- "To Solar Carport or Not to Solar Carport, that Is the (or at Least a) Question" - This is a well-argued case from the Huffington Post which may interest those thinking about installing a solar carport . The original article is here.
News - To Solar Carport or Not to Solar Carport,that Is the (or at Least a) Question
Most people think, and most analysis occurs, in a stove-piped fashion — thinking of issues in channels of problem and solution without consideration of second- and third-order effects. Difficult in conception and more costly in resources (whether brain cells, time or cash), narrow and constrained thinking often fosters (not just far from optimal but) simply bad decisions. This is true across virtually all of human existence. The energy arena is far from an exception to this problem. From not considering lifetime electricity use when buying Christmas lights to using the “commodity” price rather than delivered cost (“fully burdened cost of fuel“) in military procurement decisions to only discussing energy-savings returns off insulation or new windows without talking about comfort or health benefits in the house to ignoring the productivity benefits from greening workplaces (and schools), the limited nature of thinking when it comes to energy and environmental issues is hard to exaggerate. (And, of course, these are only benefits “within the decision maker” rather than all the externalities — both benefits and costs — that are left out of the economic transitions.) The all-too-often limited lens restricts us (all of us) to sub-optimal or simply wrong decisions.Thinking about solar carports provides a window on this issue.A recent email correspondence with a top-notch scientist provides a window on the challenge of thinking narrowly vs. the difficulty (but greater accuracy) of broader analysis. In discussions related to the solar-roadways concept, we had the following exchange about solar carports.
Article 3 - News
Economic growth doesn't have to wreck environment
Original News story by ROSS GITTINS
I think that most of us care about our environment, even those climate change sceptics I don't think want to ruin our environment but in most cases just put growth and wealth above everything else. Ross Gittins of the Sydney morning Herald gives us some good news in his article Economic growth doesn't have to wreck environmentHe is pointing out that we have economic growth happening in Australia, which is good for us all, but at the same time our negative impact on our environment is improving - not disappearing but improving!
Official agency publication - economic growth doesn't have to wreck environment
An official agency has published some good news on the subject just two weeks ago. The Australian Bureau of Statistics published its “Australian environmental-economic accounts” for 2015-16, which contained what certainly looks like good news, but interestingly it has attracted minimal interest from the media and environmental groups.
I've written a few blogs about how we Australians, some of the quickest in the world to adopt new technologies, are lagging behind when it comes to generating our own solar power. Is this another example of our apathy on the subject of increasing economic growth BUT at the same time caring for our environment and the future of our children and grandchildren?I do care about our environment and this is a really good -news story.Another good-news story would be the interest shown so far in the release of Australia's first solar carport kits In just over a month, we have had over 63,000 hits on our website and many inquiries. Solar Carports are another small step in creating power for our future economic growth without destroying our environment in the process another pointer to the fact that economic growth doesn't have to wreck environment.
News - Solar and solar ready carports will protect your car and generate your electricity
Article 4 - News
News - Are you storm prepared?
The RACQ are aware of the damage our weather than cause to our vehicles. Solar carports will protect your car and generate your electricity so its a 2 in 1 sensible upgrade for your home or small business.We read from them"Every year violent storms, flooding and large hail damage thousands of Australian vehicles. Many are ‘written off’ because they are considered uneconomical to repair. Find out how you can protect your car from storms.
Keeping your car under cover during these events will offer the greatest protection against damage, however this isn’t always possible or practical.
Here are some tips to protect your car from storm related damage.
Plan ahead. If a storm is forecast, try to make arrangements to park your vehicle under cover, delay the trip or use alternative modes of transport.
If caught in a storm, look for safe shelter. This could include a covered car park, a service station awning, under a bridge etc. Don’t place yourself or others at risk by where you choose to shelter. Be considerate of property owner’s rights if sheltering on private property.
Safety should always be your priority
Don’t park or shelter under trees. They can be blown over or drop branches.
