Thursday, April 29, 2010

Queens University Live Building

The Queen's University, Faculty of Applied Science has set up a "Live Building". The mechanical, electrical and structural systems in their Integrated Learning Centre are monitored in real-time, as are many modern buildings, but in this case the information is provided live on the university web site.

As an example, it is possible to monitor if the lights are on, or off, in the rooms of the building. Also there is a real time display of the air conditioning plant. and display of electrical power use of buildings on the campus. However, the displays seemed to have been designed to impress, rather than inform. It would be good to have some simple tables of numbers and charts, rather than animations.

Curiously the campus solar array is offline awaiting the completion of paperwork with the power company.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green ICT Strategies Course for North America

Athabasca University (Canada) is now offering the course "Green ICT Strategies COMP 635". This is based on my Green Technology Strategies syllabus, adapted for North America.

Brian Stewart, Chief Information Officer, Athabasca University undertook the ANU e-learning version of my course "Green Information Technology Strategies COMP7310". He must have enjoyed it, as he then asked if it was okay for them to adapt it for Canada, which I was delighted to agree to:

Computer Science (COMP) 635
Green ICT Strategies

Method of Delivery:Grouped Study Online
Credits:3 - IS Elective
Centre:School of Computing and Information Systems
Instructor: Richard Huntrods and Brian Stewart


This course will approach green ICT strategies from a professional perspective, providing instruction on how best to apply green ICT strategies in the working environment. COMP 635 takes an information literacy approach by using open resources to facilitate the development of a professional body of knowledge. This removes the need for a textbook and allows the student to build his or her knowledge on continually available sources.

Green ICT (Green IT or Green Computing) is the study and practice of using computers and telecommunications in a way that maximizes positive environmental benefit and minimizes the negative impact. The energy efficiency of operating equipment is a major concern of Green ICT. The embodied energy and lifecycle of the materials used in the design, manufacture, reuse, and recycling of equipment and components are also concerns. Green ICT seeks to inform accepted management practices to achieve efficient and effective business interaction.

The course covers topics such as networking and distributed systems. It builds on themes such as standards and open systems, and uses tools such as Integrated Development Environments. It provides historical and hardware/software/mathematics foundations for the subject, and develops research and report-writing skills to prepare a project report.

Green ICT strategies is an emerging discipline. This course is drawn from practices being developed in the public and private sectors both in Canada and internationally. It introduces implementation methodologies and assessment tools that are currently being tested in the field.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student should be able to

  • understand the role of ICTs as they impcact the global carbon footprint
  • estimate the carbon footprint of the ICT operations of an organization,
  • assess ways to reduce the carbon footprint of an organization, by changes to polices for procurement of ICT, changes to the ICT operations and revising business processes.


The course consists of four major topics (modules). Each module has three sub-topics, (one sub-topic per week), and a week at the end of the course is reserved for review.

  1. Module 1: Politics, Science and Business of Sustainability
    • Introduction to Green ICT Strategies
    • The Global ICT Footprint
    • Enabling ICT: Dematerialization, Smart Motor Systems, Logistics, Buildings and Grids
  2. Module 2: Technical Strategy and Planning–Emerging Technology Monitoring
    • Energy Saving: Data Centres and Client Equipment
    • Materials Use
    • Methods and Tools
  3. Module 3: Business/IS Strategy and Planning
    • Business Process Improvement
    • Improving Data Centre Energy Efficiency
    • Enterprise Architecture
  4. Module 4: Procurement & Management Support
    • Procurement
    • Energy Star Program and Quality Management
    • Compliance Audit


To pass this course, students must achieve an average grade of at least 65% on each assignment.

To receive credit towards the Master of Science in IS, for Electives/Career track, students must achieve a course composite grade of at least C+ (67%). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 (TME1)
Assignment 2 (TME2)
Discussion participation/contribution

Course Materials: Online

COMP 635 is delivered through Athabasca University's learning management system (LMS), Moodle. All course activities and resources will be available through the course website. Course materials include discussion forums, learning materials, and assignments. Assignments will be submitted online. Readings are all accessed online through links from the site (there is no printed textbook).

Open Access

All learning materials for this course are freely available and have no copyright restrictions to access. This allows the course to be made available without restriction to anyone interested in studying the subject. In addition, all materials are accessible over the Internet and can be read onscreen.

Course Designer

Comp 635was originally written and developed by Tom Worthington, an independent ICT consultant and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University. Tom teaches website design, e-commerce, and professional ethics. He also has an interest in environmental design, and is the founding chair of the ACS Green ICT Group. In 1999, Tom was elected a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society for his contribution to the development of public Internet policy. He is a past president, Fellow, and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Computer Society, a voting member of the Association for Computing Machinery, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This course has been adapted under a Creative Commons license to reflect more Canadian content for delivery through Athabasca University....

From: Green ICT Strategies COMP 635, 03/31/2010

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Friday, March 05, 2010

$20,000 for Student Green ICT Idea

The Telecommunications Society of Australia has announced the completion for the fourth annual Eckermann-TJA Prize. I will be encouraging my Green ICT Students, to enter the competition. This year the competition is for the best paper by university students on sustainable ICT. The top students get $5,000 and their university $10,000.

... Entries will be judged on the extent to which they demonstrate the tangible benefits that an innovative use of broadband communications technology can deliver in supporting a sustainable environment. For the purposes of the competition, broadband is defined as providing an always-on, low-latency network connection supporting data speeds in excess of 250 kbps over fixed or wireless networks. ...
Last years winner was Chris Goodman for "Bunjil - A Social Network for Proactive Monitoring of Tropical Rainforests":
A tool is proposed to help protect tropical rainforests through early detection of deforestation. The solution automates delivery of the latest satellite images into a collaborative geographic social network. This connects local conservation groups in remote tropical regions with a network of volunteers who share the timely analysis of satellite images. Volunteers are prompted to review the latest images of an area from various sources and mark-up any recent changes observed, such as new roads or clearings. The solution captures the coordinates and sends concise reports to the local group to respond to the observed threats. ...

From: Goodman, Chris. 'Bunjil – A social network for proactive monitoring of tropical rainforests'. Telecommunications Journal of Australia. 2010.; Monash University ePress: Victoria, Australia. : 4.1–4.16. DOI:10.2104/tja10004

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

More than power efficiency for Green Data Centres

Mr Simarjit Chhabra, Chief Information Officer, Xtralis (and Green CIO award winner) pointed out at Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010 on Friday that "Green" is about more than just energy efficiency. He concentrated on the US Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. This takes into account the use of materials as well as energy. It also considers the way the building is used.

Mr Simarjit Chhabra used the example of his own Xtralis building. The building has only one cabling system for both voice and data. Also the servers have been virtualised (with auto fail-over). Desktop equipment was standardised with environmental guidelines, including recyclability of the equipment. Equipment was leased, rather than purchased, with the lease company required to dispose of the equipment responsibly. Networked double sided printers were installed. As well as environmental benefits this resulted in financial savings and IT staff reduction.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Metrics for Australian Data Centres

The first talk I attended at Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010 was William Ehmcke and Graeme Philipson from Connection Research (to be renamed "envirAbility") explained they have a contract with the Environment Department to produce data centre metrics for Australia (for release later in the year). With all of this it may be time for an update to my book "Green Technology Strategies" and the e-learning courses for Open Universities Australia, Australian Computer Society, and the Australian National University.

