South Africa's New Joule and a Waste Free Year in New Zealand, Via Renew Magazine


Photos: ATA and Optimal Energy

I never know where to start with Renew Magazine, it’s so packed with useful knowledge every issue. And it’s no different with the April-June 2009 edition of the magazine, whose tagline is ‘technology for a sustainable future.’

There is, for example, a special feature article from the GreenPainters, which covers the whole gamut of eco-paints. Apparently plant-based paints account for almost 10% of all paint sales in Europe and reflective paints can improve a building’s insulative properties by up to 40%. Renew complements the informative article with a massive table of over 50 different individual paint from the ten leading eco-paint suppliers in Australia.

Renew goes on to review 10 new electric cars, including a few that even our every vigilant transport editor, Mike, hasn’t reported on. Like the spunky little Joule from Optimal Energy (pictured above), which is expected to have a range of 400 km (~250 miles) when it hits South African roads in late 2010. The magazine also highlights Australia’s first production electric vehicle, the Electron (a modified Hyundai Getz). It’s another EV that I don’t believe has graces the pixels of Treehugger. It can achieve a range of 120 km (75 miles) and can be recharged in just one hour if you have access to 3 Phase power, or 7-9 hours for the rest of us. It will set you back $39,500 or $29K AUD if you already have a Getz you want retrofitted.

A separate article details the experience of reader who undertook his own electric vehicle conversion for $6,000 AUD to end up with a 1991 Daihatsu Charade, which now has a range of 60km and gets up to speeds of 80km/h.

Elsewhere in Renew can be found the winners of their ‘sustainable sheds competition.’ Most of the entries were built with recycled/reused materials and sport rainwater tanks and solar photovoltaic systems. Many of their owners use them to brew their own biodiesel, practice beekeeping, woodworking or horticulture.

Or the inspiring story of the couple in New Zealand who had a Rubbish Free Year, sending to landfill only one garbage bag in the 12 months. To celebrate their successful endeavour they held a party for 100 people, with the only resulting waste being the cling wrap from a cheese round.


Photos: Rubbish Free Year and LightSense

Living up to the middle part of their name, the magazine’s publishers, the Alternative Technology Association do, of course showcase a bunch of curious stuff, like the Zink Printer that doesn’t print with droplets of ink, but rather activates colour already imbedded in special paper (we covered Zink a couple of years ago.) LED street lighting is similarly highlighted, as is a hot water system that heats water directly at the source, ie, the tap or faucet, limiting hot losses in pipes and wasted water being run before hot water reaches the tap from a distant tank.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what the magazine is covering this issue. We’re neglecting the geothermal farmhouse, the tiny European nation of Sealand powered by wind turbines. The results of a test on greywater to see which type of cleaning products had the most effect on water an and soil (the full report on ’the impact of soaps and shampoos on soil’ is available online.)

But most of the magazine is not however available in an web version, largely because the print version is sold to help contribute operating income to this not-for-profit, who have been intelligently banging on about green lifestyles for a little shy of 30 years.


Photo: ATA

However, they did recently team up with Australian Department of Environment to produce a free 16 page booklet, called the Renters Guide to Sustainable Living,. Like the main mag, this brochure is packed with practical tips for a greener life. If it doesn’t come in your newsstand copy of Renew, it is available as a 2MB PDF download (click link above)

::Renew Magazine

Tags: Australia | Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles | New Zealand | Zero Waste

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