Homes that don't cost the earth

Peo­ple with an eye to mak­ing their homes run more ef­fi­ciently would do well to get to the in­au­gu­ral Clean En­ergy Expo.

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The In­au­gu­ral NZ Clean En­ergy Expo takes place at the NZ Clean En­ergy Cen­tre (NZCEC) in Taupo from Oc­to­ber 13-16. While the first two days are in­dursty based the week­end Expo fo­cuses on the house­hold and how con­sumers can em­brace clean en­ergy and dra­mat­i­cally cut the cost of run­ning their homes To­wards the En­ergy Pos­i­tive Home, a free pub­lic work­shop held on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 15 is a com­pre­hen­sive look at the ac­tion we can take.

Among the speak­ers is Jeroen Brand, guest lec­turer at Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy for so­lar en­ergy tech­nol­ogy, who will cover the re­new­able en­ergy re­sources avail­able to the av­er­age New Zealand home and how to be­come a pos­i­tive en­ergy home, where you ac­tu­ally con­trib­ute and sell en­ergy to the national grid.

Rus­sell Judd from the NZ Clean En­ergy Cen­tre will demon­strate an af­ford­able way to dis­pense with the grid al­to­gether, while Albrecht Stoeck­lein, from Right­house, breaks down our en­ergy use and shows us op­por­tu­ni­ties on how to tackle it. He takes a par­tic­u­lar look at the in­su­la­tion and ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems in our homes.

Lee Barry from the World Wildlife Fund casts the net wider, look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of New Zealand be­com­ing 100% re­new­able and the gains to be had from striv­ing for that goal.

An­drew Pol­lard, build­ing physi­cist, Build­ing Re­search As­so­ci­a­tion of New Zealand, makes the case for so­lar water heat­ing.

The venue for the Expo, the NZ Clean En­ergy Cen­tre, is worth a visit in it­self. The cen­tre is a demon­stra­tion venue and show­case for a wide va­ri­ety of clean en­ergy so­lu­tions and it is a cen­tral hub for the host­ing of clean en­ergy re­lated events. It is owned by a Taupo-based Com­mu­nity Trust.

The Expo should hold in­ter­est for in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als and pub­lic alike.

Day one is a Geo­ther­mal Work­shop which in­cludes a field trip to Mokai to see geo­ther­mal en­ergy be­ing used not only for elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion, but also for glasshouses, milk pro­cess­ing and worm farm­ing. Day two is a bioen­ergy work­shop. And days three and four of­fer a pub­lic expo along with sev­eral free in­for­ma­tional work­shops.

One such work­shop is ti­tled: The Car of the Fu­ture: Is it Elec­tric? The work­shop will fea­ture pre­sen­ta­tions from global lead­ers in the elec­tric ve­hi­cle mar­ket and will ex­am­ine the value propo­si­tion of cur­rent elec­tric ve­hi­cles, the im­pli­ca­tions for so­ci­ety and environment, and why EVs will be a cat­a­lyst for change. All Expo at­ten­dees will also be given op­por­tu­ni­ties to test drive elec­tric cars and to see what the “fuel sta­tion of the fu­ture” looks like (NZ’s only net­worked EV charg­ing sta­tion is in­stalled at the Clean En­ergy Cen­tre).

Rob McEwen, CEO of the NZCEC, says the Expo pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for all New Zealan­ders to see what’s avail­able to­day and what may be avail­able in the near fu­ture as far as so­lu­tions which ei­ther pro­duce or use clean, re­new­able en­ergy. “Our Cen­tre pro­duces all of its own space heat­ing and hot water from a com­bi­na­tion of geo­ther­mal and so­lar sys­tems, and pro­duces much of its own elec­tric­ity from two wind tur­bines and two so­lar pho­to­voltaic sys­tems. Vis­i­tors will be able to tour our Cen­tre and see first-hand how these so­lu­tions work.”

The Pub­lic Expo is open from 10am-4pm on Oc­to­ber 15-16, with an en­trance fee of $10 per adult; chil­dren free. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at www.cleanen­er­gy­expo.co.nz

While the first two days are in­dursty based the week­end Expo fo­cuses on the house­hold and how con­sumers can em­brace clean en­ergy and dra­mat­i­cally cut the cost of run­ning their homes

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