Graeme argues that the deficiencies of current metrics, such as Power Usage eEfectiveness (PUE) and Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE) are overstated. Current measures of efficiency are limited to the efficiency of the data centre to deliver power to the IT equipment. The idea is to measure how much energy wasted on cooling and the like. Not all the energy delivered to the IT equipment is usefully employed, but measuring how much does useful work, is difficult.

Ideally there would be a measure of Data Centre Energy Productivity (DCeP). This would be the ratio of "useful work" to energy input to the data centre. However, measuring what is "useful work" is not simple. Efficiency could vary depending on what computer equipment is installed, what software is used and how busy the system is. Because of the difficulty of measuring "useful work", industry groups typically set an arbitrary figure of 5% (that is 95% of the energy is wasted in a computer).

US EPA are to issue PUE based metric next month for energy efficiency. As EPA measures are commonly used, this new measure is likely to be widely adopted. This will be a 1 to 100 scale. It should be noted the PUE measures the efficiency of the data centre equipment, not the computers in it.

They mentioned that CompTia sustainability practices examination to be released in the next month, which includes their framework. However, CompTia were previously planing to have this out in December 2009.

The Green IT Promotion Council (GiPC) of Japan (グリーンIT推進協議会), have developed a draft Datacentre Performance Per Energy (DPPE) measure. Unfortunately the material has not yet been translated to English. I was able to use a machine translation to find:

DPPE is a combination of the following four elements ...
  • DUE (Data Center Use Efficiency): Effective Use 電力効率 Power Efficiency
  • ITPE (IT Performance per Energy): processing of
    能を電力で割った値 Divided by the power capacity
  • D C i E (Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency) の逆数でエネルギー効率指標 PUE energy efficiency indicators in the inverse
  • GPE (Green Power Efficiency): Natural Energy Utilization
From: Green Data Centre Trends, KIIS Quarterly, Volume 6-1, December 2009 (データセンターのグリーン化の動向 )
Australia has the NABERS environmental rating for office buildings. There will be mandatory disclosure of this rating for building sales and eases for larger buildings from July 2010. Because data centres consume so much energy they were distorting the building ratings. The example was given of the ABS Building in Canberra (one I know well) which had difficulty with its energy rating due to the large data centre.So Envirbility are developing a NABERS rating for Data Centres for the Environment Department. This is due to be completed in four months time. There is no mandatory disclosure for data centre efficiency currently scheduled. One interesting comment was that because these data centres are within general purpose buildings, there is less variation in efficiencies depending on location, than for dedicated centres.

Envirbility argue that PUE is a reasonable measure. Others such as Compute Units Per Second (CUPS) from Emerson, places emphasis on the processors, not other equipment. It should be noted these measures would be useful for comparing similar equipment and applications only.

There were interesting questions about how holistic measures should be. As an example, there are power losses between a remote power station and a data centre. If this is not included it will penalise co-generation plants, which do not have as high transmission losses.

As an applications software person, I find these measures of efficiency less than encompassing. There seems to be little point in saving a few percent on power efficiency if this is used to power a web server which is delivering documents which are so poorly designed they are wasting 99% of the capacity.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Data Centre GreenTech

Greetings from Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010. I will be speaking on "Training Green Technologists" at 12:20am. Arriving a little late for the opening, I had a quick tour of the exhibition hall, which only has six exhibitors: Stulz Australia (cooling), SGI (Cluster computers), Micromation (UPSs), National Fire Solutions (Fire control) and Chloride (UPSs). I am yet to entirely understand the program for the conference, with the part of the program I am in (below) appearing to be just one stream. There are about 300 deligates in three rooms.
9:00 The Conference Chairman Opening Speech
Mr Spencer Denyer, Editor-In-Chief – APAC Media, Strategic Facilities Magazine
9:20 Energy Conscious Scheduling and CPU Utilisation
Global warming and climate change trends call for urgent action to manage information and communication technologies in a sustainable manner by minimizing energy consumption and utilizing resources more efficiently.

Professor Albert Y. Zomaya
Chair Professor of High Performance Computing & Networking
Director, Centre for Distributed & High Performance Computing
School of Information Technologies, The University of Sydney

10:00 Data Centre Energy & Efficiency Metrics - State of Play in Australia and Beyond
As the push for a more greener data centre and compute environment continues to grow further momentum, fuelled by the past global financial events and cost to business, we are seeing a heightened awareness and discussion around effective metrics.

Mr William Ehmcke, CEO, Connection Research
Mr Graeme Philipson, Research Director, Connection Research

10:40 Analysis of Free Cooling Methodologies for Australia
With a move towards IT operators accepting relaxed operating design conditions suitable for their particular application and site, the potential for Mechanical Services and associated Electrical Services energy saving gains is being realised in both new and existing data centres.

This presentation looks at the several methods of data centre “free cooling”, explores their advantages and disadvantages and provides a guide to the likely energy savings for some typical world wide locations compared to conventional computer room air conditioning (CRAC) and chilled water (CHW) plant systems.

Mr Peter Koulos, Associate Director, Norman Disney & Young

11.20 Morning Coffee Break

11:40 Do You Have The Will?
A small change can make a difference and a positive impact on the environment. A case study presented by Simarjit Chhabra, CIO, Xtralis on how he made changes at Xtralis which revolutionized his organization globally and helped it to leap frog ahead of its competitors.

He highlights the fact anyone can make a difference and all you need is a Will!

Mr Simarjit Chhabra, Chief Information Officer, Xtralis

12:20 Training Green Technologists
The data centre industry needs professionals trained in sustainability, quickly and cost effectively. In the current financial situation organisations can't afford to have their data centre managers, CIOs or engineers off-line for conventional training courses. The designer of the world's first globally accredited green ICT course talks about low cost mentored and collaborative techniques can be used for teaching professionals in the workplace, via the Internet, using smart phones, Apple iPads and other energy efficient technology.

Mr Tom Worthington, ACS Green Technology Course Designer, ACS

13.00 - 14.00 Networking Lunch Break

14:00 Making Your DC Sustainable
Through this insightful presentation, Glenn will take you through what operational changes you can make to take your baby Dinosaur (or Data Centre) through the Ice Age!

• How big is the DC footprint.
• Why did this happen?
• How do we adapt?
• When these dominoes fall what else changes!

Mr Glenn Allan, IS&S Infrastructure Transformation, Infrastructure Transformation Manager Data Centre / Green IT, National Australia Bank

14:40 Energy Efficiency Guidelines For Data Centres
This presentation will overview the specially developed ‘ResourceSmart Best Practice Guide’ for data centre and IT facilities developed in conjunction with Sustainability Victoria. The guide provides step-by-step directions to improving energy efficiency in small to medium sized data centres and information technology (IT) server facilities, up to 100m2. It provides basic information on system operation and outlines opportunities for improving system performance and efficiency, delivering cost savings to business and reducing carbon emissions, Through this presentation, delegates will be able to understand the key components of the guide and gain important knowledge to take back to the workplace and aide in crucial decision making around future efficiency measures.

