The lights are on at Pioneer Clubhouse Balgowlah! And what a great photo of the ZESN volunteer team including advisors: L-R: Linda Robertson, Chris Lee, Susie Morgan, Tina Jackson, Anna Josephson, Ursula Hogben, Kirsty Gold, Ann-Charlott Paduch, Harriet Cunningham and Lesley Treleaven, and a shout out to Dof Dickinson who couldn’t be here.

Our first Sunny and Share rooftop solar installation is a 13.3kW system for Pioneer Clubhouse, a mental health not-for-profit organisation in Balgowlah. This was funded by our events, Community Giving Fund and private donations, and was launched at a lunch party.

In spite of the cold and rainy day, there was a great crowd who enjoyed yummy food, a raffle, a sale of artwork and freshly potted succulents, speeches, a cake, fairy lights, music and dancing. How lovely to see so many friends and supporters including the Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan, Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, CEO of One Door Mental Health Kathi Boorman, and Bronwen Regan chief of staff for Federal MP for Warringah Zali Steggall OAM.

 

Thank you to the many people who made this possible! First, the hardworking Zero Emissions Solutions volunteer team and volunteer advisory board who brainstormed, dreamed, come up with ideas, and held many public and private events. Thank you everyone who came to our events and installed solar and switched to a renewable energy company through us, generating thank you contributions to our Community Giving Fund used to install this solar system. Thank you to Zali Steggall MP, Mayor Michael Regan, and the Northern Beaches Council for your support. Thank you also to Pioneer Clubhouse for embracing the idea and inviting us over, to Solarpro and Diamond Energy for their financial support. Thank you also to our event hosts, our customers, our supporters, and to our generous donors including Mosman IGA and many individuals!  Finally, thank you to Julie Gianessini for her beautiful photos which give you just a taste of the fun we had.

The last six months have been our busiest so far. This is a quick run down of just some of the things we’ve been up to. 

19 May: Kirsty & Anna from ZESN’s Advisory Group and Ursula attended the breakfast panel with Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment and Chris Bowen MP, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy: Climate risks and opportunities ahead. NSW has announced the ‘Energy Infrastructure Roadmap’ for renewable energy and recently announced EV initiatives.

19 May: Second Zero Emissions Schools Network Mosman event, hosted by Mosman Public School, chaired by ZESN, supported by Mosman Council.

21 May: Ann-Charlott, Ursula and local climate group friends joined the School Strike for Climate in Sydney, and tens of thousands of Australians joined in capital cities and towns across Australia, to support a net zero emissions target for Australia.

26 May: Tina from ZESN’s Advisory Group and Ursula supported the North Sydney Conversations launch event: The Climate Crisis: Hard Truths and Reasons for Hope, with author Sarah Wilson, Prof Lesley Hughes, climate scientist and MC Dan Illic. Recording here: https://northsydneyconversations.com.au/2021/04/21/truthsandhope/

 1 June: The fourth Mosman Council Climate Action Community Consultative Committee Meeting met to discuss Council’s draft Climate Action Plan – Resilience and Adaptation Strategy, with Mayor Corrigan, Cr Sherlock, Mosman Council team, and community members including Ursula from ZESN. The plan will be presented to Council in July 2021, then released for public consultation.

1 June:  Ursula hosted a Climate for Change Conversation with facilitator C4C Carly Robertson leading on effective communications and positive climate action. ZESN volunteers discussed volunteer events and training, with training experts Fay Redmond and Narween Otto helping organise the next events. All welcome to join the Volunteer Events and Training working group. 

3 June: Solar My House LIVE in Avalon, in collaboration with Our Blue Dot, hosted by Felix Williamson with Solarpro’s David Veal as our handy solar expert. A sell out, with people turned away at the door.

5 June: Mosman Markets: Lesley, Louise, Fay and the team ran the regular stall at Mosman Markets

5 June: Northern Beaches Simplifying Solar Expo: Ann-Charlott, Harriet and Chris manned a stall at NBC’s first Simplifying Solar Expo. 350 attendees came to sessions on solar and renewable energy, and then came by to chat with us and a range of businesses and organisations involved in sustainability, including SunSpot, the Australian Energy Foundation and the University of NSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering.

10 June: The launch of a new rooftop solar system at Pioneer Clubhouse, Balgowlah, attended by 30 guests including Michael Regan, Candy Bingham and Zali Steggall’s chief of staff.

If you’d like to work with us, or if you’d like us to visit your workplace or community group to talk about our activities, please get in touch. And if you’d like to be part of this vibrant community, come on in!

An electric car may be more affordable than you think. Two events in April offer the chance to find out more about affordable electric vehicles. 

