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  • #68726
    JulieMcLean
    Strataguru

      In her latest post to Flat Chat, Julie McLean, president of Strata Community Australia (Vic), explains the urgent need for strata to prepare for our z
      [See the full post at: Time to get serious about zero emissions]

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    • #68738
      Michael1941
      Flatchatter

        I live in Western Australia.

        I am a retired Professional Engineer.  I am amazed that the proposition that Carbon Dioxide is responsible for the possible Catastrophic Heating of the earth and that anything Australians do will have a measurable effect.

        Further it is very likely that electric cars will reach about 30% of city cars and no more.

        What about the fact that the increased CO2 content of the atmosphere has already increased the earths green biomass (forest, jungle and grassland) and has already increased world crop yields by an estimated 25% and there is no significant sign of catastrophic warming, despite all the forecasts.

        Many technically competent people do not accept the rubbish put out by the ABC and the Labour Party suggesting that we must rush to spend money to avert this disaster.

        Let’s wait and see how the current government’s aversion to fossil fuel in the development of the Australian electricity system works out. I suspect much higher costs and blackouts will be the result.

        #68746
        Jimmy-T
        Keymaster

          I published the above post in a desire to allow all opinions, regardless of how blinkered.  Are polar ice caps not melting, then? Are sea levels not rising? And as for Australia’s limited effect on the global picture, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Tell me, who was it who designed the structure of Mascot and Opal Towers, not to mention the Tasman Bridge? Engineers or environmentalists?

          The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
          • This reply was modified 11 months ago by .
          #68748
          Gram
          Flatchatter

            No, polar ice caps are not melting in a uniform fashion, the Arctic and Antarctic caps are entirely different beasts.

            Further, the Earth’s temperature over many decades has risen far less than the modelling by “experts” predicted.

            To destroy the economy in a wealthy country like Australia chasing a mirage of net zero, where the major emitters continue to emit greater and greater greenhouse gases is akin to suicide.

            There is no intellectual discussion about nuclear energy in this country, despite numerous other countries embracing the technology.

            We are asked to swallow the nonsense peddled by the likes of the Minister of Environment, Chris Bowen, that renewables are the answer, conveniently omitting the fact that we import solar panels and wind turbines from China, the world’s greatest emitter…and that neither of the “hardware” is “renewable”

            Madness.

            #68753
            Sir Humphrey
            Strataguru

              This is hardly the place, in my opinion, to be debating well-established science with people who have their heads in the sand. Aside from my interest in strata matters, I have spent a third of a century doing actual scientific research in leading research organisations, where you don’t get published unless your methods and results stand up to scrutiny. The onus is on the climate science deniers to explain how it would be possible for increased concentrations of CO2 and methane, which have been known to be greenhouse gases for over a century, to not be causing the clearly observed warming.

              That climate change is happening is demonstrated by so many diverse lines of evidence that all consistently point in the same direction that it is utterly undeniable by anyone fully conversant with facts. We would all prefer that it was not happening or that human activities were not the cause. Denial however is unhelpful. Physics doesn’t care what any of us would prefer to be true!

              If anyone actually had any credible evidence that showed that the science had somehow got it all wrong, then they would be in line for the next Nobel Prize. As someone who has worked in science research (as a biochemist, not in the climate area) for most of his adult life, I can assure you that a grand conspiracy among the world’s scientists is utterly implausible. There is nothing a scientist loves more than proving that other scientists are wrong about something. If that scientist has good evidence it gets accepted, but it had better be good. Showing that climate science is fundamentally wrong would need evidence of the same magnitude as showing that biological evolution didn’t happen or that we have completely misunderstood how electricity works.

              When people feed you climate science denial arguments, you can be assured that they have all been thought of and thoroughly considered, taken into account and debunked decades ago. Think about the big money interests that stand to gain from encouraging you to deny reality. It’s not science.

              • This reply was modified 11 months ago by .
              #68756
              JulieMcLean
              Strataguru
              Chat-starter

                Regardless of your own personal beliefs, the reality is the property market, big and small business has all moved on. They have all got behind doing the right thing by the environment.