Mr Daniel Hallett, Mechanical Engineer, ARUP

15.20 - 15.40 Afternoon Coffee Break

15:40 Cloud DR - An Optimized Approach to Workload Mobility,
Availability and Real-time Backup
Virtualization and Cloud computing is changing the mind-set of organizations, and is rapidly shaping a modern definition of High Availability and Disaster Recovery in a Multi-Subscribed Resources on demand model. Disaster Recovery vendors have allowed for new methods for protection and recovery of critical workloads, however we’re still faced with challenges of remote availability, platform dependency, efficient balancing of physical resources, mobility of workloads and operational recoverability. In his session, " Cloud DR - An Optimized Approach to Workload Mobility, Availability and Real-time backup ", Babkov will address the technical considerations for providing high availability and disaster recovery of both physical and virtual servers using traditional protection solutions as well as newer solutions that combine aspects of real-time data replication and full-server recovery. He will also cover options for x2x migration of workloads internally or externally of the cloud

Mr Viktor Babkov, founding Director, Business Continuity Asia Pacific

16:20 The Head Table Moderated Q & A Panel Discussion Data Centre Efficiencies - Infrastructure & Compute

Mr Peter Koulos – Norman Disney Young
Mr Danny Davis - CIO Institute

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Green ICT Job at ANU

The Australian National University is advertising for a Green ICT Project Officer. ANU Green previously arranged projects for my Green Information Technology Strategies students to do. So the content of that course will give some idea of what the job involves.

Green ICT Project Officer

  • Facilities and Services
  • Fixed Term of 14 Months

We are seeking a qualified, highly organised person with excellent communication and problem solving skills to undertake research to investigate the current size and makeup of the Universitys computer fleet. The project will identify ways to reduce the carbon footprint of ICT and work towards the installation of energy efficient technology that reduce ITs environmental impact.

The project is funded for fourteen months and will have specific milestones to be achieved through the life of the project. The appointee will be required to provide progress reports to the Associate Director, F&S and the Director DOI.

The position will also establish and maintain a public website to inform the ANU community of the progress of the Green ICT Project.

Contact: Bart Meehan T: 02 6125 4148 E:

To be eligible to apply for this position you must have an appropriate Australian or New Zealand work visa.

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Lack of transparency impeding government data centre consolidation

In response to my request for input on "Training Green Technologists" Bernard Robertson-Dunn commented that "A more advanced, comprehensive and effective approach is contained in the whole of government data centre strategy that was presented to government at the end of last year." This appears to be a reference to the strategy for the Australian (Federal) Government, developed in response to the Gershon Report.

As a result I have added an extra slide to my presentation:

Good Business is Green
  • ... economies of scale through consolidation of small data centres to a shared facility ...
  • ... consolidation to shared infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networks ...
From: Data Centres Policy, Queensland Department of Public Works, December 2009 v1.0.0

The key to green data centres, and green ICT in general, is not sophisticated energy saving technology, but policies for efficient use of resources. To use energy and materials efficiently and thus be green, data centres need sufficient economies of scale. This is noted in the Queensland Government's Data Centres Policy. The Australian Government has a similar strategy prepared by AGIMO, in response to the Gershon Report, but which has not been publicly released.
The Australian Government is not alone in this approach of a lack of transparency to ICT policy, the Queensland Government Data Centre Strategy is not made publicly available, although the QGEA Policy statement appears to contain the essence of the policy. The policy says that agencies in South East Queensland must use the two government data centres. Agencies must consider using the shared equipment and networks of the centres, but are not required to do so.

It is unfortunate these government data centres strategies are not made public. Apart from the loss of this government funded advice to the private sector, most people engaged in ICT development in government agencies will not have access to the advice. This will result in a poorer policy and less effective implementation. The Australian and Queensland governments should release their reports.
Policy statement

The Queensland Government and its agencies will adopt a whole-of-Government approach to data centres as outlined in the Queensland Government Data Centre Strategy.

Policy benefits

This policy will assist government to move towards becoming a single enterprise, reduce risk and improve value for money through:
  • the provision of resilient fit for purpose data centre accommodation for the Government’s ICT systems
  • economies of scale through consolidation of small data centres to a shared facility
  • increased security through the provision of appropriate physical security, 24 hour surveillance and monitoring and auditable access control
  • certainty of costs for budgeting for ICT initiatives
  • less project risk for agency initiatives as the need for data centre “design, build and operate” tasks is removed
  • facilitates other ICT consolidation to shared infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networks
  • potential cost savings through re-assignment of computer room space to in-demand office accommodation in the Brisbane CBD.
Policy requirements

Policy requirement 1: Use of government data centres

Agencies must use the two government data centres currently located at 317 Edward Street and/or Springfield (Polaris), unless otherwise approved by the Peer Review Panel, to ensure the implementation of the whole-of-Government Data Centre Strategy and consolidation of data centre requirements across the Queensland Government.

Policy requirement 2: Use of whole-of-government solutions

Migration of agency ICT equipment to the Queensland Government data centres must include consideration for the use of whole-of-Government solutions for networks, infrastructure and enterprise management as part of the migration strategy. ...

From: Queesnland Government Enterprise Architecture Data Centres Policy, Queensland Department of Public Works, December 2009 v1.0.0

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Data Centre Green Technology in Melbourne

Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010 is on 26th February 2010, with William Ehmcke (Connection Research), Albert Y Zomaya (University of Sydney), Graeme Philipson (Connection Research). I will be speaking on "Training Green Technologists": Here is draft outline (correction, comments and suggestions welcome):
Training Green Technologists

Tom Worthington
Green Technology Course Designer
The Australian Computer Society

For Data Centre GreenTech Melbourne 2010, 26 February 2010


Industry needs professionals trained in sustainability,

ACS green ICT course started in 2009:
  • Accredited formal postgraduate course,
  • e-Learning via the Internet on iPhones,
  • Designed by Tom Worthington FACS,
  • Offered by ACS, ANU and OUA

Green Technology Strategies
  • Learn online with others,
  • 12 weeks, 10 hours a week,
  • Exercises about your workplace:
  1. Estimate the carbon footprint of ICT,
  2. Assess ways to reduce the carbon footprint with ICT.

Energy saving - Data Centres

Seven steps:
  1. Determine the required services
  2. Consolidate and virtualise servers,
  3. Invest in low-energy IT equipment
  4. Optimise the layout
  5. Optimise airflow
  6. Invest in low-energy cooling
  7. Account for energy

Courses and Book

Postgraduate Programs of:
  • Australian Computer Society,
  • Australian National University,
  • Open Universities Australia:
  • Curtin, Griffith, Macquarie, Monash, RMIT, Swinburne & SA.

Book and e-book also available

More information

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Monday, January 18, 2010


Towards Sustainability Indicators for Musuems in Australia (Eleanor Adams, 11 January 2010) provides a set of pilot sustainability indicators for Social, Cultural, Economic, and Environmental sustainability. The report is 85 pages of PDF (720 kbytes).

One shortcoming of the report is that there is no mention of the well known concept of "corporate social responsibility", as reported on by companies such as Telstra, which cover social an environmental performance using national and internationally developed measures. Some of this reporting, particularly on energy use, is mandatory under Australian law, as discussed in my book "Green Technology Strategies").

