Researchers in Melbourne are testing a new solar chimney that could cut energy use in half and possibly save lives in the event of a building fire.
The chimney, developed by RMIT University and the City of Kingston, is designed to bring in fresh air while expelling smoke, extending building evacuation time from two to fourteen minutes.
Fire safety measures are just the latest addition to the already proven solar chimneys, which heat and cool buildings using clean energy.
“Delivering on two important functions could boost the already strong cost-effectiveness of this sustainable technology,” RMIT researcher Dr Long Shi said.
“We hope our findings will inspire more investment and development of solar chimneys in Australia, and around the world.”
The chimney will be tested at the new Mentone Reserve Pavilion in Kingston, a southeast Melbourne suburb.
Green steel’s massive potential
A new report from the Grattan Institute highlights the job creating, emissions reducing potential of using Australia’s plentiful wind and solar resources to manufacture energy-intensive commodities, such as steel.
This eco-friendly steel is manufactured using renewably generated hydrogen instead of metallurgical coal, reducing the amount of iron required. With its abundant sun and wind, Australia is a prime spot for renewably generated hydrogen at a fraction of the price.
According to the researchers, capturing about 6.5 per cent of the global steel market would generate about $65 billion in annual export revenue and could create 25,000 manufacturing jobs in Queensland and NSW.
4D model outlines sustainable urbanisation
A four-dimensional model of Braddon, a suburb of Canberra, could hold the key to assessing environmental impacts and sustainable development across the city.
CSIRO researchers developed the model depicting Braddon’s “urban metabolism,” showing the suburb’s land use over time and the environmental impacts created by urbanisation, both through development and demolition.
According to CSIRO’s study, large scale refurbishment or demolition of Braddon’s historic buildings would release 9000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, a social cost of $445,000.
By expanding the model across the city, researchers hope to better inform planning decisions that minimise carbon emissions from refurbishment and recover previously wasted materials from demolition.
More cycles and walkways in post-COVID NSW
Following calls to provide more space to pedestrians and cyclists to allow people to safetly social distance, the NSW government unveiled its new $15 million scheme to expand public spaces as part of its COVID-19 strategy.
Local councils can apply for up to $100,000 on immediate projects such as creating new cycle paths and widening walkways, and up to $1 million on long term plans.
With activities sorely limited due to the pandemic, urban design has proven ill-equipped to deal with the demand for safe, accessible public spaces.
By investing in these small-scale projects, the government hopes to encourage outdoor exercise and essential travel while maintaining social distance.
Australian IT company joins RE100
Interactive, Australia’s largest privately-owned IT services company, announced its acceptance into RE100, a group of international companies committed to reaching 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
This marks a significant leap for Interactive Australia, a company that uses large amounts of power for its cloud management, hardware maintenance, business continuity and data centre services.
“By joining RE100, Interactive is aligned with 230 major companies globally who are leading the way on corporate climate action,” RE100’s Australian coordinator Jon Dee said.
“This decision by Interactive sends a strong signal to the market that Australian businesses back clean energy.”