Sunday, June 24, 2007

Carbon Cops

Carbon Cops LogoABC TV's new environment show "Carbon Cops" starts Tuesday June 26 at 8.00pm. It has a very similar format to SBS TV's "Ecohouse Challenge". Experts visit a typical family and conduct an energy and water use audit, then the family is set the task of reducing use.

These programs are useful for educating the community about enviornmental issues in an entertaining way. But they may give the wrong message: SBS's show first cut off water and power to the households and documented the suffering of the families. At the end they rewarded the families with low water and energy appliances to restore their lifestyle. But many people would not have lasted to the end of the show. The message many people would have got is that energy and water saving is not feasible, rather than seeing that only a small investment and a few changes were needed.

ps: To see how computers and the internet can save the planet, join the new ICT Environmental Sustainability Group.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Folding Bicycle in Echohouse

The first episode of SBS's Eco House Challenge TV show went reasonably well. The idea is that two families try to get along with limited water, energy, rubbish removal and no private cars.

In the first episode we are introduced to the two families and watch their worry as the water and electricity are disconnected from their homes. The families are given a kit of portable alternative energy and water gadgets to help them get along. In later episodes the houses will be provided with low energy and water saving devices to make them more livable.

One of the gadgets provided was a small folding bicycle. I am a folding bicycle enthusiast. These can be used on their own for short trips, or combined with a car or public transport. You can put the bicycle in the boot of a small car, or take it on a bus, train or aircraft. This makes it much easier to minimize car use.

The EchoHouse challenge is useful is showing how dependent we are on energy and supplied water. But those who watch the first episode my get the idea that energy saving results in a drastic drop in the comfort of life. In fact with the right investment a home can be very livable while using minim of energy and water. Hopefully that message will come through in later episodes.

See also my:

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ecohouse Challenge Update

SBS TV have released more details of their "Ecohouse Challenge". It starts Wednesdays, 7.30pm from April 11. Two families try to along with limited water, energy, rubbish removal and no private cars. There is also a viewer competition.

The idea of the show might sound trivial to committed environmentalists, but is a good way to get people interested. The prizes look suitably green: Electrolux appliances, Air-Cell insulation, Solectair Heat Transfer System, Solahart hot water systems, SunPower photoelectric solar panels and a Toyota Prius hybrid car.

Solectair Solar Ducted Heating System WITH ducted evaporative airconditioning systemThe Solectair Heat Transfer System is an interesting new Australian invention. Instead of a heater, ducts in a house are connected to fans which draw hot air from the roof cavity to warm the house in winter. This is similar in concept to the system in the new green office building in Canberra, but on a domestic scale.

See also my:

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ecohouse Challenge

Oxygenics Water-Saving ShowerheadSBS TV are advertising an "Ecohouse Challenge", to begin in April. The idea is to see how two average families got along with limited water, energy, rubbish removal and no private cars. According to The Age, as well as Eco house Challenge there will be a series from ABC TV called "Carbon Cops".

On Friday Senator Bob Brown opened a green office building in Canberra. Perhaps there will be a spin-off of the TV shows, with business executives having to shrink their ecological footprint in the office.

Canberra also had a "Eco-living Exhibition" of environmentally sensitive display homes. These make living green a lot easier, with solar panels and water recycling built in. Even CSIRO have got in on the act with a bubble shower to save water.

In 2004, there was a UK based "International student ecohouse challenge. Architectural Press and Elsevier Publishers, with Teachers in Architecture and Circle 33 Housing Group:
Architecture students with green design ideas should get ready for the 2004 Design Competition For An Ecohouse, sponsored by Architectural Press and Elsevier Publishers, with Teachers in Architecture and Circle 33 Housing Group.

The challenge is to design an environmentally friendly house, that's comfortable in both summer and winter, and able to function without relying heavily on fossil fuels. ...

From: "International student ecohouse challenge" in Upfront with Building!, 2004.
The results of the 2003 Ecohouse Design Competition are also available, as is the companion book "Ecohouse 2" by Sue Roaf (her "Ecohouse 3" is due out 30 July).

The SBS series is directed by Russell Vines and the ABC series is produced Tarni James. But as useful as the TV shows will be in educating people in an entertaining way, try living in a house in rural India, to see how the lack of clean water and reliable power can effect your life.

See also my:

Labels: , , ,