                According to realestate.com.au’s Residential Consumer Omnibus Survey June-July 2022, more than 55% of respondents believe energy efficiency is extremely important in their home – a 17% increase on the prior year.

                The apartments and townhouses being delivered today, that on resale will compete with existing high energy consuming buildings, will not be connected to gas to reduce emissions and will instead use green electricity, have their own solar panels, heat pumps and come with electric vehicle charger infrastructure.

                And I can buy a 2 bedroom apartment like this for for under $700,000 or I can buy another older apartment and have a special levy anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 to retrofit and the Vendor accepts a lower price for their property.

                The market will ultimately drive the outcome and speed at which it will occur.

                Just like in the car industry. The manufactures have determined when they will stop producing ICE cars not government. At least six major automakers have committed to phasing out ICE cars by 2040  including Ford, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Volvo.

                 

                 

                 

                #68757
                Sir Humphrey
                Strataguru

                  I live in Western Australia…Further it is very likely that electric cars will reach about 30% of city cars and no more…

                  Where I live, BEVs are already 20% of new car sales, more than double what they were a year ago and that was double from the year before.  I have been driving electric since 2009 and exclusively electric since 2019. I would never go back to an ICE vehicle.

                  #68761
                  Jimmy-T
                  Keymaster

                    This is hardly the place, in my opinion, to be debating well-established science with people who have their heads in the sand.

                    I thought long and hard before approving the original post. But, as you can see, Sir H, there are plenty of Flatchatters who agree with your thoughts on global warming (myself included). I try not to censor comments to the Forum, preferring to leave it to other contributors to express alternative views.  So far, the people who agree with you outnumber the single climate denier by 5 to 1.

                    This became “the place” for these discussions when Julie McLean said zero emissions targets were a challenge for strata schemes that ought to be addressed now. I would hope that one result of this particular debate being opened will give our readers the ammunition to deal with the denialists and backsliders on their committees.

                    The denialist chatter largely occurs in the echo chamber of their own forums. I think (or at least hope) by revisiting the facts, here, we empower and energize the science-based views so that strata owners and residents can shoot down the nay-sayer opinions when they inevitably intrude into real-world discussions about spending strata finances on emission reduction programs.

                    The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                    #68776
                    Sir Humphrey
                    Strataguru

                      This is hardly the place, in my opinion, to be debating well-established science with people who have their heads in the sand.

                      I thought long and hard before approving the original post…This became “the place” for these discussions when…

                      Fair enough! It seems to this retired scientist that a disproportionate number of the deniers, if they claim to have any particular expertise, are retired engineers or geologists (who should know better).

                      The following is a useful site for anyone encountering one of the denialist talking points: https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php The site lists just about every argument and gives first a one line response but then links to a longer article that explains at a lay-person’s level, which in turn links to more technical information and ultimately to the original scientific literature for anyone wanting to look into a question that far.

                      I also find myself fielding plenty of questions on EV charging in strata communities. Where I live, 6% of our units now have an EV that they charge where they normally park.

                      I’ll get back to not ‘ending the weekend’ now, towing my camper trailer with my electric car and using its handy vehicle-to-load facility at off-grid camping sites.

                      #68782
                      The Hood
                      Flatchatter

                        “This is hardly the place, in my opinion, to be debating well-established science with people who have their heads in the sand.”

                        It is the early 1900s and the worlds scientist are convinced there is a ‘spacial ether’. A greater percentage of scientist believed that than believe in man made global warming.  We now know they were wrong in early 1900s.
                        Do not rush to take ‘well established’ science to the bank.
                        I know that the ‘whole’ scientific community can be wrong.
                        I am not passing judgment on global warming science but I am passing judgement on those who are told something is true and blindly trust it is so and then use emotive and dismissive language like “head in the sand”.

                        It is “head in the sand” to dismiss that at times in history a greater percentage of scientist have been wrong.

                        It isn’t about car emissions, it is about the unsustainable consumption. Charging stations and electric cars aren’t going to save the world but we are led to believe it is a step in the right direction. It isn’t really.

