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Thread: Green without going new age or supertech

  1. #1
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Green without going new age or supertech

    I put this under 'Chat' because I was hoping to avoid the usual 'Politics' storm.

    Here in Slummie EL we are entering a period of water shortage and the threat of a house using 65 kilolitres paying a R4000.oo penalty is very real.
    Also the new electricity pricing structure is going to be big, my electricity of R1200.ooPM will be R2400.oo within 2 more years.

    We will do the Generator, PV cells and methane collection later

    Lets be constructive and list all the reasonable ways we can start being less dependant on the various municipalities for our basic services, namely lights and water.
    Not just throw ideas out there but can anyone put a price on it as well.

    Dave can this be made into a wiki as we progress?

    I'll start with:

    ceiling insulation price per m2?

    geyser blanket?

    hot water pipe insulation?


    alternatives to electric geysers 1) solar?
    2) heat exchangers?

    water saver shower heads?

    water saver cisterns for flushing?

    (yellow let it mellow, brown flush down)

    gas for cooking?

    hot pot for hot water for coffee instead of boiling kettle every time?

    enough cups of water for the demand when you have to boil the kettle?

    Lekkies help here? is it worth switching everything off at the plug not leaving appliances on standby?

    insulated cooking systems?

    ceiling fans instead of aircon?

    cutting the bottom off soda bottles, inverting them at the base of shrubs and plants to direct a little water direct to the root system.

    redirecting your grey water to the garden, what ideas?

    water tanks for rain water Jo Jo approx R2 to 3000.oo each

    turning down the stopcock at the meter to restrict the flow of water

    WHAT ELSE?
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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    alternatives to electric geysers 1) solar?
    2) heat exchangers?
    Heat-pumps.

    gas for cooking?
    hot pot for hot water for coffee instead of boiling kettle every time?
    Very efficient. Standard practice in SE Aia.

    ceiling fans instead of aircon?
    Use high-efficiency aircons.

    water tanks for rain water Jo Jo approx R2 to 3000.oo each
    Good idea.

    turning down the stopcock at the meter to restrict the flow of water
    Put a pressure-regulator downstream from the water meter. Drop supply pressure & use less water. Use low restriction shower heads & taps.

    redirecting your grey water to the garden, what ideas?
    Store grey-water in temporary storage tank. Use it to irrigate garden - perhaps drip irrigation nozzles?
    Last edited by desA; 01-Mar-10 at 04:39 PM.
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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Breakdown of typical suburban home - electricity consumption

    Water heating.....:. 45.9%
    Washing clothes..:. 2.4%
    Cooking..............:. 15.1%
    Space heating.....:. 4.1%
    Refrig/freezer......:. 15.1%
    Lights................:. 11.4%
    Other applicances:. 6.0%

    Start with the big ones & reduce them first.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Make hot water from your current aircon unit, & at the same time make it more efficient. This technology will be coming to SA this year. It can be used together with a heat-pump system.

    I'm also looking into scavenging energy from a domestic refrigerator.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Dave A (05-Mar-10), RogerH (02-Mar-10)

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I agree that in an average household water heating is the major consumer of power unless you have lots of air conditioning. In SA it's very viable to use solar heater panels to make your hot water. The solar is used when it's possible and any extra energy required is supplied by a standard electrical element. This obviously save more in summer than winter but maybe there's a hybrid system that uses solar as a primary and a heatpump as secondary heat source.

    I recently extended our house upwards by two extra storeys. I incorporated energy saving techniques into the build at very little extra cost. The original house was poorly designed and insulated and needed underfloor and AC heat pump heaters in winter and just the six air con units in summer. The new house requires neither heating or air con. I insulated all plumbing pipework in the walls with 3/4 " thick lagging, installed a solar geyser. The only extravagance was a ducted fresh air system that supplies cool air into the top two floors with a 140watt electronically commutated fan speed controlled by a temperature probe in the attic.

    The house is a pleasure to come home to, it's cool inside on days of 35C, warm inside on mornings of 12C and my electricity bill came down from R900.00 per month 2 years ago to R300.00 today (family of 4, 360sqm house). I deliberately avoided throwing expensive technology at it, it's all down to design and insulation......and more insulation (an extra R18000.00 in insulation costs during the build) which is paying itself back at around R500.00 per month before the increases and probably R600.00 per month pretty soon from now.
    Last edited by AndyD; 01-Mar-10 at 10:42 PM. Reason: atrosus speiling

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Some of the other things that helped are that we threw out every single LV downlight fitting in the place and installed some snazzy looking pendant fittings that can be used and look good with CFL lamps. I reduced the lighting load from 48 x 50watt diachroics (nearly 2.5kW) to 50 x 14watt CFL's and 6 x 36watt fluorescent tubes. ( < 1kW). Bear in mind this includes the 2 extra bedrooms 2 bathrooms, 1 x library/study, 1 x laundry room and a 130sqm attic that was never there as well. We trebled the square meterage with less than half the lighting load.

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    The hot pot for kettle water is that one of those "pump action" pots? This is a biggie for us. I think the kettle gets boiled up to 4 times an hour...
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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    This is what I did.

    Lights -> 15 watts 1 per room.
    Unplug all devices that are not in use.
    Use gas and low power cooking devices (they do work well I own 1)

    It is not the power of 1 thing that is the problem it is the combination of things running at the same time that is costly. This is how we keep our bills low.

    If you only use less devices at 1 time then your power bill will go down. I got it down with about R400 in one month “FACT” And if you make and follow your own list it stays down.

    I will get back to on the other stuff just need to work out the costs....
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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Glad you picked up the vacuum cleaner. These are incredible power guzzlers - especially the 1500W compact devices.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    This is a nice page with pricing and will give you a clue about total costs

    http://www.sunpower.co.za/index.php?ukey=pricelist

    Again I do not recommend this site but it is one of the few places honest enough to give pricing.
    peace is a state of mind
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