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National Permaculture Day on May First

Sunday May 1 is National Permaculture Day in Australia. Permaculture is a term that was coined in the ’70s as a shortening of both “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture”, by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Josh Byrne, well known from the ABC TV Show, Gardening Australia, calls permaculture “practical, grass roots sustainability in action”. What…

Solar lights – a good option for your garden

lantern

Many environmentally conscious homeowners are using solar lights to add lighting to their home’s exterior. Not only does using solar lights lessen your home’s carbon footprint and help conserve the environment, it will also save you money since you aren’t using any of your electricity to power them. One of the best things about adding…

The Latest Low Energy LED Spotlights

Although you may have noticed CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs usurping the conventional incandescent light bulb in stores, until recently there has been next to nothing in the way of low energy replacements for the good old halogen spot lamp. CFLs cannot be made compact enough to retrofit existing lamps (which are often set…

Using DIY Solar Panels: Advantages and Disadvantages

Grape Solar GS-440-KIT Residential 440 Watt Grid-Tied Solar Power System Kit

Apart from the conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint, one major factor that has convinced a lot of homeowners to install “do it yourself solar panels” is the rising cost of electricity bills. But before we go into the advantages and disadvantages of making your own solar panels (or using DIY kits), we have…

Sustainable Cities Toolkit

A new toolkit to assist with sustainable urban development is the current project of researchers at RMIT University in partnership with the UN Global Cities Programme. Professor Paul James, Director of RMIT’s Global Cities Research Institute, recently spoke to ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, where he described one part of the toolkit as something that…

Guest Editorial: Focus On Solar Energy

With all the talk of conventional energy being on the way out and the world needing to find sustainable alternatives, let’s focus on solar energy. Solar energy is basically gathering the energy found in sunlight and turning it into electrical energy. It is a cheap and effective way of generating power which does not produce…

South Australian Plan to make Biofuel from Algae

Environment engineer Stephen Bedford Clark is setting up a programme in the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia which will see agriculture using locally grown algae to make locally produced fuel. “We’re not having to transport carbon with carbon and the costs are reduced, ” he told ABC reporter Annabelle Homer. Clark is setting up an…

GuestPost: Looking At The Best Home Solar Panels

One of the most important benefits of solar panels is to provide electricity in areas  that are “off-grid”. This is a term used in regard to a residence that is not serviced by an electric company because it is too remote and it simply doesn’t pay them to have the electric service run to these…

Guestpost: A Solar Decking Light Can Save You Money

A Linkable Solar Decking Tile with Four Bright White LED Lights

Everyone loves a backyard barbecue. And if you want that BBQ to kick on into the night, some kind of outdoor light is in order to keep a barbecue party ongoing until after sunset. Now you can use solar powered LED garden lights to light your parties, and have them come on automatically as it…

GuestPost: Conserving Water: Repipe Specialists and Plumbers – Their Difference

One aspect of sustainable suburban living is water conservation. Water is an essential resource, not only for drinking and washing but for growing our food. And increasingly it can be in short supply. Most cities in Australia are nowobserving  permanent water conservation measures, even though Australia’s long drought seems to have broken. The expectation is…

Twelve Easy Ways to Save Money on Electricity

Of course you can save money on electricity by going solar. But increasingly people are realising that you don’t always need to spend money to be green. In fact, what better way to be green than by consuming less? And even if you are looking to install solar panels on your roof soon, the less…

Installing Residential Solar Power Systems

two rows of solar panels cover one side of our home's roof

(This article updated in May 2012) It is is becoming more and more cost effective to install solar power in homes, around the world. This is not only because of the reduction in costs associated with building a rooftop solar power system (costs of PV solar panels dropped by around 50% in 2011 alone), but…

Why use LED garden lights?

Solar accent lighting along both edges of a garden path

LED garden lights come in all sorts of designs from novelty to serious landscape lighting. They can be used for general landscape lighting or to highlight particular areas of your garden – perhaps a path, a deck or patio area, or even for patio umbrella lights, or along a flight of stairs. Why use LED…