News

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MEFL thrives

This has been a year of massive changes for MEFL. We’ve taken on a raft of new projects, expanded our staff to cope with the increased workload, and transformed our office to fit everyone in! So in late July we took a couple of days out to get the whole team together, review our progress and clarify our vision for the future. The event was called “Thrive”.

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Homes and heatwaves

MEFL’s Senior Consultant Jon Morgan presented at the Ecocity World Summit 2017 recently on the topic of “Australian Houses and Heatwaves”.

Jon’s presentation focused on the increasing severity of heatwaves in Australia, the health impacts of heatwaves and how buildings can be designed to mitigate the impacts.

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VCOSS power report

The Victorian Council of Social Service has released a major report called Power Struggles: Everyday battles to stay connected.

The report highlights we must remember that real people are at the centre of our nation’s energy price crisis. It is based on face-to-face interviews with ten people experiencing ‘energy poverty’, and details the heartbreaking sacrifices Australians on low-incomes are making to stay connected to the electricity grid.

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Team profile: EnergySmart

MEFL’s newest and largest project EnergySmart is in full swing. This research program will examine 1,500 homes and look into effective ways of reducing energy bills. It will also improve comfort levels for public housing tenants. The project is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Eligible tenants are identified by DHHS, then one of the EnergySmart team visits the home and helps identify the most appropriate upgrade for the property. The upgrades focus on:

  • Reverse cycle heating and cooling
  • Heat pump hot water system upgrades
  • Thermal shell upgrades (primarily insulation and draught proofing).

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Our Energy Future launch

Residents of ten council regions in southern Sydney are now set to receive free energy help and advice from the Positive Charge experts. The Sydney program, known as Our Energy Future, is a collaboration between Positive Charge and SSROC (Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils).

Launch

Our Energy Future was launched in Sydney last month and was a great success – there was a buzz of excitement in the air about the new program. The evening was hosted by the fantastic Ben Peacock, founder of The Republic of Everyone and there were great speeches from MEFL’s own Alison Rowe, SSROCs General Manager Namoi Dougall and the ever-inspiring Professor Lesley Hughes from the Climate Council.

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Sustainable Moreland Community Ideas Exchange

There are lots of active community groups in the City of Moreland, and they have lots of good ideas to share around. That’s what we found out when Moreland Zero Carbon Evolution held its annual Community Ideas Exchange in early July.

The Exchange was attended by representatives from 20 local groups, covering issues from cycling to food gardens, urban forests, community solar, recycling, local microgrids, climate change activism, social justice and childcare. A full list of the groups represented is below.

Discussion centred on 5 main topics that were identified as priorities:

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Staff profile – Sarah Marcius

EnergySmart Coordinator

I am coordinating the newly developed EnergySmart research project at MEFL, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. The project researches ways to reduce energy bills and improve tenant comfort by installing energy efficient appliances and completing building upgrades in Victoria Public Housing facilities. The project involves upgrading 1,500 low rise public housing facilities by making one of three changes:

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