Don’t speed up to beat a storm. This can lead to a crash – instead look for a safe place to shelter until the storm passes.
If caught in a severe storm where visibility is reduced, try to pull well off the road to avoid being hit by other traffic.
Turn on lights to increase visibility while driving and use the hazard lights if you are forced to stop at the side of the road. Wherever possible choose a safe place to stop.
If it’s flooded – forget it. Even relatively shallow flowing water can sweep vehicles away.
Consider where you park. If the area has a history of flooding in extreme weather events, find somewhere else to stop.
If your home or yard is prone to flooding organise a safe alternative parking spot for your car.
News - Are you storm prepared?
While we live in the Sunshine State, us Queenslanders know it's not always blue skies. From cyclones, floods and summer storms, we've experienced our fair share of natural disasters. Alarmingly, RACQ statistics show half of all Queensland homeowners have done nothing to prepare for the upcoming storm season. So, are you and your family prepared for when disaster strikes next? Take a look at the first RACQ TV episode about being storm prepared. It has a checklist of simple things to do around your home to make sure you're ready for that next storm.
A new carport that complements the style of the older home.Carport building regulations can vary from state to state and even council to council. The information on this page is meant as a guide only; you will need to check with your local authority as to what is permissible in your area.The below is a list of things you should check with your local authority before building a carport.
How do I find the right information?
It can be very challenging finding the right information for your property. The best place to start is your local council website. Many have fact sheets on their websites for carports and minor domestic structures – simple search for ‘carport’ in the search box in the home page.
What is a carport?
Most of the legislation defines a carport as a structure primarily used for housing a vehicle that is open on at least two sides and one third of the carport’s total perimeter.In the Building Code of Australia (BCA), a carport is classified as a Class 10a Building.
How many carports can you have?
In NSW, you’re allowed one carport per residential dwelling on the site. Other states appear not to have specified this criteria or it varies from local council to local council.
When are carports not allowed?
If you have a small or unusually shaped section, check the local regulations to see if a carport is allowed on your property. For example, in NSW, when the property is less than 8m wide and there is no vehicle access from a secondary road (i.e. not the primary road), a carport cannot be built.In many states, a battleaxe section requires space to turn the car around so it can drive off the property in a forward direction, limiting where (or if) a carport can be placed.
Will the carport need a building permit?
It’s best to assume that your carport will require a permit – most states require one and it’s a good place to start.
New South Wales
Should the carport meet the specific development standards in the policy, it doesn’t need a permit – see this information sheet here.If any heritage item (or proposed item), is on the site, the carport will need a permit.In foreshore areas, the carport will need a permit.
Under Schedule 8 of the Building Regulations 2006, a carport (as a Class 10a building), does not need a permit if
The floor area is less than 10m2.
The height is less than 3m or 2.4m within 1m of the boundary.
It is attached to another building on the same property
Is located behind the front wall of the main building
Is not constructed of masonry
Carports will usually need building approval. This can be obtained from an NT-registered Building Certifier or an approved Self-Certifying Manufacturer.
Carports require a permit from the local council.
You will generally need building approval for a carport. The zone your property lies within is very important, so be sure you know which zone you live in.
You will need to apply for approval in most cases from the local council or a private certifier. Fortunately, carports that meet the requirements laid out in the Residential Code require only building approval, not planning assessment or consent, and they should be approved within 25 working days.
Carports require a Building License and Development Approval.
What is the maximum height and floor area of the carport?
Maximum heights vary, as does the part of the structure is being measured to ascertain the ‘height’. You will need to contact your local council to find out what applies to you and keep these things in mind:
The maximum height may change depending on how close the carport is to the boundary and neighbouring buildings.
There may also be considerations for the average height of the building, if the carport is to be attached to an existing structure.
Shading of other houses needs to be taken into account when deciding on the height of the building.
Floor area allowances also vary and in some states, the zoning of the property may affect how large the carport area can be. Before you decide on the size of your carport, know for certain which zone you are in.
