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International student project

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Meet our team of international students! They are from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, USA, and are working with us on a research project into the all-electric home.  They have completed background research about several aspects of making the transition, collected homeowner input, and created materials to help Positive Charge assist homeowners in taking action and making the transition.  There is more information about the project on the Posivite Charge website.

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Holding on to power

batteryIn past issues we have looked at various battery storage technologies. Recently we have received some questions about the broader topic of battery storage as it affects householders. In this article, we explore the concept of battery storage and the key considerations householders and businesses need to make when deciding on its suitability and type.

Currently, many Australian households pay 20-30 cents per kWh (note: kWh is a unit of energy) of electricity, and receive 5-7 cents per kWh, both depending on their retailer. Some early adopters of solar systems may still be receiving the ‘premium’ 60 cents per kWh Feed in Tariff rate for excess renewable energy exported to the grid.

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Introducing… Michael Iudica

michael-iudicaAs Director of Finance I supervise the reporting of accurate financial information for MEFL management and Board, ensuring that MEFL is financially viable and able to deliver our core activities.

I also assist all business units to achieve their specific financial goals, and ensure that incoming and outgoing payments are correct and timely.

I am a FCPA qualified accountant with extensive business experience having previously worked in the membership and legal industry as well as in the fashion industry.

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Community Energy Guide

cty-energy-guide-200The Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) released the Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorians in 2015. MEFL contributed to the Guide’s development, along with Embark, Community Power Agency and the Alternative Technology Association.

Developed specifically for the Victorian context, the work was funded by the Victorian Government. It is both a resource for community groups that are considering a renewable energy project and those that are already in the process of establishing a project. The Guide consolidates existing knowledge and resources and provides links to further information and advice. It provides practical pointers on critical commercial, technical, governance and regulatory aspects of renewable energy projects, including a wealth of useful information on identifying an appropriate business model, selecting the most suitable technology and managing a project.

Download

Download the Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorians.

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Positive Charge – Banksia Awards finalist

We were delighted that Positive Charge was selected as a Finalist for the 2016 Banksia Awards in the Sustainable and Resilient Communities category.

The winners were announced on 30 November and we congratulate the winner; Manymak Energy Efficiency Project.

Manymak was an energy efficiency project that ran for 2 years in six communities in East Arnhem Land.

Positive Charge

banksia-awardsPositive Charge is the only organisation of its kind offering trustworthy advice, coupled with the confidence to connect people with carefully selected suppliers and installers of energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services. We only work with suppliers after conducting a thorough procurement process, so that we can be confident that we are offering high quality products and services, at a great price from a company we can trust.

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Time for coffee?

Many cafes leave their coffee machines on overnight so they are ready to go first thing in the morning.  This means they’re able to deliver that vital burst of early morning energy to customers, but it also wastes lots of electricity.

We thought there must be a smarter way to morning coffee so (with support from Moreland City Council) we undertook a trial to explore the potential energy and cost savings of coffee machine timers. We installed timers to six coffee machines along Lygon Street.

The process was simple and quick. Our qualified electrician installed most timers in 15 minutes. Cafe staff were shown how to adjust the timer and after that, it was back to business as usual.

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TAKE2

take2“An active, inspired community tackling climate change with sustainable energy solutions.” That’s MEFL’s vision. We aim to lead the climate change and energy agenda in Moreland and beyond, by working with our community, partners and stakeholders to achieve it. Just recently, we took another step in this direction. MEFL has joined with more than 180 other Victorian organisations, companies and local governments to become a founding member of TAKE2.

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Cooling Communities

Living in urban areas, we are often surrounded by dark-coloured, hard surfaces, lots of thermal mass in the form of buildings, and little in the way of vegetation or bodies of water that might provide shade and evaporative cooling. These factors work together to create the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), and it means hot days are often hotter for longer in cities. As a way to tackle the issue of UHIE, MEFL in a partnership with Moreland City Council has created a new project named Cooling Communities. This project is funded through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and will work in areas of social housing in Moreland.

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Council-led Energy Innovation Project

Centroc is a voluntary regional collaboration of 15 councils in central NSW. It facilitates co-operation and advocacy on behalf of its member councils. It’s a long way from Brunswick, but when the Centroc councils decided they wanted to boost renewable energy in their region, they came to MEFL for advice.

MEFL has been working with the CENTROC group of councils to develop a process to scope renewable energy projects. We assisted in the preliminary development of a proposal for a local renewable energy project with potential funding partners.

The project was founded on MEFL’s strong understanding of renewable energy opportunities, the energy market, current and future technology impacts, governance arrangements, council funding processes and knowledge of the ancillary social and economic benefits that can be derived from locally based renewable energy projects.

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From little things…

dollhouse-renovationsA Moreland house has been getting an eco-makeover in the MEFL office. It’s not quite the usual house, as this one is only 40cm high!  The teeny tiny eco-house will be used as a ‘demonstration home’ on tour around the Moreland community with the Zero Carbon Evolution team. It showcases many of the actions households can take to reduce their energy use, save money and make their homes more comfortable – especially from extreme weather.

The project was born when one of our staff offered an unused doll’s house. Through the work of three volunteers and a bit of creative license, we’ve been renovating the house to include features from carpet, curtains, shading and door snakes to solar panels, LED lights and insulation. There’s even easy to apply double glazing, a green roof and an electric car! Keep a look out for it at festivals and events across Moreland this spring and summer!