It would seem to make sense for museums to use existing measures, even if these are not mandatory for them, rather than make up new measures.
Sustainability is a goal for many institutions, including museums, but as yet there are no museum-specific methods for measuring sustainability. Museums can be both sustainable businesses and vital parts of sustainable communities. In this report it is proposed that the role of the museum in a sustainable community be considered under the four pillars of sustainability: culture, society, the environment and the economy. The pillars are then used to form the themes of a pilot set of sustainability indicators for museums. In consultation with some major Adelaide based collecting institutions about the pilot indicators, it was found that there was interest in having an effective, directed and efficient measurement system available. The consultation helped to refine a model for such a system, and to develop recommendations for future directions.

From: Abstract, Towards Sustainability Indicators for Musuems in Australia, Eleanor Adams, University of Adelaide and Collections Council of Australia Ltd, 11 January 2010

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Applying frameworks to sustainable use of ICT

In "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework" (4 January 2010) I asked if RMIT/AIIA derived the idea for their project from the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). RMIT have taken me to task for this, pointing out that they have not yet done their research and are only at the stage of collecting data, by way of a a Green ICT Capability Survey. So I did some web searches to see where the term "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework" may have come from. It appears that this was developed by Martin Curley, global director of innovation at Intel and expanded by the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at the National University of Ireland.

The earliest formal reference I could find is the paper "Introducing an IT Capability Maturity Framework" (M Curley, Systems: 9th International Conference, Iceis 2007). In this the relationship of IT-CMF to existing models and frameworks, particularly CMM is discussed (ITIL is also brefely mentioned).

More recently in an Intel slide presentation
Martin Curley has proposed applying the IT-CMF to a "Sustainable ICT Capability Maturity Framework" (Intel Labs Europe ICT for a Sustainable Viable Europe, 09/09/09). He attributes this to the IVI, but I could find no further or more formal references to it on the IVI web site, or elsewhere.

It is very likely that there will be confusion between the
RMIT/AIIA "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework" and IVI "Sustainable ICT Capability Maturity Framework". As the IVI publication pre-dates RMIT, the obligation is on RMIT to either stop using their term or explain it sufficiently to avoid confusion.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the School of Business Information Technology of RMIT University are conducting a Green ICT Capability Survey. This is part of developing what is named the "Green ICT Capability Maturity Framework". This idea is presumably derived from the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), although RMIT do not appear to acknowledge this. RMIT are asking Australian businesses about their current capabilities with Green IT. Presumably independent assessment might come later. I filled out the survey and I expect my micro-business will rate well, as I was commissioned to write a Green IT course. which is now offered to students of eight universities, including RMIT University.

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Led Strip Lighting Around Flat Screen TVs

Led Strip LightingThe Philips Ambilight LCD HDTV range have lights around the edges and on the back which claimed to reduce eye strain and make the colours look better. There are numerous online discussions of using Led Strip Lighting for a similar effect, including suggestions by Ikea with their DIODER lights. Most of these do not automatically adjust the light level and colour as Phillips claim to do. But the effect might also be useful for desktop LCD computer screens, with the lighting strips providing subtle and efficient lighting for a desk. The lighting strips are now commonly available.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Growing Packaging and Insulation

EcoCradle is a new type of packaging and insulation grown from fungus and garbage. The material is grown from a mix of waste organic material and fungi spores. The mix is placed in a mould of the shape of the required packaging or insulation and placed in a cool dark place. The fungus grows, consuming the organic material and filling the mould with a lightweight fibrous material. The material is made of fungus and so is biodegradable (but has to be protected from moisture).

This technique has potential as other fungi have the consistency of wood and could be used where a harder material is required. Also in manufacturing terms it would seem to make more sense to create this material in a two step process: first grow the fungus, then form the material later into the shape required, using pressure and perhaps water. This would be similar to the way packaging is formed from waste paper and the way medium density fibreboard is made from wood fibres.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Making the Planet Smarter and Greener

Matthias Kaiserswerth, director of the IBM Zurich Research LabGreetings from NICTA Canberra Research Laboratory where Matthias Kaiserswerth, director of the IBM Zurich Research Lab is speaking on "Innovating to Create a Smarter Planet". The talk did not start well, with severe interference on the public address system. Dr. Kaiserswerth started by pointing out they do not make PCs any more. The still sell large IT systems, but also do software and consulting.He claimed IBM was the world's largest IT research organisation, four Nobel Laureates in the Zurich Labs and labs aorund the world.

Dr. Kaiserswerth argues that smart systems can improve the environment and health. One example was the amount of energy wasted by cars in cities looking for parking spaces. He pointed out that there are about 4 billion mobile phones in the world which could be used for smart applications, but this might need smarter phones with Internet access.

Dr. Kaiserswerth pointed that research on its own is not enough, a business case is also needed. He gave the example of smart sensors on shipping containers. Smart tags could be put on containers, but this would require agreement by all those involved in shipping would need to agree and to share the cost. Dr. Kaiserswerth pointed out IBM worked on Zigbee networking for container to container communication. It occurs to me that this system is also being used for smart meters. So I suggest it might be possible to equip housing modules with a Zigbee device used for tracking the container in transit and then for the smart meter when installed. This could also provide some limited Internet access for the home owner. In a modualr apartment building, the wireless devices in each apartment could communicate with each other to control building services and reduce energy use.

Another example Dr. Kaiserswerth used was the "Spoken Web Project" from IBM's Indian research labs. This would provide information services for people who cannot read text or want to access it via a mobile phone. There have been several attempts at this including the Simputer Indian PDA with voice. However, my preference would be to use advnaced web design, web accessibility standards and advances in text to voice to provide standard web sites which are also avialable via voice.
NICTA Canberra Research Laboratory
Big Picture SeminarSeries
Title: Innovating to Create a Smarter Planet

The world is getting increasingly intelligent, thanks to new technologies, the Internet and the enormous computing power of modern PCs. But a more intelligent world does not happen all by itself. Business enterprises, governments and the scientific community must share the responsibility for ensuring that all this potential can develop and be used in the right way.

At the moment we are still wasting energy, our healthcare systems are not working efficiently enough and the economy is overtaken by one crisis after another. What strategies and solutions are available for dealing with basic challenges such as these? How can a business enterprise use information more systematically and more intelligently?
How can the natural resources of our planet be put to better and more efficient use? With the technologies and solutions available to us today we can do more than we have ever been able to do in the past to link together people, things, processes and systems, and to make the world in general a more intelligent place. That is our vision for a smarter planet.

Since January 2006, Matthias Kaiserswerth has been leading the IBM Research Strategy in Systems Management and Compliance, coordinating the research work across IBM's eight global research laboratories. In July 2006, he was named director of the Zurich Research Lab, which he had lead already once before from 2000-2002.Dr. Kaiserswerth received his MSc and PhD in Computer Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and from Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany respectively. He is an honorary professor at Friedrich-Alexander University where he teaches applied computer science.

From imagination to impact
Dr Matthias Kaiserswerth
Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009
Seminar begins at 12.30pm.
A light lunch will be served following
the presentation.
NICTA Seminar Room
Ground Floor, 7 London Circuit
Civic, ACT
RSVP Bookings are essential. Please email
by Friday 13 November 2009

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do rich people have to use more energy?

