Thursday, August 23, 2007

Energy Forum

We attended a sustainable high rise living forum on Tuesday night. The sandwiches were yummy. We walked into town and ran across an old workmate of mine, Gudgera? for the benefit of some. We chatted as we walked along St Kilda Road but by the time we reached the Arts Centre, I had had enough, said our goodbyes and I steered R down to the river. While he is an ok guy, we were running out of things to say. We were going to eat in town before the forum, but we then decided we would eat at South Gate food court. Not a bad quickie meal really.
The forum was organised by our body corporate managing company.
It was the usual bang on about light globes, water, air conditioning and SHOWER HEADS. I did learn a couple of things that I did not know, such as double glazing that receives direct sunlight acts as a radiator into a building. One speaker talked about some commercial buildings where they had done an energy audit and then implemented a plan to reduce energy use and the savings in dollar terms were around 60 to 80 per cent. Astonishing. For a highrise building like ours, they managed around thirty per cent just by using more efficient lighting, adding timers and sensors. We already have a lot of these things, so I doubt our building could save so much.

Our body corp head honcho person organized the forum and emceed it. She is French Canadian, not that that is relevant. She did quite a good job. I just wish her reading glasses would sit straight on her face.

One speaker was a university lecturer and he brought along some of his students. They were terribly busy writing and taking notes. One in particular grabbed my attention. He had red dreads wrapped in a scarf. The only time he stopped writing was to smile approvingly and clap or cheer his lecturer, who was short, maybe fifty and not too slim. I could see a very strong attachment by this guy to his lecturer. Interesting. Red dread looked like he lived in a shared student house in Carlton and would be in any public protest against authority. God knows what he really thought of us all of us high rise people using so much energy. Middle class wankers I suppose. He ought to try getting up for work at four in the morning, or not getting home from work until four in the morning......for nearly thirty years. Only then would I argue the point with him.

The forum was held in the Supper Room of Melbourne Town Hall. Given it was about the energy that large buildings like ours use, it was odd that the room was overheated. A woman started fanning herself. Eventually the emcee asked for the heating to be turned off, thank god. I was in a shirt and starting to perspire.

Melbourne Town Hall is a very old building and quite nice in a very serious manner. The light fittings in the room would be old. They are branch lights with five incadescant bulbs per branch, plus some wall lights. A total of 86 bulbs, plus a good few more where supper was served. Quite incongruous for an energy forum.

As we walked to the event and would catch the tram home, we scored three Sunday Saver tickets, plus a Renew magazine, and a four minute shower timer, egg style. Haven't seen sand through the hourglass for years. So are the days of our lives.

We came home full of vigour to reduce our lighting impact. As we went through it all, we realised that there was not much we could do. We hardly use overhead lighting, so there is no point replacing that.

What did surprise me was the amount of power some things use when plugged in but not actually being used. Of course tv, but phone charger? Microwave oven? Anything with an electronic display. Again, can't do much. All the power points for such things are where they are not seen and cannot be easily accessed.

It was an interesting and worthwhile forum though. People really are trying to reduce the energy impact, but so many things stand in their way.


  1. "Haven't seen sand through the hourglass for years. So are the days of our lives." That's funny.

    A most informative and enjoyable post. It had it all really.

    Cheers, Denys.

  2. Given your quote, I assume you know who Bo and Hope are? Talk about tragic!

  3. Thanks Denys.
    Nope Daisy, haven't seen it since I was a school boy. There was a woman in love with a man but having an affair.......well, nothing changes does it.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.