Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fly Carbon Neutral

If you've been getting on Coronation Drive recently you may have seen this billboard, promoting Virgin Blue's "Fly Carbon Neutral" intitiative.

Using the slogan "come clean - go green", the initiative allows customers to pay an additional amount, which will be used to reduce carbon emissions by an amount equivalent one customer's share of the emissions from the flight.

For instance, if a particular flight produces 400 tonnes of greenhouse gases and carries 200 people, then each person is responsible for 2 tonnes of gases. The addditional contribution would fund a 2-tonne reduction is emissions through other means - effectively making the flight carbon neutral.

Virgin Blue are not the only company to have this option. But if you're flying, why not take them (or your airline) up on it. If your airline or travel agent doesn't offer such option, suggest that they should - then go do business with someone who does.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Green Power

Greenpower, greenpower, greenpower. We've all heard about it. So what is it, and how does it work?

The electricity we get comes from a number of sources - mainly coal. Why? Basically because it's cheap. But renewable energy is only slightly more expensive (and getting cheaper). So if we are willing to part with an extra 3 cents for each kilowatt hour we use, then the energy companies are more than happy to source that power from renewable sources.

So how do we do it? If your electricity provider is Origin, then it's as simply as calling 1300 308 624 to join Earthschoice. Have your latest bill handy so you can quote your customer number. Your bill will also tell you how much power you use. Often people choose to get that amount of renewable energy (to cancel out their greenhouses gases) but it's your choice how much renewable energy you get.

It won't cost the earth - but it will help save it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Increased Cost - Good News

It was recently announced that the price of electricity in Queensland will increase by 10% from July 1. In the ACT, the increase will be 14%. In both cases, the cause of the increase was put down to the drought.

Furthermore, today a CSIRO forecast predicts increased energy phone bills - as the effects of climate change worsen.

While all of this may appear to be bad news, there is a silver lining. It was also recently announced that federal government rebate for installing solar panels at home has doubled to a maximum refund of 8000 dollars.

So with solar panels as cheap as they've ever been, and the price of electricity increasing, it would seem there has never been a better time to install solar panels - and sell the power back to the electricity company at the increased price.

For more info, see Origin Energy's solar information

Friday, May 04, 2007

Power Up

Yet another great report by the Catalyst team. This weeks story explored how individual households can generate power and feed it back into the electricity grid (at a profit).

Sadly, there is no online video, but there is a transcript of the episode on the Catalyst website.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in doing this yourself, it is relatively simple. My energy provider (Origin) has a Solar Energy section of their website which is quite helpful. They can even set it up for you.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Eco-Office Block

ABC's Catalyst programme is quickly becoming one of my very favourite shows on television. Recently, they did a report on "CH2" - the nickname for one of Melbourne's most advanced buildings.

Compared to the average office block, it uses 15% as much energy, and 30% as much water - just by using clever design. You can watch the video at the Catalyst website.