Greetings from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU. The issue under discussion in today's seminar by David I. Stern on "Modelling Global Trends in Energy Efficiency" is the relationship between standards of living and energy use. This is important for the current proposals for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. It has been assumed that as countries develop and standards of living increase, then energy use increases making it more difficult to curb CO2 emissions.

Crude measures of energy intensity can be misleading, as they do not take into account the technology being used. As an example on crude measures Mexico looks more efficient in energy use, but on a more detailed analysis the USA is more efficient. One outcome of this analysis is that countries which use coal have an handicap, due to its high level of pollution.

An interesting aspect to such models is that they assume that the energy is used to produce the same products. I suggest that with disruptive technologies such as ICT, this does not apply. That is rather than trying to get developing nations to produce the same goods developed countries do, but with less energy and less CO2 pollution, instead they can skip the dark satanic mills of the industrial revolution and move straight to an information economy. Rather than replacing bullock carts with trucks for delivering paper documents, the Internet can be used to replace both the vehicle and the paper documents.

Dr. Stern's main conclusion seems to be that when distortions due to developing countries undervaluing their currency are removed, there is no clear relationship between energy intensity and GDP per capital. That is getting rich does not result in your using more energy.

One of the problems I had with Dr. Stern's analysis was that it is based on nation states. This assumes that technology, economy and culture are uniform within a county. This does not apply, particularly to India and China, where the developed regions look more like that of each other and like western nations, than like the rural hinterland of the same country. As an example in business terms Bangalore has more in common with California, than it does with the rest of India. In some cases these differences are formalised, where for example China's special zones have different rules and financial regulations.

Perhaps it would be useful to use the measures of the number of mobile telephones and broadband connections in these calculations. This would provide a measure of the IT use of the country. It would be interesting to see if this correlates with energy use. It would seem on the face of it that rich people would have more mobile phones and broadband. But mobile phones are spreading rapidly through developing nations and broadband is not far behind.

Next week's seminar is Promoting Development, Saving the Planet.

Fenner School Seminar Series

Thursday 12th November 2009

1-2pm, in Fenner School FORESTRY LECTURE THEATRE, Forestry building 48

Modelling Global Trends in Energy Efficiency

David I. Stern
Arndt-Corden Division of Economics, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University


This seminar reports on ongoing research in the CERF Environmental Economics Research Hub funded project: “Modelling the Global Diffusion of Energy Efficiency and Low-Carbon Technology”. The environmental Kuznets curve has been a popular simple model of the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality. It is plagued, however, by significant econometric issues and explains relatively little about the differences in emissions between countries. The between estimator is a simple consistent estimator of long-run coefficients in panel data that avoids these issues and performs well in real world situations. I apply the between estimator to both environmental Kuznets curves for carbon and sulfur emissions and a more sophisticated production frontier model of energy efficiency. The latter model explains differences in energy efficiency across countries in terms of differences in input and output mix, climate, and differences in the level of energy efficiency technology. The residuals from this model are the underlying trends in energy efficiency technology in each country. In the final part of the presentation I will show how a social choice model can be used to explain differences in environmental technology across countries.


Photo of David SternDavid Stern is an energy and environmental economist with an interdisciplinary background in geography and economics. His research has focused on understanding the relationship between resource use and economic growth and development. He has investigated both the role of energy and resources in economic growth and the determinants of environmental impacts, especially air pollution and climate change. He is currently working on a project funded by the Environmental Economics Research Hub titled: “Modelling the Global Diffusion of Energy Efficiency and Low-Carbon Technology”.

The Fenner School Seminar Series is held in the Forestry Lecture Theatre, Forestry Building 48, Linnaeus Way (comes off Daley Road), ANU (Acton) campus, ACT

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Innovating to Create a Smarter Planet

Matthias Kaiserswerth, director of the IBM Zurich Research LabMatthias Kaiserswerth, director of the IBM Zurich Research Lab, will speak on "Innovating to Create a Smarter Planet" at NICTA Canberra Research Laboratory, 17 November 2009:
NICTA Canberra Research Laboratory
Big Picture SeminarSeries
Title: Innovating to Create a Smarter Planet

The world is getting increasingly intelligent, thanks to new technologies, the Internet and the enormous computing power of modern PCs. But a more intelligent world does not happen all by itself. Business enterprises, governments and the scientific community must share the responsibility for ensuring that all this potential can develop and be used in the right way.

At the moment we are still wasting energy, our healthcare systems are not working efficiently enough and the economy is overtaken by one crisis after another. What strategies and solutions are available for dealing with basic challenges such as these? How can a business enterprise use information more systematically and more intelligently?
How can the natural resources of our planet be put to better and more efficient use? With the technologies and solutions available to us today we can do more than we have ever been able to do in the past to link together people, things, processes and systems, and to make the world in general a more intelligent place. That is our vision for a smarter planet.

Since January 2006, Matthias Kaiserswerth has been leading the IBM Research Strategy in Systems Management and Compliance, coordinating the research work across IBM's eight global research laboratories. In July 2006, he was named director of the Zurich Research Lab, which he had lead already once before from 2000-2002.Dr. Kaiserswerth received his MSc and PhD in Computer Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and from Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany respectively. He is an honorary professor at Friedrich-Alexander University where he teaches applied computer science.

From imagination to impact
Dr Matthias Kaiserswerth
Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009
Seminar begins at 12.30pm.
A light lunch will be served following
the presentation.
NICTA Seminar Room
Ground Floor, 7 London Circuit
Civic, ACT
RSVP Bookings are essential. Please email
by Friday 13 November 2009

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ANU 10% by 2010 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program

The ANU has a "10% by 2010" greenhouse gas emission reduction program. This includes prizes for students and staff upholding their commitment to sustainable practices in the Online Sustainability Challenge. Other universities might like to emulate this.
ANU needs your help to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent by 2010.

Commit to improve your ecological footprint during October and November 09 and you could win.

Prizes include:

  • A $1500 electric bicycle courtesy of The Sydney Energy Coop.
  • A brand new $500 bicycle courtesy of The Ride Shop, Braddon.
  • A 3 day double pass to the Corinbank Music Festival in February 2010.
  • One of 5 Home Energy Audits, courtesy of the Home Energy Advice Team.
  • A free membership to the Co-operative Food Shop, Acton.
  • Lunch for two to Degree Café (valued at $60)
  • A free assessment from the ANU Sport and Rec Association
  • One of four $25 gift vochures from the Coop Bookshop
  • On of ten ‘Coffee for two’ vouchers from the God’s Café.
To participate register for the new Online Sustainability Challenge.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Australian Government $100M Smart Grid Project

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts is offering up to $100M for a Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project. There is a Media Release, set of Guidelines and a Pre-deployment report. This is for networked sensors in an energy grid allowing finer control of the system. This can be used to send price signals to optimise energy use, particularly from renewable sources. It is usually claimed to reduce costs to the consumer, but is more likely be used to force the consumer to change their energy use habits.

