On 17th April 2024, we held a public meeting at the Balwyn Park Centre to discuss what changes are likely between now and 2030 in our homes and our neighbourhoods. Three knowledgeable speakers addressed the issues followed by a lively Q and A session. Some questions remained unanswered at the end of the evening. Lighter Footprints intends to answer those questions in the coming weeks.

Electric Vehicles

Our first speaker was Bryce Gaton of EV Choice Consulting. You can visit his slide set here.

Bryce is an A-Class electrician/Registered Electrical Contractor and an EV writer/commentator. He has articles published in TheDriven.io and Renew magazine.

Bryce Gaton explains about EV charging and different types of charging equipment

Bryce Gaton explains about EV charging and different types of charging equipment

Bryce provided information on EVs and how EVs can be charged. He then addressed how to get power safely from an EV. The discussion focused on the following:

V2L     – Vehicle to Load
(Driven explainer here)
This functionality is currently available with many cars.

Your EV will soon be able to supply power to your home, grid or electric equipement

Your EV will soon be able to supply power to your home, grid or electric equipment

 

 

V2H/B – Vehicle to Home / Building
This is available using the CHAdeMO plug but this plug has lost the plug war in Australia to CCS (Combined Charging System  – charging types explainer here). Some CCS cars will have V2H and V2G functionality soon –

CCS V2H systems will become available in 2024 but V2G may take longer. V2H requires the home to be islanded from the grid so there is no need to synchronise with the grid. This has the following consequences:

  1. The vehicle will not supply power to the house unless grid power is disconnected. This means that the EV battery will not act like a home battery, charging when there is surplus solar and discharging when demand exceeds home generation.
  2. Every time V2H is activated or de-activated the power supply will be interrupted momentarily.

V2G     – Vehicle to Grid
V2G requires grid communications, and the necessary protocols are still being developed. However, it is hoped that V2G will be available in 2025, at least in a limited form.

It is important to make room for future upgrades on your home electric system. There more approaches coming for renters or those need kerbside charging

It is important to make room for future upgrades on your home electric system. There more approaches coming for renters or those need kerbside charging

 

Bryce finished his talk by explaining EV charging options and recommending futureproofing your electrical system, ready for the upcoming changes.

Bruce Gaton gave us some handy tips for switchboard upgrades there is more information available at aeva.au:factsheets

Bruce Gaton gave us some handy tips for switchboard upgrades there is more information available at aeva.au/factsheets

Further information in the slides includes:

  • Load sharing and local management for apartments
  • New accredited EVSE course for electricians
  • How not to blow the budget or the fuse
  • Links to additional information

Home Energy Opportunities

David Coote from Analytical Engines was our second speaker for the evening. You can visit his slide set here.

David advises residential customers and businesses on home efficiency and control systems.

Household changes

Households will be able to save on energy and transport costs as solar, batteries and energy management systems continue to drop in cost

Households will be able to save on energy and transport costs as solar, batteries and energy management systems continue to drop in cost

He explained the headwinds and tailwinds facing households highlighting:

  • The complications of moving the grid to solar, wind and storage and of electrifying transport;
  • The opportunities emerging for households with very cheap solar, battery prices are dropping, EV prices are falling, increasing government support and innovative electricity tariffs supported by increasing availability of onsite smart energy management;
  • Most Australian homes can make big improvements to their thermal envelope.
Smart home energy management systems can be self generation and energy efficiency measures

Smart home energy management systems can be added to self generation and energy efficiency measures

 

He also pointed out other factors influencing household energy over the next 5 – 10 years including electrification (replacing fossil gas) and virtual power plants.

The Energy Transition

David then proposed “The transition should be fast, cost-effective and customer focused and that the transition financial benefits should mainly flow to energy customers”. He stressed that this was his view and that some businesses were trying to capture the benefits for themselves.

Increased home comfort

He proposed that transitioning households could reduce energy costs and emissions while increasing house comfort. These benefits would be achieved by increased solar, improving the thermal efficiency of houses and managing home energy systems.

Home energy management systems are relatively low cost and have a high impact

Home energy management systems are relatively low cost and have a high impact

David then took the audience through some slides highlighting actions that households can take and the consequences. The key actions to reduce energy costs are insulation, Passivhaus (or similar) renovations, and replacing gas heating with Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners and EV chargers. Although the costs of full Passivhaus-certified renovations and batteries are high. Much of the Passivhaus benefit can be achieved economically and the cost of batteries is dropping quite quickly.

Combining management systems, appropriate electics and smart use of tarrifs can extend the value of self generation and storage

Combining management systems, appropriate electics and smart use of tarrifs can extend the value of self generation and storage

He also proposed replacing a gas hot water system with a resistance element water system as an advantage for houses with rooftop solar. (This is related to heat pump hot water systems having a higher cost. They don’t like being turned on and off frequently).

David concluded his presentation with information on home energy management systems, enablers and a slide on how to seek help on transitioning.

Better Transport Choices

Liz Irvin, a transport planner was our third speaker. You can visit Liz’s slide set here.

Liz Irvin talked about the way calming traffic near schools can be transformative for children and neighbourhoods

Liz talked about some ways that we can make better transport choicnnes while improving our physical fitness. She pointed out that Australian children are among the least active in the world.

Parents indicate that congested traffic is the major reason why kids are driven to school

Parents indicate that congested traffic is the major reason why kids are driven to school

If children walked or rode a bicycle to school their performance at school would improve and traffic would move faster. Over 20% of the traffic in the morning peak period is school traffic.

Parents were very enthusiastic about the Open Streets progam and half suggested it should operate daily

Parents were very enthusiastic about the Open Streets progam and half suggested it should operate daily

Liz then showed us successful models of open streets that have improved their neighbourhoods and have met with support from residents.

It is possible to request a modal filter, trial it, and with community support this can be made permanent

It is possible to request a modal filter, trial it, and with community support this can be made permanent

She followed this up with some suggestions for Boroondara. These included implementing a modal filter as a trial. This would require engagement with the community before and during the trial. Trials can start quite simply. The modal filter can be made permanent if the trial objectives are achieved and there is community support. The impacts of modal filters were presented at the meeting.