When discussing environmental concerns, many homeowners tend to steer clear of personal accountability issues. A healthier environment is usually chalked up to be the responsibility of major economic agents, such as factories, multinational companies, and the like. However, three innovations in Australia prove that anyone can contribute to a greener planet – and this even without going through too much effort. Read on to find out what these new and improved solutions are.
1. The Eco-friendly Building App
A building company in Western Sydney has recently released an app for mobile devices that aims to help solve a rather frequently encountered issue in the building industry. Whether building for commercial reasons or for residential purposes, it often happens that the builders gets stuck with a certain amount of undesired building materials. Not only are they difficult to dispose of, but they are also potentially damaging for the environment. This is where this mobile-ready, newly launched online marketplace steps in. It creates an open venue for trades people, DIY home improvers, and professional renovators to get rid of the building materials they no longer need.
Instead of having to pay for a removal service to dispose of these materials, which end up in landfills across the area, they can now trade them, avoid the $400 removal fee, and allow these materials to be used by others, who might actually need them. The app was first launched in October 2012. Over the past year, its membership numbers have increased by a whopping 300 per cent, while traffic to the website has also improved dramatically, by a 670 per cent margin. It is now also supported by some of the biggest companies in the real estate and construction industries, a bank, several local authorities, as well as by the Housing Industry Association of Australia.
2. No more Grid Powered Tumble Dryers
If you own a tumble dryer, you are among the many who prefer to have their clothes dried quickly, yet at the expense of the environment. You are leaving a carbon footprint and using up an important energy resource, when you could simply be using energy-efficient ceiling airers to dry your clothes, or hang them outside to dry in the sun.
Recent statistics from the United Kingdom, where 60 per cent of all households own and use a tumble dryer, indicate that the average drier consumes some 4KWh in electric energy. The CO2 volume produced is massive: 1.8 kg per dryer. The alternative, an airer or traditional clothes line, would significantly improve the situation, and help reduce CO2 emissions in Great Britain by over one million tons each year.
3. The Zero-emissions Home
In many parts of the world it would be inconceivable to want to live at the heart of a bustling city, yet produce no carbon emissions whatsoever. In Melbourne, however, this has become a reality, thanks to the recently launched 5 x 4 Hayes Lane project. The construction project takes its name from the surface of the footprint needed to build a zero emissions home, as well as from a laneway that has been insufficiently used for residential purposes thus far.
The goal is to create a self-sustainable community of homes, which use no fossil gas, is insulated for thermal efficiency, and also features an electric heat pump for heating. In brief, the high-rise home will be entirely powered by renewable resources and powered with roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels. The project has drawn the attention of media and city councils from around the globe and it has also accrued the support of many companies, both in construction and development, as well as in various energy-related fields of industry.