EV Me Now!, a free webinar presented by renew.org next Monday 12 April at 7pm, organised by Clive Attwater, Vice-President of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, giving an update on EVs in Australia, Anthony Broese van Groenou, co-founder of the Good Car Co discussing affordable electric vehicles and bulk buys, and Ursula Hogben, co-founder of Zero Emissions Solutions discussing climate groups and Councils helping communities to decarbonise,

Book here: https://events.humanitix.com/ev-me-now-update-on-electric-vehicles-and-the-good-car-company-on-their-ev-bulk-buys

Second, we’ve organised an exclusive event with Tesla Chatswood for members and friends of Zero Emissions Solutions on Tuesday 20 April, from 6 pm to 7 pm. The Tesla is one of the world’s favourite electric vehicles. Attend the info session then book your test drive one one of the reserved Zero Emissions Solutions member test drive days. Contact Ursula Hogben with any questions.

Book here: https://events.humanitix.com/tesla-event-and-test-drives

Affordable electric car

Electric scooter

Affordable electric vehicles

Read more about electric cars, bikes and other clean alternatives here.  The Zero Emissions Transport group includes many EV owners and they are always happy to show off their vehicles. You can meet them at Mosman Markets on the first Saturday of the month. Have a crawl around a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla and a Hyundai Kona, plus check out the latest in affordable electric transport, the scooter! If you have a motorbike licence you can take it for a test drive. Otherwise, you can test ride the electric bikes on display. See you soon!

Electric wheels rule at the latest Mosman market…

Last Saturday we had electric cars, an electric motorbike, electric bicycles and electric scooters on display. Some were available to test drive as well (scooters and motorbikes for those with a licence).

Zero Bike
Thomas’s customised Zero S Bike

Huge thanks to the Zero Emissions market team volunteers at our stall, the Zero Emissions transport volunteers with cars and bikes, and to Eat my dust Scooters and Energy Electric Bikes.

Hyundai Kona, E-Bike and Tesla Model 3
Eat My Dust E-Scooters

Come and visit our next market on May 1 to see the latest in smart and fun ways to reduce your emissions.

You can also meet our friendly volunteers then make a pledge to reduce your emissions. We’ll do our best to answer all your questions about rooftop solar and reducing emissions together.

If you want to explore electric wheels before May 1 why not:

To join our Zero Emissions Transport working group, contact Ursula Hogben: electric@zeroemissionssolutions.org

This Wednesday 17 February representatives from every school in Mosman come together to attend the inaugural meeting of the Zero Emission Schools Network – Mosman. The aim: to take action on sustainability. The Mayor of Mosman, Councillor Carolyn Corrigan, will launch this exciting initiative to help schools establish sustainability programs. 

Dreaming of starting a sustainability group at your school? Start here

Zero Emissions Schools is thrilled to have participation from every Mosman LGA school, both public and private, from K-12.  Congratulations to:

10 top tips for schools and families

A common goal

The aim, says Zero Emissions Schools leader, Jenni Hagland, is to motivate each other by sharing ideas and promoting best practice. Most importantly, the initiative aims to develop more schools sustainability action for communities and bring about broader awareness regarding the climate crisis.  

Mayor Corrigan – Mosman Council Mayor, Loani Tierney – Environment Education Officer, Jenni – Zero Emissions Schools Network leader, and Ursula Hogben – Zero Emissions Solutions Co-Founder, will be at the launch, along with all of the Mosman LGA schools.

Schools climate action
Mosman Public School students announcing the installation of solar panels on their roof.

Find out more

Watch this space to hear how the meeting goes and how the plans unfold. Meanwhile, you might want to visit Australian Parents for Climate Action. This national group campaigns for funding for solar on schools and childcare centres.

To find out more about Zero Emissions Schools email: schools@zeroemissionssolutions.org

Harriet here, aka hello@zeroemissionssolutions.org. Do you want to volunteer for Zero Emissions? I’ll be setting up a jobs page on this website as soon as I get the time but, for now, a quick blogpost about some specific roles we’re looking to fill in our brilliant Zero Emissions Solutions community.

I wish, I wish for…

1. Tent wrangler

What: Packing up our market stall and driving the kit to local storage.

How long: 1 hour

How often: Once a month

On the first Saturday of each month we have a stall at Mosman markets. We pack up around 2.30pm, and we are looking for someone to help. Ideally, you are handy, fit, don’t swear too much, and have the use of a car so that you can help our volunteers dismantle the tent, pack up the bits and pieces and drive them to our storage spot round the corner in Mosman.

