. Until recently, Perth was the only Australian city without a scheme, but things are about to change. The RAC published a paper on the topic recently exploring the role car sharing can play in WA and some local councils are actively supporting car sharing through their policy framework. And it is not just talk, UWA launched the first car share scheme in WA in June and Perth based developer Psaros said it will be incorporating car sharing in it’s Perth projects.
Car sharing: why, why and how?
‘Car sharing, which originated in Europe, provides members with short-term access to motor vehicles for personal and business uses. In so doing, it provides members with the benefits of private cars without the costs and responsibilities of ownership and operation’ (RAC, 2015, p3).
The RAC published a paper recently titled “Exploring the role of car sharing in Perth”. This paper is a response to challenges such as a growing population and cost of living pressures which are affecting how we move around. Car sharing has been identified by the RAC as a real viable solution for cost of living pressures and congestion.
The RAC paper identifies a number of benefits of car sharing including reduced personal travel costs, support improved mobility, enhance viability of public transport, reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Car sharing can also have an impact on the urban form – more compact and connected.
Research shows that on average, a car is not used 96% of the time. One share car can take up to 9 private cars off the road. With an average cost of owning a car of $12,000, car sharing can provide real financial benefits.
Share car drivers take out a membership with a car share company. This provides access to their fleet of cars across the city, state and country. Users need to pre-register via mobile, ipad or computer and gain access to the car with a card or fob. Share cars can be parked in the street or in private car parks.
Amongst the success factors for a car share scheme are the specific location of the vehicles; the density of the car share network; the extent to which local governments, developers and land owners are supportive of car share; population density; and access to alternative transport for the daily work commute (RAC, 2015; Round, 2014).
Car sharing will not work everywhere and Perth definitely has had its share of false starts. ‘While there are likely to be many reasons, issues around scalability, having the right operating systems to provide seamless and attractive service, lack of political support and policy instruments, and public perception will likely have been amongst the potential stumbling blocks’ (RAC, 2015, p9)
For some time, Perth was the only city in Australia without a car share scheme.
In June 2015 the University of Western Australia launched its car share scheme; a WA first. This program provides a bank of six rental cars on-site that students and staff can use. The aim is to help make more parking spaces available for students, staff and visitors.
Multi Award winning developer Psaros has also committed to supporting car sharing and will incorporate share cars in their Perth projects. Mike Enslin (Psaros) in an interview with Channel 9 News said “A car share scheme is a big community benefit, not just to residents of the development, but also for people living in the area which is part of our ethos in terms of what we do as developers”.
To support the availability of car share bays, both the City of Fremantle and City of Vincent have a (draft) car share policy. The City of Vincent views car sharing as an alternative to private vehicle ownership and a valuable component of a sustainable transport system. They recently consulted the community on a new proposed policy which would facilitate and support the introduction and operation of car sharing within its municipal boundaries through the allocation of car shapes (on-street and in City-owned car parks), permission for car share spaces in private property, and enforcement of car share spaces. The City of Fremantle has already updated such a policy.
Demand for car sharing in Perth
In Perth, the RAC identified a number of areas with have potential for a car share scheme. The greatest potential have Belmont, Fremantle, Subiaco and Perth, followed by South Perth, Vincent, Cambridge and Victoria Park.
The RAC found that ‘there was a stronger interest in reducing the number of vehicles in their household amongst those who would be interested in joining a car sharing service’.
Figure 2 – Likelihood of using a car sharing service by postcode area (percentage). (Source: RAC, 2015, p7)
With increased density in the inner city areas, improvements in alternative transport options (particulary to work) and active support from (some) local governments and developers, the market for car sharing could be taking off in Perth. The RAC concluded that ‘the scale of the service(s), availability of vehicles and raising awareness about the true cost of vehicle ownership could help to make car sharing a more attractive proposition’ (RAC, 2015, p8).