Monday, April 25, 2011

Back in Brizzy

As usual, while life carries on as usual in Brisbane, my blog lies ignored as I only really seem to update it if I happen to be in another country. That probably won't be happening for the time being, so I thought I'd put some effort telling my loyal blog followers what has been happening for us in Briz Vegas. Nepal is now but a distant memory...

A New Job
I guess the biggest development in terms of how I spend my time is that after two fantastic months 'off' keeping busy with various things, I am now working for the man - but I'm pretty excited about the role. I'm an 'Energy Specialist' - spending my time reducing energy usage in large commercial buildings. I'm learning about heaps of energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart grid technologies, getting back in touch with a few thermodynamic principles that I haven't looked at since university and learning to navigate the systems and politics of a huge US multinational company. An added bonus is that it's located at Cannon Hill, close to where Di works so we can ride our bikes to school together!

A New Cause
One of the things I'm most excited about is a group I've been doing some volunteer work for - Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE). A not for profit, consisting of mostly volunteers in relevent professions has put together the first part of the Zero Carbon Australia plan to take Australia's economy to zero carbon emissions within ten years using technologies that are already commercially available. Amazingly ambitious but surp
risingly achievable and such a welcome change from the depressing political and media debate. In contrast, BZE has simply says, "What does the scientific consensus say we should do?" and works out how to do it.

So my contribution is presenting this Zero Carbon Australia plan to whoever will listen. So far it's been friends/family, an Engineers Without Borders group and my local TEAR group, but I have a few more lined up with a Rotary Club, at the UQ Engineering Department, at a sustainability festival in Toowoomba and at the Ecosciences Centre at Griffith University.

I'm sick of people's skepticism about climate chang
e and skepticism about whether we can do anything about it. Humanity is innovative and resilient and we can sort it out.

Engineers Without Borders
I'm still involved with KAPEG back in Nepal - encouraging and assisting them as they continue with the wooden LED desk lamps. I'm also working on a low cost, cell-phone connected wind turbine data logger which will be handy to monitor test installations of wind turbines in remote locations in Nepal. I've also been presenting to a few audiences on our experiences in Nepal and getting involved in the local EWB chapter activities.

The photo below shows my colleagues from KAPEG selling wooden lamps at markets in Kathmandu.

That's a snippet of life here in Brizzy, without talking much about the fun of being back here, and some home projects (eg new roof, solar panels - and an energy monitoring system I'm building to match it). I'll try to post some more nerd stuff once I get something working!