Contact: hello@zeroemissionssolutions.org

2. Instagram star

What: Curate our instagram account with fun pictures, sassy comments and links to our events / programs

How long: A few minutes a day and a fortnightly meeting on zoom

How often: 4 or 5 times a week

Social media is central to how we keep in touch, network and promote our activities, and at the moment we use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our brilliant insta curator, Camilla Tilly, has gone to Sweden to work with the groundbreaking agricultural cooperative Lantmannen. It’s a tough act to follow, but if you take good photos, want to make a difference, and don’t mind checking in with our comms manager (me) once a fortnight, please get in touch.

Contact: hello@zeroemissionssolutions.org 

3. Videographer and/or script writer

What: create video case studies to bring our solar stories to life

How long: Not gunna lie, I know this is very time-consuming. Every bit helps.

How often: completely up to you

Video case studies are incredibly useful for articulating how adding solar to your roof makes sense. We have some budget to pay for video services, but not nearly enough to create the five videos clips we are aiming in 2021. This is a big ask, but it also makes a big impact.

Contact: hello@zeroemissionssolutions.org

4. Trainee super hero

What: help out program leaders when they’re overwhelmed. Might be making cups of tea or picking up printing or sending some emails or walking a dog…

How long: how long is a piece of string?

How often: up to you, but a couple of hours a month would be great

If you’re between jobs, between uni studies, or just have a bit of time now and then and are happy to put your hand to anything, we’d love to hear from you.  Volunteer with Zero Emissions Solutions.

Can solar panel systems cause rooftop fires? A front page article in the Sydney Morning Herald today suggests there has been an increase in rooftop fires in recent years. Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Graham Kingsland says fires start in the direct current (DC) isolator switch, usually because of water getting in. The cause of rooftop solar fire risk is faulty installation or manufacture.

We asked David Veal, owner of Clean Energy Council-accredited company Solarpro, whether solar panel owners should be worried.

David’s take:

There are two reasons these isolators catch fire. First, water gets through the fitting because it is badly glued or not glued at all. Second, the wiring is not done correctly and left loose, or the polarity has been crossed.

Take a look at these two roof top isolators.
Fire risk DC isolators

The isolator on the left is the cheaper of the two by almost $30. I have put some of the fittings below it. These are screwed and glued into the little glands above them. The cables are then fed into the fittings and manually wired into the isolator. This is fiddly and time-consuming. It is a perfect trap for human error.

All cheap companies use these isolators because they are scrimping and saving every dollar. Plus the contractor pays for the extra time wiring them up. 

Quality costs a little extra and the devil is in the detail!

The isolator on the right is factory pre-wired, so it is guaranteed to be wired correctly and will not leak. At Solarpro we use these as our standard rooftop isolator and have done since they became available in 2014. With pre-wired ones the installers cannot get it wrong.

The conclusion: a badly-installed, cut-price DC isolator could be a rooftop solar fire risk. But if you use an experienced CEC-accredited installation specialist you can rest assured it will be well-installed and of good quality.

Zero Emissions Solutions runs regular information sessions, via Zoom and in person, hosted by volunteers. We design them to help people make the switch to using renewable energy and rooftop solar.

Our next Solar My House Info Session is on Wednesday, February 24, from 6.30-7.45pm. David from Solarpro will be our expert guest speaker. Attendance is free but places are limited, so sign up here as soon as possible. 

Some things are hard to talk about. But that’s no reason to stay silent. That’s where Climate for Change comes in.

Climate for Change is the only organisation in Australia specifically focused on helping people to have better discussions with their peers on climate change. Social research now recognises this  as key to building public support for the action we need.

C4C has identified Northern Sydney as an area which could have significant impact on public sentiment, so it is focussing efforts here early this year to test potential for growth.

C4C is inviting residents of Northern Sydney to host a Conversation or train as a facilitator. They held an information session last Saturday, 30 January. To catch their next one, subscribe to their newsletter.

This is a real opportunity to help build the climate movement in the North Sydney electorate. We can increase constituent pressure on our elected representatives, and help build the political will to act at scale and speed.

From a C4C participant:

I felt like I was taking a huge career risk, but it’s had a hugely positive effect on my career. Very senior people now know who I am and see me as a major thought leader within our organisation.

The C4C results are impressive: for every 10 people who attend a Climate Conversation, 7 change at least one behaviour. 8 talk more frequently about climate change with people around them and 3 divest. 2 change power companies, 4 make changes to their lives, such as eating less meat, and 5 contact politicians more frequently. Plus 5 increase their volunteering and donations to climate organisations.

Subscribe to their newsletter or explore their website to find out more. And look out for more news from us on how we are partnering with great organisations like C4C.