What are the limitations on placing a carport near the boundary line or with concern to easements?
The frontage setback will be subject to local Council controls which will dictate how close the building can be built to the footpath. Don’t assume you can build it where you like...check first!
What are the regulations concerning carports in bushfire prone areas?
As stated in the BCA, a Class 10a building associated with a Class 1 building (a residential home) needs to provide resistance to bushfires. Further, a class 10a must not significantly increase the risk of fire spread between buildings.For those in bushfire prone areas, it’s advisable to read through “184.108.40.206 Class 10a buildings” for a full description.
How should you dispose of the water from the roof?
An oft-forgotten aspect of building a carport is the rainwater run-off. The states listed below appear to have requirements for carport rainwater runoff disposal.
In NSW, any water that runs off the roof of your carport must run into an existing stormwater drainage system.At the time of writing,
Victoria was revising their rainwater collection rules to be more environmentally friendly.In
Queensland, the rules appear to change from council to council. For example, Ipswich Council advises roofwater must be piped to an appropriate stormwater discharge point, while Gympie encourages the use of rainwater tanks.
South Australia appears to be more flexible on how the water will be disposed, but it must be outlined in the building approval application.
Can you connect the carport to the house?
So long as it’s within the engineer’s specifications. This can be tricky to do properly. An engineer should view the plans of your house and ensure that the carport is fitted securely to the FRAME of the house and not just the cladding on brick.
Electric cars are bringing renewed interest in carports that go beyond simple protection and display. Electric cars can be charged with solar; solar panels can provide shelter – suddenly, the multi-tasking carport is a design thing. Witness the beautiful carbon fibre and bamboo Solarport concept from BMW Designworks USA.
Designer Tom Allemann describes it as “an entirely new generation of carports that allows energy to be produced in a simple and transparent way. "[With] lightweight design [that’s] both visible and palpable”. What he means is that BMW is working with Californian company Phatenergy to use solar panels. The wiring is hidden in the frames and the panels themselves are translucent. This allows light in while they generate electricity. Our near future will contain electric cars. These function as portable batteries, storing power not only for transport but also for our living spaces. This will be the next major rethink of the car/house interface. When the vehicle literally holds the power, even non-enthusiasts may welcome cars into the hearts of their homes. Posted on
Article 6 - News
A folding car shelter
A folding car shelter is often categorized under temporary car shelters. They can be folded up to be stored away when you’re done, and easily relocated according to your needs. Most folding shelters are constructed of strong steel tubes and waterproof fabric. With this having been said, many drivers don’t really understand the differences between car shelters. Many of them make the mistake of purchasing the cheapest shelter they can find which often leads to disaster. There are a few things to consider when shopping for a brand-new foldable car tent. Some will be highlighted below!
*Is the foldable car shelter easy to maintain?
Some shelters have specialty fabrics or construction that may need to be maintained on a regular basis. This, of course, is hardly ideal for many drivers. Drivers are busy and need to spend their time focusing on other aspects of their property. Any car shelter as your temporary garage, you’re looking to purchase of the foldable variety should be flexible. It must have minimum maintenance over time.
*Does the shelter have steel tube construction?
Regardless of where you live and the weather conditions in your area, you need to ensure that the shelter you invest in right now is not only going to protect your car, but it can withstand severe weather conditions should the need arise. Foldable car shelters need a steel tube construction in order to stand up to severe winds and storms. If a foldable shelter has a weak construction, it may end up collapsing on your car. This can cause lasting damage.
*Is the car shelter the correct size for your vehicle?
Foldable car shelters come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to measure twice and buy once. Most of them take a one-size-fits-all cars approach, but you need to ensure that you’re not needlessly spending money. Know the dimensions of the allotted space you have for your folding shelter. Know the size of your car, and the actual size of the shelter itself. By taking the time to measure everything, you can ensure that your vehicle can properly fit the tent you choose.
*Is the shelter easy to install?
