Sustainability expert Andrew Blakers has told [as reported in the Canberra Times] a sustainability forum at ANU that Canberra should have more high-rise apartment blocks to help the city become sustainable.
He also outlined plans for retro-fitting older houses with energy efficient measures.
Professor Blakers said if Canberrans embraced living in buildings of 12 or more storeys, this would put a large amount of people within walking distance of their work and essential services therefore minimising the need for cars and the environmental damgae that comes with them.
“The sooner Canberra has a large number of high buildings the better,” he said. “If you want energy efficiency on a large scale, if you don’t want urban sprawl, it is the way to go.”
His seemingly more sensible idea was a funding model on how to retro-fit houses with solar hot water heaters, insulation, double glazing and other energy efficient measures.
He proposed that a central company be established to pay for the installation of these things and that the cost be recovered through the residents’ electricity bills. The rationale is that the improvements would reduce energy use enough to offset the cost of paying for them and, once paid off, energy bills would be cheaper.
Interestingly, Professor Blakers said that “solar represented the future of energy generation, as all other major forms such as nuclear and fossil fuels had drawbacks environmentally or politically”. The newly developing technologies, such as silver-cell photovoltaics solar cells mean solar power is becoming more efficient and less costly.