                        #68808
                        Sir Humphrey
                        Strataguru

                          …I know that the ‘whole’ scientific community can be wrong…

                          Extremely improbable on this. As a philosophical position, science always concedes that something could come along tomorrow to disprove some position. However, it can also ascribe a level of confidence to such statements. What else would science have to have wrong for the fundametals of the modern understanding on climate change to be wrong? There is so much that routinely and consistently works and makes sense that would have to have been completely misunderstood for the fundamentals on climate change to also be wrong that it is just plain utterly implausible that it is wrong. The physics behind the way molecules like CO2 absorb infra-red radiation has been well documented for over a century and nothing has ever happened in a laboratory or in observations of nature to even hint that we might have got anything wrong about that.

                          It would be like saying that the fundamentals on the Theory of Evolution in biology are wrong. Possible in principle but as someone famously said “Nothing in biology makes any sense except in the light of evolution.” There are so many diverse lines of evidence that all consistently point the same way that Evolution is elevated to Theory, not mere hypothesis.

                          It would be like telling an engineer that everything we thought we understood about the way a suspension bridge stays up was wrong. It is possible but so unlikely that we can be comfortable about continuing to build bridges based on the consensus understanding.

                          The evidence on the fundamentals of climate change are as clear and confident as those examples. Of course we would all wish that it were not true but wishing doesn’t make the problem go away.

                          …Charging stations and electric cars aren’t going to save the world but we are led to believe it is a step in the right direction. It isn’t really…

                          Of course EVs will not save the world if they are the only emissions reduction measure we undertake. However, given that people are going to keep buying cars, making EVs is a lot better than continuing to make cars that burn fossil fuel. An electric car quickly repays the increased emissions required for its production and they only get cleaner as the electricity grid gets increasing proportions of renewable generation. An EV already produces lower emissions on our still coal-heavy grid and they get less polluting with every passing year. We are already past 36% renewables in the past year and should be past 80% by 2030. An ICE vehicle never gets less polluting.

                          With EVs, we also get other benefits. Aside from the reduction in global pollution, we can also greatly improve health in cities with reductions in local air pollution. They contribute to energy security. No longer would we need liquid fuels dependent on dodgy regimes half way around the world and long, expensive-to-defend supply lines. No longer would we need to get involved in wars to secure those liquid fuels coming from ever more remote and difficult to extract locations, with greater emissions for extraction, transport and processing before we even get to burn the stuff on our streets. Instead we can run our transport on energy generated in Australia from diverse, distributed sources, which is inherently more robust.

                          On top of that they are just much nicer cars to drive and much cheaper to operate.

                           

                          #69858
                          Tim Eltham
                          Flatchatter

                            Now that the heat surrounding this post seems to have subsided, it is perhaps time that we returned to Julie McLean’s original point, namely that strata committees need to start planning for full electrification of their buildings.

                            This issue is not going to go away. Unit owners, residents and prospective buyers are increasingly expecting that apartment buildings will become more like the millions of homes that already enjoy the financial benefits of solar panels, the hundreds of thousands of homes that have installed batteries to maximise the benefits of their solar panels and the increasing number of dwellings that are leaving gas behind. Some strata committees are already moving in this direction and many more would like to know where they can begin.

                            The body corporate committee of our apartment building in Brisbane recognised the changing climate of opinion (if you will excuse the pun) and early in 2020, started looking at how they might introduce solar energy into the scheme. The outcome was the purchase and installation of a solar energy system to support the building’s electricity requirements for its common needs – lift, lighting, basement carpark gate, pumps and the like. The system has been operating since September 2020.

                            The committee has recently produced a case study on how it went about this project and what the financial outcomes have been. In short, the power bills for common services have been cut by over 60% and the payback time for the capital cost of the system is just over 3 years. Because the body corporate owns the solar energy system, we are able to change our electricity retailer when their prices get out of kilter with other retail offerings in the market; we are not locked in to a specific supplier as you probably will be with an embedded system. We are also free to source our mains electricity from those retailers with greener credentials than the major players if our owners wish to go down that path.