A smart grid can be for any energy distribution system, but this project appears to be limited to an electricity distribution network. It would be useful to include two different energy sources, such as electricity and gas, in the project to look for synergies.

It is claimed that data and results will be made available publicly over the course of this project. However, smart grids provide data in real time and so there would seem to be no reason why data from the project should not be provided daily from the start date of the system. The proposed lengthy delays in providing data have no technical justification and appear to be the government planning to suppress any bad news about the project, even before it starts.

The government appear to be using a similar process to the NBN Taskforce, where an independent panel of experts is used to assess proposals, rather than a conventional public service tender board. Victorian electricity distributor SP AusNet appears to have a head start having announced it will install 680,000 WiMax connected smart meters by 2013, with about 40,000 installed by mid 2010. Applications close 28 January 2010 and the date for the successful bidder to be announced is a somewhat vague some time in 2010.

It should be noted that smart grids do not require a high speed fibre optic broadband network. Only low data rates are needed and wireless networks can be used as in the Victorian system. Smart grids may not need to use the NBN.

I teach about smart grids in my Green ICT course and perhaps some of the graduates will be involved in the project.

Grant Guidelines

  1. Smart Grid, Smart City Grant Guidelines (PDF-347KB)
  2. Application Supporting Material
  3. Presentation on the Release of Draft Guidelines
  4. Presentation on the Draft Application Supporting Material
  5. Smart Grid, Smart City: A new direction for a new energy era (PDF - 4000KB)
  6. Consultation Workshops - Smart Grid, Smart City, National Energy Efficiency Initiative (NEEI)
  7. Summary of Stakeholder Workshops - July 2009
While there is extensive documentation provided about the project is is very large PDF and word documents. For a project which is supposed to be about smart use of information technology this shows a lack of smart information design and distribution. Here is an excerpt in plan text from the pre-deployment report:

Smart Grid, Smart City: A new direction for a new energy era


Minister’s foreword 4
Executive summary 6
  1. Background, objectives and approach 11
  2. Smart grid business case: Expected benefits in Australia 30
  3. Program design for Smart Grid, Smart City 40
  4. Recommended approach to industry and next steps 89
  5. Role of government and regulatory bodies for broader smart grid adoption in Australia 102
APPENDIX A: Glossary of smart grid terminology 106
APPENDIX B: Smart grid trials in Australia 110
APPENDIX C: Pilot summary 111

The Australian Government announced in the 2009 Federal Budget the availability of up to $100 million for the implementation of a fully integrated smart grid at commercial scale, through the National Energy Efficiency Initiative (NEEI). The government’s investment in Smart Grid, Smart City was subject to a pre-deployment study designed to provide further information to the government on the potential economic and environmental benefits of smart grid technologies and the best way to maximise the benefits of the government’s investment including the best governance framework and business model for the initiative, and how best to bridge any gaps in knowledge about the benefits. The results of the pre-deployment study undertaken in July and August 2009 are presented in this report.

It is the intent that the program design of Smart Grid, Smart City builds off and leverages the programs and lessons from other government and industry initiatives, including but not limited to the Smart Meter program (led by the Ministerial Council on Energy), Solar Cities, Solar Flagships and the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Near-universal access to cheap electric power has helped Australia achieve a high standard of living and a leading position in the global economy. Indeed, low-cost power has helped drive the country’s economic growth for decades. Today, the national power industry is large and complex, with $11 billion1 in revenue, over 45,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 700,000 kilometres of distribution network, and over nine million customers2, including many in remote areas.

An abundance of coal has helped keep the cost of electricity relatively low. But coal imposes environmental costs in the form of greenhouse gases, including 200 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) released in 20083, more than a third of Australia’s total CO2-e emissions.

Global and national trends are beginning to affect the entire value chain of the electric power
  • Expert scientific evidence confirms that human activities, power plant emissions in particular, alter the climate and affect the environment. The Australian Government is investing in measures to reduce reliance on fossil fuels
  • Rising and more volatile fuel prices and globalisation of fuel markets
  • Ageing electric infrastructure that will require costly upgrades to meet the demands of an expanding modern economy.
The nation will need to manage power more efficiently and effectively, lower the ratio of electricity consumption per economic output, reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions with demand management and encourage energy efficiency, improve reliability, and reduce recurring costs while making prudent investments.

The global call to action has initiated a wave of innovation in distributed power generation, electric transport, energy efficiency and smart grid capabilities. Power utilities and solution providers across Australia and around the world are starting to experiment and deploy a wide range of these innovations.

To bring this vision to reality, Australia will need to integrate information processing and communications into power systems to create a unified smart grid that includes generation, transmission, distribution, retail and end-use. This smart grid vision encompasses a suite of applications which are currently at different stages of technical and economic maturity.

They can be categorised into grid-side applications, which reduce line loss and improve fault detection and restoration, for example, and customer-side applications, which help people understand and manage their power usage.

Preliminary analysis carried out in the course of this study indicates that implementing smart grid technologies across Australia could deliver at least $5 billion of gross annual benefit to Australian society. This includes improvements in the operation of the power industry and an estimate of the monetised benefits of reduced greenhouse gases and improved power grid reliability. The significance of the potential benefits and sizable range indicates that many applications are worthy of further investigation and refinement as part of the Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration.

These potential benefits have attracted enormous interest in smart grid technologies and their implementation and governments around the world are making power grid upgrades a priority.

The United States (US), for example, has announced USD $4.5 billion in smart grid funding, while Europe has mandated smart meters as a critical component of a broader smart grid.

Although smart grids offer significant potential, the benefits are largely unproven at commercial-scale and like other countries, Australia faces barriers to a broader adoption, including:
  • Australian and international authorities have yet to agree on standards for many applications
  • Power industry leaders do not currently share a common understanding about the costs and benefits of different smart grid applications
  • Regulatory frameworks that may not reflect the full potential benefits of smart grid
  • applications or provide industry with critical guidance on cost recovery or risk
  • Utilities have no comprehensive national or global reference cases to guide them toward best practices or help them avoid mistakes.
There are no regulatory barriers for the successful implementation of Smart Grid, Smart City
but a regulatory reference group is recommended to identify potential barriers that could impact
a broader smart grid adoption in Australia.

The absence of standards for smart grid technology and applications are a significant investment risk for the wider adoption of smart grids and, to a lesser extent, the Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration project. It is anticipated, however, that this risk will be mitigated by a
flexible approach to the deployment of the smart grid communications platform. This approach will see a variety of communications solutions adapted to suit different and varying network requirements, which will help spread the risk. A standards working group is recommended to identify standards needed to minimise technology investment risk for a broader smart grid
adoption in Australia.