One of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself is: how will you put together and install your new folding car garage? The idea behind most car shelters is that they should be easy to transport and put together on your own over the weekend. Of course, this may not always be the case dependent upon the originating manufacturer and the actual construction of the tent. Take the time to research and compare different shelters to ensure you’re purchasing the right one.
*Is the shelter 100% waterproof, UV resistant, windproof, and rust resistant?
It’s important to choose a car shelter manufacturer that guarantees your shelter being 100% waterproof and storm proof. The shelter should be properly sealed off with the correct tape to ensure there is no water leakage into the tent that may harm your vehicle. Quality foldable car shelters also come with a UV-resistant layer that can ensure your car isn’t damaged by the harsh rays of the sun. Last but not least, rust resistance is an important factor to take into consideration when you live in an area with high humidity and plenty of rain.Now that you know what to look for in a quality foldable car tent, it’s important to shop around and choose the one that’s right for your vehicle. Not only are these car storage solutions affordable, but they can last quite a few years if you do choose one with quality construction in mind.
Article 7 - News
Sydney apartment block first to retrospectively install solar panels, now has half the energy bills
The first apartment block in Australia to retrospectively install solar panels and a battery system has slashed its energy bills by more than half in its first year of operation. And the 40 residents of the small, three-storey building, who comprise tenants and students on low incomes, say this could now serve as the prototype for apartments across the country.
“Our example really shows what’s possible,” says one of the renters of an apartment in the Newtown heritage building, Sydney University neuroscience student Edie Griffin, aged 20.
Students living at Stucco pose with the building’s rooftop solar panels. Photo: Stucco
“This hasn’t been done before but it’s made a real difference to us and our bills. I usually pay a three-monthly electricity bill of about $97 and now that’s down to just $29. It’s been a really wonderful experiment.”
In December 2016, residents, with the blessing of their landlord and grants from various sources, installed 114 solar panels and 36 batteries to store solar power during peak hours when electricity prices are three to four times the off-peak cost.
Over 2017, they’ve just revealed, they saved about 55 per cent on their usual electricity bills while living at the block Stucco, paying an average of $240 a year, compared with an estimated $540 if they were still buying their power normally.
Sydney University neuroscience student Edie Griffin. Photo: Supplied
They even produced more hours of renewable energy than they could use, so they sold excess power back to the grid. The project, a brainchild of a former resident student, Dr Bjorn Sturmberg – who came up with the idea while completing his PhD in physics about how to improve efficiency in solar cells – cost $130,000, which will pay for itself within six years.
“There are three main hurdles apartment buildings have to overcome if they want to do something similar,” Dr Sturmberg, who’s now founded a social enterprise SunTenants helping other rentals go solar. “Firstly, you need enough space on your rooftop to install panels. They can also be installed on to a façade too if you’re not overshadowed.
“Secondly, you have to get your strata committee to agree. They must free up some money from their funds to invest in clean energy. And thirdly, there’s the regulatory landscape. I thought this would take three months to sort out, but ended up taking 18. But hopefully we’ve now set some precedents with the regulator. This will make it much easier for others following in our footsteps.”
Their system effectively set up a micro grid that all residents shared with a software system in place to keep track of how much power each unit used, to bill each apartment individually.
Dr Sturmberg says that if that’s too challenging for larger blocks, maybe they could start off by setting up a solar system just to provide electricity for common areas. Lighting in car parks, foyers, lobbies and gyms, and power for lifts and to heat pools. “With rentals, studies have shown that tenants are happy to pay higher rents in return for cheaper energy bills”. “Our example has shown that Australia’s apartment sector can access clean, renewable energy, and also cut the cost of living for everyone there.”
Ms Griffin agrees. “As we’re students, we don’t have much money and this system has provided savings. This has allowed us to work less and study more,” she says. “It makes living in a city so much more affordable. “Hopefully now others can see the value of installing solar into their apartments and enjoying the savings.”