SPOTLIGHT SPECIAL INTERVIEW:
Richard Keech, Beyond Zero Emissions’ Sustainable Buildings Researcher, shares his technical approach to a more sustainable future.
1. What is Beyond Zero Emissions and what is your role?
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an environmental, non-government organisation trying to find and promote the best technical solutions to climate change. We are trying to build an economy-wide set of blueprints for de-carbonising the country. We think it can be, and needs to be, done in ten years. I’ve been engaged to write a book describing BZE’s thinking about how all our homes can use much less grid energy and be more comfortable at the same time.
2. Can you tell us a little about your background and why you became involved with BZE?
I’m an engineer. I served in the Air Force before working in commercial IT. I switched careers a few years ago after I had my climate-change oh-s**t-this-is-serious epiphany. These days I guess the best label to describe myself would be sustainable energy consultant. I’ve been involved with BZE for about seven years. I really liked their practical approach to taking action.
3. How has this influenced your own home retrofit?
BZE’s perspective on decarbonisation has been core to my approach to improving my home. One key BZE influence was the awareness of the need to stop using fossil gas as a fuel in our homes. This is one significant step in educating the public on how to prevent climate change from advancing further.
4. If you could give households one piece of advice, what would it be?
Treat the changes to your home as a valuable investment. The payback is not only in reduced long-term energy costs, but also in improved comfort, and perhaps a better future for your kids.
5. What is the next step in terms of improving your own home?
Aside from finessing some of the existing changes (insulation and windows), I’m working on a smart home system which will monitor and report temperatures, and use of water and energy.
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