This report contains the following recommendations:
  • Smart grid implementation in Australia should aim to optimise the overall value for society, including financial and non-financial benefits (see sections 2.1 and 2.2).
  • Since some underlying technologies are too immature and their business cases too unproven to allow for accurate up-front cost estimates, analysis suggests that gross annual benefits, rather than a net present value, will best prioritise the allocation of funds across potential applications. The Smart Grid, Smart City demonstration should gather data to allow more accurate calculations of the net present value of each major application (see sections 2.1 and 2.2).
  • The available funding should be directed at reducing or eliminating as many of the barriers to widespread deployment as possible—including business case uncertainty, technological immaturity, standards development and regulatory uncertainty—enablinga rapid and prudent market-led adoption of smart grid technologies and capabilities that could build on other relevant government initiatives such as the National Broadband Network (NBN), subject to commercial decisions. Funding disbursements should be split between project milestone outcomes and a final performance payment upon completion of project requirements. Consortium applicants should provide significant co-investment for the program to align interests and generate ‘ownership’ and to drive lessons for Smart Grid, Smart City. Finally, the Smart Grid, Smart City program design can be adjusted or scaled in terms of the breadth of the applications deployed pending the total available funding (see section 3.6.4).
  • To achieve this objective, Smart Grid, Smart City should provide a competitively solicited grant to a distributor-led consortium to fund a unified deployment of smart grid technologies within a single distributor’s region that rigorously assesses and analyses applications at a relevant commercial scale. This is consistent with the government’s recommendation for the initiative to be in one Australian town, city or region. Finally, distinct modules should address regulatory barriers and standards that could impact a broader smart grid adoption in Australia (see section 3.2).
  • Consumer-side applications deployed at commercial scale should aim to understand what drives customer behaviour and therefore should test several different packages across different consumer demographics. The packages should include various tariff programs (e.g. Time of Use and Critical Peak Pricing), the provision of more detailed information for consumers (e.g. real-time energy usage and environmental information via in-home displays or portals) and controls that maximise potential behaviour change (e.g. programmable controllable thermostats and home energy controllers; see sections 3.1 and 3.2). Smart metering will be a critical enabler of customer-side applications.
  • Grid-side applications to be deployed at commercial scale should include (see section 2.3):
    • Fault detection, isolation and restoration
    • Integrated Volt-VAR control, including conservation voltage reduction
    • Distributed storage.
    • Secondary applications that should be piloted (although not necessarily at commercial scale) include: electric vehicles; substation and feeder monitoring and diagnostics; wide-area measurement; and distributed generation support.
    • In order to effectively demonstrate a wide variety of customer-side applications, a minimum of 9,000 – 10,000 participating households is suggested (implying a total minimum population of some 200,000 people), depending upon the number and design of each trial, and the anticipated take-up rate of those trials within the population.
  • To ensure a broader adoption of the applications shown to have a positive net benefit, the successful consortium should provide detailed commentary on how it will ensure:
    • Close ongoing engagement with the regulatory reference group established for Smart Grid, Smart City to identify most pressing regulatory challenges and help create recommendations to government and regulatory bodies (see section 3.3)
    • Active dialogue and engagement with the standards working group established for Smart Grid, Smart City to identify standards required to minimise investment in new technologies and ensure broader industry participation (see section 3.4)
    • Mechanisms to involve other industry players and disseminate lessons, e.g. peer evaluation panels and secondments from other distributors/industry players (see section 3.5).
  • Government will require the consortium to ensure continuity of supply by using robust security procedures that include plans for handling breach or discovery of weakness (see section 2.3) ...

  • From: Smart Grid, Smart City: A new direction for a new energy era

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sustainability In The Pub Sydney

Sydney Environmental Educators Network is holding "Sustainability In The Pub", in Sydney, 21 October, 6.30pm. These are fun events.
The Sydney Environmental Educators Network invites you to join us for Sustainability In The Pub in October - an evening of ideas, discussion and sharing for environmental educators.

Wednesday 21 October, 6.30pm start.


Agincourt Hotel, cnr George and Harris Street Sydney.
FREE, No RSVP required.

"Choice, Imagination and Sustainability"

We all know that climate change is probably the biggest threat to mankind ever, but often trying to change people's thinking and behaviour creates the opposite effect.

How do we avoid the self righteous, evangelistic approach?
How do we influence people without being didactic?
How do we tap into people's deeper needs and aspirations?

In this discussion with two innovative environmental educators, Thor Blomfield and Kylee Ingram explore creative approaches to a more sustainable future.

Thor Blomfield co-founded Leapfish Environmental Education 6 years ago and since has created a range of effective arts based programs. Kylee Ingram established Australian Documentaries 7 years ago which partners with NGOs and the government sector to create media for sustainability and positive change.

Kind regards,


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Australian Green Property Fund

Australian Ethical launched an Australian Ethical Property Trust in October 2009. This will invest in 5 Star Green Star and above rated buildings. A good example is Australian Ethical's 6 star rated HQ in Canberra. This was refitted at relatively low cost from an old brick building. Most of the examples of green office buildings are hi-tech ones, full of expensive and complex equipment.

Of the hitech buildings around, the ones, one of the better seems to be the Majuira Park complex at Canberra Airport, with facilities like like Trigeneration. The buildings have their own natural gas powered electricity generating plant. Waste heat from the plant is used to heat the buildings in winter and, using absorption chillers, cool them in summer.

Another hitech green building in Canberra is Canberra Data Centres. This is a low cost retrofit of an old warehouse, at least as low cost as a data centre with backup power supply can be.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

From Sustainable Development to a Low Carbon Strategy

The slides from "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover" at The University of Sydney, 15 October 2009 are available from Hans Mönninghoff's web site. Unfortunately they are 3 Mbytes of Powerpoint. Here is the text:

From Sustainable Development to a Low Carbon Strategy on a local level

(and how to combine environment and economy)

The example of the City of Hannover (Germany)

Hans Mönninghoff
  • since 1989 Head of the City of Hannover Directorate of Environmental Affairs
  • since 1997 also Deputy to the Lord Mayor in his function as Chief Executive
  • since 2005 also Head of Directorate of Economic Affairs
  • until 2013 re-elected in all three functions
1,700 employees, 370 Mio. Euro p.a. budget

Hans Mönninghoff in the political Structure of the City of Hannover

Hannover: A Liveable City at the Heart of Europe

  • Pop: 520,000 inhabitants (Region: 1.1 Mil.)

City of Hannover
  • 204 km ²
  • Capital and economic centre of Lower Saxony
  • the world’s largest trade fair location
  • 245.000 jobs in service industries (e.g. insurances) and manufacturing and processing industries (e.g. automobile)
  • 35.000 students in famous universities
Presentation Overview
  1. Four challenges of sustainable development
  2. Four important principles of Urban Planning as instrument of sustainable development
  3. Three central fields of a Low Carbon Strategy as part of Local Sustainability
  4. Three economic advantages
Four Challenges of Sustainable Development

Sustainability is more than environmental policy
  • stable population and social structures
  • employment
  • environmental quality, quality of life
  • stable municipal finances
Challenge I Demographic Change 2005 - 2050
Challenge II Employment
Challenge III Maintaining the Quality of Urban Life, Crucial Soft Location Factors

Challenge IV Stable Municipal Finances
income and expenditure must be balanced !
(1,580 billion €)

Four Principles of Urban Planning as Part of a of Sustainable Development and low carbon strategy

Planning principle I
all new building developments in the region only along existing rail routes

Planning principle II
  • minimum out-of-town shopping centres encouraging car use
  • support for city centre shopping
  • local shops
Planning principle III
  • reutilisation of industrial wasteland; Hannover has extensive experience with decontamination of polluted sites.
  • There is a movement of older people to the City from the Hinterland
  • single-family-homes in the City, to keep young people here
Why do we speak about low carbon strategies?