 

 

We know we need to do things differently to reduce our emissions. We know we need to change. But how? Kid Power, that’s how.

“It’s really difficult to talk to adults and ask them to change,” says Jenni Hagland, leader of Zero Emissions Schools program. “I had this epiphany one day at the bakery. There was an adult in line with his bread bag. I said, ‘Oh, that’s amazing,’ and he said, ‘My kids make me do it, I don’t want to.’

“It made me think: get the kids doing it, then their parents will change. It’s so much easier to get adults to change when their kids are involved.”

Jenni Hagland is new to ZESN but no newcomer to change-making. She has worked on sustainability for more than a decade. In 2006 she began working for the Carbon Disclosure Project, a global NGO based in London, followed up by work for the CDP in Hong Kong. She moved to Sydney in 2016 and started the Mosman Public School Sustainability Club in 2018.

Small beginnings

The club started small, fundraising for recycling bins, having ‘nude lunch’ challenges, turning off lights and installing LEDs. Then this April, after a year of planning and fund-raising, the school installed 50kW of solar panels on its roof. The system will provide 25% of the school’s electricity needs, saving $8,000 a year.

New to Zero Emissions Solutions

Now Jenni has joined Zero Emissions Solutions to work on sustainability in schools across the region, starting with a new range of resources available from the Zero Emissions website. There are practical, step-by-step guides to forming a school sustainability team, revving up your recycling and active transport, and making sustainability a part of the curriculum. Plus there are inspiring case studies from Mosman Public School and Manly Selective showing how young people are making change happen, and benefitting their schools and communities at the same time. Kid Power rocks!

“People overlook the impact kids have on their parents. You’re changing their behaviour at an early age, making them aware of the problem. These little people are going to turn into adults. I think it’s really important to make that not new or weird. It’s a part of their behaviour, and that will rub off at home, their parents will change, small business will respond to that, community will change.”

If you are inspired by these stories, if you want to help your school save money and carbon emissions, please get in touch.

 

As a partner with local real estate agency Cunninghams, Georgi Bates is often asked for advice on house builds, layouts and renovations. Should we put on solar? Should we have a battery? Does solar increase the value of my house?

When I drop by to talk about sustainability trends in real estate, the answers are clear. From the street, Matt and Georgi Bates’ house looks much like its neighbours: a weatherboard cottage with a picket fence and a bullnose verandah. But walk out the back and it’s all happening. There’s a new garage going up on the back boundary, complete with solar panels to heat the new pool. There’s an electric car charger, batteries and a green wall, ready to plant.

“We’re pretty much off the grid,” says Matt. “The oven’s running off the battery and we’re feeding to the grid. We have about 6kW [of panels] on the roof, providing about 5.5kW per hour. We realistically only need about 3kW per hour for our charging and usage.

“We’ve got a Tesla [car]. We’re putting in a pool. That’s going to have heating costs, but we’re not going to run it on gas. We’re putting more solar and another battery on. We will run it on the sun and the battery.”

Matt and Georgi’s top TV tips: Ewen McGregor’s Long Way Up, a rollicking adventure through South America on *electric* Harley-Davidsons!

A self-confessed sustainability nerd, Matt has driven the research and design of their renovation. Georgi, meanwhile, has driven the Tesla.

“I’m not a car person. But particularly during Covid, working from home, the Tesla is another office, another workspace. I recently got into a petrol car and it felt like a dinosaur. It was a nice car, but it’s amazing the difference of the sound and fuel compared to battery operated.”

Housing trends

Beyond their own home, Georgi is seeing interest in solar power, sustainable building and energy efficient housing growing.

“It starts with someone [putting on solar] in the street then everyone is curious. They all speak to Matt and ask about the benefits. And I’m starting to see more of a shift with people wanting to put green gardens on their garage roofs, or looking into rooftop gardens.”

New energy rating scheme

This trend is set to strengthen with recent developments in the building codes. At the moment the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme – aka NatHERS — requires new houses to score at least 6 out of 10 for energy efficiency. In 2021, NatHERS is set to be extended to existing homes, so that when you buy or sell, just like household appliances, each property will come with an energy efficiency star rating. At which point it’s not just about saving money on a power bill: it directly affects the value of your house. So Matt and Georgi are not just champions for sustainability: they’re smart investors. Does solar increase the value of my house? Yes.

“I think sustainability is the future of real estate. It will become one of the must haves.”

Georgi Bates is a partner at Cunninghams Real Estate. Whether you are looking to buy or sell, or just to find out more about the market, she’s happy to hear from you. And if you want to find out more about rooftop solar, explore our website or come to one of our free webinars