Published on September 28th, 2017
What’s new in green technology?When we think of green technology for houses, the first thing to come to mind is likely to be solar panels. Advances in green technology, however, mean that you’re not restricted to solar if you want to reduce your running costs and help out the environment. Green technologies for residential buildings are expanding all the time. Here’s our look at a few of the best options – and best of all, most of them can be retro fitted so you don’t need to be building from scratch to take advantage of them.
There’s a reason this one is forefront of mind for most of us: perhaps not surprisingly for a sunburnt country, Australia has more than 1.64 million small-scale solar systems, which produce 2.8% of the country’s total electricity.
Advances in solar technology aren’t just lowering the costs of installation, they’re providing ways to make the most of the system you have. Most systems require you to use your appliances during the day, when the sun is shining, in order to extract maximum value. However, battery storage is becoming increasingly affordable for home owners, meaning that you can store up sun when it’s shining and use the power at night or on a cloudy day.
Smart systems, too, are helping to maximise usage. Intelligent power monitoring looks at the weather forecast and your household usage to draw power from either the panels or the battery.
If you can’t afford a solar system just yet, consider a solar water heater as a way of entering the market.
Australia has an abundance of wind energy, and domestic wind turbines can be a clever way of harnessing some of it for your home. Coastal locations and rural land are ideal for wind turbines, because they get an uninterrupted flow. If your house is in an urban area, this one might not be for you. Systems can be connected to the grid or independent, and like solar energy you can extend your usage via battery storage.
There are a range of smarter appliances on the market, so when you upgrade your current technology you’ll see the benefits. Just buying the latest whitewoods can make a difference, as newer products have higher star ratings for energy and water usage, but why not go beyond the traditional and see what can be possible?
Smart Power Strips
When we leave appliances plugged in at the wall, they continue to use power even when idle. Smart power strips will cut those all off with one switch. Simple!
See how much you’re really using with a smart meter. These devices will track energy use per outlet over the day and connect with home internet networks, so you can see exactly which appliances are using the juice and take steps to cut down usage. They’ve been mandatory in Victoria for some time and are slated to roll out for new homes across the country in coming years.
A smart thermostat allows you to regulate the temperature of your home over WiFi, often using sensors. They can tell when there’s someone home and adjust the temperature accordingly so that you’re not wasting energy on an empty house. Whilst most systems aren’t yet available in Australia, the 2017 Sydney Home Show rolled out a MyAir system which allows family members to set different temperatures in different rooms and uses motion sensors to adjust when you’re not there.
Green technologies for the home have been experiencing strong growth for some time now, so if you can’t afford one of these innovations yet, don’t panic. There’ll be something along to fit your budget and ambition soon enough.