CoolComfort Tips
Practical ideas so you can reduce energy use in heating and cooling

Hi [[firstname]],
Welcome to this edition of 'CoolComfort Tips'.

A short newsletter giving practical advice on minimising your energy for heating and cooling focusing on low cost easily implemented ideas.

If buying a refrigerative air conditioner don't forget to check the size required by using a SureCool Air Conditioner Selector

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Help my air conditioner isn't working!

At this time of year, you can count on a long wait for a service technician (at the end of a heat wave you may have to wait weeks. So if your air conditioner doesn't seem to be working, it is worth doing a few simple checks first before panicking.

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Is the final Productivity Commission Inquiry Report an improvement over the draft?

You may recall my disappointment on the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the 'Private Cost Effectiveness of Improving Energy Efficiency' draft report (in CoolComfort tips 7). The good news is that the final report is an improvement, the bad news it suffers from the restrictive terms of reference given to the commission.

One of the most notable changes is a revamp of the overview (in response to one of my submissions) so that the overview more clearly reflects the contents of the report.

The report still takes a negative view on building energy efficiency standards. The current performance based standards (specifying a star rating that must be achieved) are in their infancy. It is not surprising that there are some rough edges that need addressing, however I think the evidence is strong that they can be made to work. In addition I think that the commission's claim that compliance costs are high, will prove to be erroneous once builders change their designs so they are inherently energy efficient due to good orientation, rather than relying on expensive features like double glazing. The fact that builders are now having to think about which way windows should face, means they are being forced to do their job properly!

The biggest problem remaining with the report however, is due to the terms of reference. The Commission was asked to look into the 'private cost effectiveness' of energy efficiency. This means consideration of public good is excluded and means that no attempt has been made to determine the likely costs and benefits of spending slightly more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions further.

The federal government has clearly taken a do next to nothing approach on greenhouse gasses. Other clear indications of this are in not ratifying Kyoto and in not supporting the introduction of emissions trading. Emmissioins trading effectively causes large greenhouse gas producers to pay, and provides funds for people reducing greenhouse gas production. Fortunately the States generally take the opposite view with NSW, VIC and SA very actively pushing for a State based emission trading scheme.

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Keep those windows shaded!

At this time of year the easiest big change you can have on your home energy use (and comfort) is to keep your windows shaded when they are exposed to the sun. Greenhouse gases are called greenhouse gases because they behave like the glass in a greenhouse, letting heat in to heat up your building (or the earth), and trapping it inside because glass and greenhouse gases stop the radiation from the warm objects inside getting to the outside.

The most important windows to shade are western ones, as the heat comes in during the afternoon which is the hottest time of day. Eastern windows should also be shaded. Northern windows with an appropriate overhang, should get very little summer sun, but let in lots of winter sun. Generally it is not necessary to shade southern windows (in the Southern Hemisphere).

The best shading is located outside, for example external blinds. Shading inside is not as effective, (although still better than none.

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Have a safe and happy holiday season, and use the time to make an improvement to your home!

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