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


How can watching the sun save energy?

During summer you need to minimise the heat entering the house. A typical aluminium sliding door exposed to the sun, can be equivalent to running a fan forced convection heater. So keep your eye on the sun and make sure your windows are shaded.

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Does the cost of energy reflect the true cost to society?

First of all, before I talk about energy costs, congratulations to Tim Flannery for being named Australian of the Year for his work on building a sustainable future. His book The Weather Makers (which I strongly recommend) was reviewed in CoolComfort Tips no 13.

Turning now to Energy costs: Electricity from coal or gas, costs money to :

However when it is burnt, the coal or gas produces various pollutants, including Greenhouse Gases. However these pollutants require us to: When we pay for the electricity, we don't pay for the last two items.

This means heavy users of electricity are being subsidised by the rest of us. This is the major justification of some form of carbon tax. A carbon tax (also referred to as carbon credits, carbon trading, carbon dollars etc) would in principle work as follows:

In fact this encourages those companies who can easily reduce their pollution to do so quickly, so they can sell their pollution credits (or so they don't need to buy any in the first place). A similar scheme was developed in the USA to deal with sulphur dioxide pollution. This scheme reduced the cost of reducing emissions significantly below the cost of providing a uniform limit on pollution. This is because those companies that could easily reduce their pollution, were encouraged to reduce their pollution significantly more than they would otherwise have done.

The big advantage of such a scheme for greenhouse gases, is that people who can create carbon sinks (for example by re-afforestation), can sell the right to pollute, giving them an income stream while the forest is growing. This means that those who pollute end up paying those who are doing something about the problem. The system also favours renewable sources like solar and wind as they don't need to buy any carbon credits in order to produce electricity.

Although there are issues to be resolved about how to implement such a scheme, I feel that it has the potential to fund the massive changes needed with a minimal impact on our standard of living, and without causing sudden disruptions. The last point is important, because if such a scheme is introduced, and then gradually strengthened, we will minimise the number of plant closures.

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Let your lifestyle fit the weather.

One aspect of our instant gratification society is the tendency to do something when we think of it and not when it would be best to do. For example if we decide we are going to invite people over for a party, we tend to decide at the time of the invitation whether it is going to be indoors or outdoors. This leads us to have outdoor parties during the day when it is forty degrees or at night when it is 12 degrees. Why not make a final decision as to where the party will be the day before in light of the forecast. This means you won't be tempted to heat a patio with an inefficient outdoor heater, and you won't boil on the hot afternoon.

other suggestions are:

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