1. Transport
Hannover has a successful Long-Term Transport Plan with a good Modal Split
  • 27% on foot
  • 13% by bicycle
  • 41% by car - today no more cars per household than 1995 (411 per 1,000 inhabitants)
  • 17% by public transport
Far-sighted planning for cars has averted serious traffic problems.
  • very good Light Rail/U-Bahn network with 12 routes
  • 63 Bus routes
  • 933 km of Public Transport routes in the city
  • 163 million Passengers per year in the region (+10% in the last 5 years)
  • 160 Mil. € subsidies per year
  • good connections with the train network
2. Waste Mangment
  • Waste Quantities in the City of Hannover
  • waste avoidance
  • (- 380,000 t)
  • dumping of soil, building rubble, sewage sludge
  • (- 340,000t)
  • recycling of compost, organic waste (+ 72,000t)
  • recycling of glass, paper, packaging and scrap metal (+ 41,700t)
Waste Treatment Concept for the Hannover Region from 2005
  • 365,000 tonnes p.a. unavoidable and unrecyclable waste
  • about 60% coarse fraction incinerated in a new waste-to-energy plant
  • about 30% fine fraction biologically treated in a fermentation plant
  • about 10% separated wood-fraction used in a special wood-fuelled power station
Waste Treatment Centre
  • house insulation
  • construction of Low Energy Houses
  • high-efficiency heating systems e.g. decentral CHP plants
  • extension of the district heating network
  • electricity saving campaigns
  • renewable energy use
Economic Advantage 1: more local purchasing power
  • In 2005 Hannover’s private households spent around 220 million € on gas and oil, most of which came from abroad.
  • Reducing these imports will increase local purchasing power considerably.
Economic Advantage II: a stronger regional craft industries
  • Investment in and technologies for climate protection stimulate a dynamic added-value chain for the regional craft trades and businesses - an important job motor for the local economy .
Economic Advantage III: more jobs !
In the Hannover region there are already 3,000 people working in climate protection.

In Germany jobs in wind energy is rising from 45.000 (in 2004) to 106.000 (in 2009)

Worldwide more than 2 Mio. jobs in the solar-industry in the next 20 years (greenpeace-study)

It is funny to read in THE AUSTRALIAN, Sept.14th 2009, The union-leader Tony Maher says “Green jobs are dopey”

There is a lot to do !

G20 low carbon competitiveness
Report of the Climate Institute (Sep. 2009)

Australia is ranked 15th out of 19 industrial countries and is the lowest of the Annex I countries of the Kyoto Protocol

The GDP per tonne of CO2
is very different
in the countries
(intelligent use of energy)
Australia 0,8
Germany 2,0
Japan 3,6

Economic growth and sustainable development are not contradictions:
  • Sustainable development means that economic, ecological and social issues are harmonised.
  • Economic and ecology are not adversaries; they enhance each other’s potential.
  • Better environmental standards and quality of life are important soft factors for the economic development of a city and a nation.
Adapted from: "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover", Hans Mönninghoff, 2009

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Humanitarian Technology Challenge

The IEEE, in association with the UN Foundation has launched a Humanitarian Technology Challenge. with three projects for developing nations: Reliable Electricity, Data Connectivity for Health Facilities and Individual ID for patient medical records. Interested professionals are invited to submit ideas and join an online collaboration platform. A Solution Development Workshop will be held in Washington, DC (USA), October 26 - 28, 2009.

There are detailed documents on each project. For data connectivity there is "Data Connectivity of Rural District Health Offices". This is a very good overview document, but unfortunately it has been formatted as a 29 page 267 kByte PDF file. This is at odds with the aims of the project which emphasises the use of mobile devices and efficient use of communications. The project might want to reformat its documents in mobile friendly web pages, will reduce the bandwidth requirements by about 10 to 100 times.

Another problem with the project is the use of a red cross on a white background in the home page. The red cross symbol is reserved under international law for use by specific medical and other humanitarian operations. The usual symbol for first aid, is a white cross on a green background.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Solar Power in Spain

Rebecca Dunn of the ANU Solar Thermal Group will talk about a recent visit to solar power stations in Spain, at the Australian National University, Engineering Building #32, Engineering lecture theatre, Canberra, 12 Noon, 14th October 2009:
  • Torresol Energy 17MWe power tower plant which includes 15 hours of molten salt storage (under construction).
  • Andasol 1, 2 and 3 plants, each 50MWe with parabolic trough concentrators and 7.5 hours of molten salt storage (Andasol 1 is operational, 2 is being commissioned, 3 is under construction).
  • Abengoa Solucar platform which includes PS10 (11MW) and PS20 (20MW) - the first commercial power towers operated.
  • Plataforma Solar de Almeria - a solar research facility for a range of different solar technologies.
  • Wolfgang Scheffler - inventor of the Scheffler dish, a fixed focal point dish used for solar cooking and power generation in India and Africa.
  • Julich Air Receiver power tower.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Violin, cello and walk in Sydney

Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church, Cnr. Johnston & Collins Streets, Annandale, NSW, AustraliaEmma West (violin) and Emma-Jane Murphy (cello) will perform Partita No.3 in E major for solo violin, BWV 1006 and Suite for solo cello (J.S. Bach), plus Sonata for violin and cello (Maurice Ravel) on at the 2009 Spring Festival Concert, Hunter Baillie Church, Annandale, Sydney, 11 October 2009. The day before is the next Eco-Artists' Walk to the Whites Creek Wetlands and Wildlife Corridor (Facebook, blog ecoannau, twitter #ecoannau).

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moving Cities to Low Carbon

Hans Mönninghoff, Deputy Chief Executive, City of Hannover, will speak on "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover" at The University of Sydney, 15 October 2009:
Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover
Hans Mönninghoff

When: Thursday, 15 October, from 6.30pm
Location: Wilkinson Building, 148 City Road, The University of Sydney
Cost: These events are free of charge
Contact: Sue Lalor
Phone: 02 9114 0941

Hannover has over twenty years of experience in planning to meet Climate Change, and a Low Carbon Future. Hannover has committed itself to a wholistic sustainable urban strategy, whose aims are derived from a vision of sustainable development and comprise protection of natural common goods, social justice, responsible lifestyles, urban planning and development, mobility, business development, sustainable local economy and global responsibility for local action.

Hans will outline the experiences of Hannover in Climate Protection, Planning for a Low Carbon Future, the Development of Model Urban Projects, Sustainable Resource Management, and Energy, amongst others. Given how long Hannover has been working in these fields, they have learnt many valuable lessons in what to do, and what not to do, as well as some of the barriers to implementation.

About the Speaker

Hans Mönninghoff has been dedicated to energy and climate protection politics for over 30 years. As Deputy Chief Executive for the City of Hannover Mönninghoff established and led Hannover's Carbon Reduction Initiatives with a target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, on the back of existing successful initiatives to reduce carbon. Mönninghoff has played a key role in the development of Hannover as the greenest City in Germany with the most square meters of green space per capita.

For more information on this talk visit or download the flyer.

I look forward to seeing you here.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Peters
Director, Planning Research Centre
Professor, Urban and Regional Planning
University of Sydney

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