Episode 4 – Major PV upgrade

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

2019

For years we’d been tossing around options for increasing our solar performance without losing our high feed-in tariff (56c/kWh) for the 4.8kW PVs that were installed when the Christie Walk community built the Sturt Apartments in 2006.

But by 2019 it became clear that preserving the high feed-in tariff was a false economy. We’d be better off financially and environmentally if we replaced the PVs and inverters with a high performance 21kW system.

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Episode 3 – Evacuated tube solar hot water boosters

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

May 2018

We started investigating the retrofit option for our hot water system: installing solar collectors as boosters to our existing heat pump hot water. One company stood out as a solid option: RunOnSun, based in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. Their website wouldn’t win a Webby Award for design, but the content is comprehensive and very educational. MD Andrew Butterworth has spent more than a decade applying Sydney University research on evacuated tube solar hot water and finessing it for efficiency and robust performance. The fixings supplied by RunOnSun are robust too; more than adequate to secure the system in cyclone conditions.

We decided to split the retrofit project into two stages. Stage 1 – 60 evacuated solar collector tubes – would be evaluated before moving onto Stage 2 – an additional 48 evacuated tubes.

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Episode 2 – Doing a carbon inventory

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

November 2017

I received an email inviting me to a meeting with the Carbon Neutral Adelaide team. They were scoping out a number of sites for selection as a possible “Carbon Neutral Showcase Site” and Christie Walk was on the list.

This was very exciting.

An important goal at Christie Walk is to act as a sustainability model, to demonstrate what’s possible, and to motivate others to take action. Close cooperation with Carbon Neutral Adelaide would enhance that outreach work.

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Episode 1 – In hot water again

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

April 2016

Our apartment building (Sturt Apartments at Christie Walk) was nearly ten years old. It was time to start thinking about sustainability upgrades to reduce our carbon footprint.

Lighting was an easy place to start.

We worked with Adelaide lighting maintenance specialists Globebusters, who replaced unreliable CFL lights in our atrium stairwell and entranceway with long-life LED oyster lights and floodlights. In the courtyard, twin LED sensor floodlights replaced the old energy-hungry incandescent lights.

May 2016

Hot water; one of life’s great privileges. But our little luxury comes at a cost for us, and a carbon-cost for our warming planet. It’s a particular issue in our 4-level block of 13 apartments.

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Aiming beyond NetZero at Christie Walk

Adventures with an environment-conscious inner-urban community

I’m fortunate to live at Christie Walk in Adelaide. It’s a community of 27 homes and gardens on 2,000m2. It was initiated by Urban Ecology Australia in 1999 as a demonstration project, to promote ecologically-sustainable and community-enhancing urban design and development.

The buildings range from stand-alone straw-bale homes to a 4-level apartment block, all designed for comfortable high-density but low-energy living.

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Eco-city dreaming comes true

The facilitator asked us to do some dream-work.  That’s normally not so hard, but there we were, standing in an awkward-shaped T-allotment strewn with bits of broken glass and featuring some derelict out-buildings.  The site had previously been a city recycling depot and in a way one of our goals was to continue that recycling heritage.  We were asked to dream of what the features would be for our ideal sustainable-living community on the site. 

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A ray of hope

Today – the 11th anniversary of Nicola’s untimely death – I needed an extra ray of hope in the gloom of grief. It arrived from an unexpected source.

There’s another anniversary in December that’s also important to me. December 12th 2015 saw the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement.

I noticed that Nicola is included in the dedication to Kaveh Guilanpour’s fine photoessay on climate diplomats at the Paris negotiations.

Photo: Kaveh Guilanpour

It’s so heartening to see the faces and words of negotiators from around the world – from local activists to Heads of State – as they explain to Kaveh their motivation to fight climate change.

So many people working so hard to salvage the future. That’s a ray of hope for sure.

Gail Kingston's Hot Foot Jazz

Intensive care for arts and culture?

In July 2008 I booked a ticket to San Francisco. I was double bass player for Gail Kingston’s Hot Foot Jazz and we were making plans to appear at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in May 2009.

This was a big deal for us. The band was in peak form; we’d just completed a new CD “Can You Tame Wild Wimmen” and Gail was hot favourite as we toured to jazz festivals across south-eastern Australia.

Gail Kingston's Hot Foot Jazz

Gail Kingston’s Hot Foot Jazz at Tooleybuc NSW, June 2008. Brian Loffler (double bass), Derek Dalton (trumpet), Ron Bash (reeds), Gordon Coulson (trombone), Harold Phillis (piano), Dave Sutton (drums), Gail Kingston (leader, vocals), Tony West (banjo)

Exposure in the US would be a breakthrough; we’d tighten up our stagecraft and have a chance to mix it with some of the best traditional jazz musicians from around the world.

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Loxton Fossils

Have you been to the Riverland lately? Here are 5 good reasons to plan a weekend away at Loxton in April.
1. Join us for this special one-night-only event in historic Loxton. Fossils will bring to life for you the best folk songs of the 60s, 70s and later, many made famous by the wonderful Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service is the health lifeline for thousands of rural people. Have a great night out on Saturday 14th April 2018 and help us raise money for this essential service.
Tickets $20. Bookings: ph 0408325021.
Read more about Fossils previous events and more details of the Loxton Concert.
Fossils in Loxton

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Fossils benefit concerts have raised $20,000

We’ve had a lot of fun presenting our three Fossils benefit concerts in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for Lutheran Community Care’s social welfare programs.  And it’s very satisfying that the September 2017 concert raised another $7,500, bringing the total for the three concerts to $20,000.

We’re very grateful for all the support we’ve received from fans of 60s and 70s folk music, as we’ve brought back to life those powerful lyrics, memorable melodies and and superb harmonies from the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan.

For the 2017 Concert, LCCare prepared a flyer that gives an insight into what has motivated our Fossils team to create our tribute band.  You can download the flyer by clicking here.