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Author: E. Han
Source: The Age
Date: 24th June 2015

1. WHITEGOODS – Within 20 years, fridges will monitor everything they store and warn you when items are nearing use-by dates, the leading energy efficiency expert from RMIT University, Adjunct Professor Alan Pears says. They could draft shopping lists. If there is an outage, their built-in coolth storage will keep food cold. They will also limit energy usage during expensive, peak periods.

2. WINDOWS – US researchers have developed a fully transparent solar panel, meaning that windows of the future can turn the sun’s energy into electricity. It consists of organic salts that absorb ultraviolet and infrared light, which then glow at another wavelength. Eventually, infrared light is guided to the edge of plastic, where thin strips of conventional photovoltaic solar cell convert it into electricity. 

3. FOOD APPLIANCE – Kitchens will have appliances such as the Food Cycler, a countertop composter that turns food scraps into odourless compost in three hours. At present, less than 5 per cent of the more than 30 million tonnes of organic waste that enters landfill each year gets recycled. Food waste produces methane gas.

4. WALLS – Homes will be built with a combination of wall types. Josh’s House uses a combination of reverse brick veneer and double-brick walling to boost internal thermal mass where needed. There is timber-framed walling, which has a lower embodied energy value and, therefore ,a lower carbon footprint, in areas where it’s not required.

5. ENERGY MONITOR – CSIRO-developed technology, called Eddy, will allow home owners to track their energy usage in real time and remotely switch on and off pool pumps, airconditioners and other items, via digital devices. Eddy also keeps track of electricity use, collects and analyses the data, and makes recommendations to help users save money.

6. ROOF – UTS researchers have developed a “cool roof”, consisting of specially chosen polyesters on a silver layer, that can stay cooler than the ambient air temperature, even under full summer sun, by as much as 11 degrees. They say it has major implications for reducing the heat island effect in urban areas and power demand from airconditioning.

7. HEATING/COOLING – Airconditioners could be the solution to, rather than a cause of, blackouts during intense heatwaves. ANU engineers have invented a solar-powered airconditioner which can cool homes in summer, warm them up in winter, and also deliver solar hot water all year round.

Read the article at The Age.