                            The committee is now turning its attention to planning for a more integrated system that will encompass a move away from gas to heat our centrally provided hot water, the installation of a suitable battery to maximise the generating capacity of the solar panels we have, the gradual introduction of electric vehicle charging and hopefully, the extension of solar power to individual apartments. We are quietly confident that over time, these changes will be reflected in higher market valuations of properties in the scheme as well as generating ongoing savings for owners and occupants.

                            A copy of our case study can be obtained by simply sending me a message with your contact details and we will be happy to send you a copy.

                            #69863
                            Sir Humphrey
                            Strataguru

                              …strata committees need to start planning for full electrification of their buildings. This issue is not going to go away…The committee has recently produced a case study on how it went about this project and what the financial outcomes have been…

                              Excellent. Well done.

                              In short, the power bills for common services have been cut by over 60% …

                              I always recommend that Owners Corporations (OCs) look to see first how solar, energy efficiency, gas replacement etc could create savings on common property expenses. An advantage of that is the costs are shared equitably in proportion to unit entitlements and the benefits resulting from lower on-going costs to the OC are automatically shared in proportion to unit entitlements. Consequently, there can be no complaint that the arrangements are not utterly equitable.

                              … the gradual introduction of electric vehicle charging…

                              Good. It’s not all or nothing. Every building is different but a key point with EV charging is that it can be incremental with sensible planning. Just don’t assume linear uptake; it’s exponential.

                              …We are quietly confident that over time, these changes will be reflected in higher market valuations of properties in the scheme as well as generating ongoing savings for owners and occupants.

                              Yep. I reckon people will be surprised how quickly all this is seen as crucial. We are in the exponential uptake phase.

                              #69869
                              Jimmy-T
                              Keymaster

                                I drove an electric car for the first time last weekend – from Hobart to Launceston – and I’m afraid my inner hoon took over at points.  Zipping past lines of fossil-fuelled cars at the end of overtaking sections had an unexpected sense of exhilaration.  My philosophical issue is that if we sell our rarely used sporty little Audi S1 and buy a new electric car, some boy racer will get their hands on it, drive it every day and the net effect on the environment will be negative.

                                The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                                #69870
                                Sir Humphrey
                                Strataguru

                                  …My philosophical issue is that if we sell our rarely used sporty little Audi S1 and buy a new electric car … the net effect on the environment will be negative.

                                  Perhaps, since your Audi is rarely used. However, your comment is similar to others I often see. People often make the mistake of thinking only of the swap of an EV for their particular current ICE vehicle.

                                  Usually, when someone buys a new EV, their probably still good, probably quite recent model ICE vehicle is bought by someone who might have bought a new ICE vehicle. This is good – both parties not adding another new ICE vehicle to the fleet. That person sells their older but still quite efficient and inexpensive car. It will be good value for someone who sells their yet older car to someone who keeps it running for a few more years. That person’s old car is badly polluting, running poorly, needs expensive repairs and gets scrapped and its materials largely recycled.

                                  The car that gets displaced out of the fleet when someone buys a new EV is generally the least good, most polluting vehicle. All along the chain outlined above, each person generally gets a newer, better, more efficient vehicle than their previous one.

                                  JT, your Audi, even if driven every day by a boy racer, would probably be replacing some other car that had been driven every day by that boy racer. The car that your EV ultimately displaces would be something completely clapped out. Your purchase of an EV would give everyone in the chain of used car purchases a better used car than they had previously and probably a net reduction in emissions from the vehicles in that chain.

                                  Most people, most of the time buy used cars. However, we need the people who do buy new cars to get vehicles with the lowest emissions possible because they will be the used cars being bought 3, 5, 10 and 20 years from now by everyone else as they work their way through a chain of owners.

                                  We can’t afford to have new ICE vehicles continuing to enter the fleet. If someone needs a new car and they can’t yet find an EV that suits them (for whatever reason), I recommend that they instead purchase a newer/better/more suitable used vehicle rather than adding another ICE vehicle to the overall fleet.

                                   

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