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Thread: The "Going Greenish Project"

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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The "Going Greenish Project"

    Well, we decided to take the plunge and start our "Go Green" projects.

    After a lot of debate, (as you may have seen in other posts on the forum), the Green label is going to be used, in this instance, as the excuse for trying to save some cash on a monthly basis. Hopefully our actions will help relieve a minuscule amount of pressure on the national resources, but in true efrican spirit, we're watching our own back pockets first.

    My aim is not to save a pre-defined amount of cash on a monthly basis, but rather to save an amount of kW and Liters. At least in a few years time I will be able to look back and put a 'current day' value to the savings resulting from the investments back in 2010.

    Project # 1


    -
    So project # 1 is a solar geyser. Unfortunately we can't have a complete outside unit on the North facing side of the house, as there are no load bearing walls or beams in the area to support it. So we are opting to have the North facing panel, with a small pump to move the hot water from the panel to the existing geyser.

    A control panel in the hallway will allow us to see the temperatures, set the times for using the electric element, etc. The panel and the geyser have probes wired to the control panel.

    I have the exact kW usage for the last 12 months, so I think we can safely use that to determine an average to use as a comparison.

    My aim is to introduce each of the Green Projects one at a time, leaving 2 weeks or more between each so that we can get a reasonable idea of the kW or Liter savings.

    We have visitors from GP coming in a few days, so installation won't be until sometime just after 6 October.

    My projection of the cost recovery, including interest on the amount borrowed from the bond account, paid back at my estimation of savings, is 24 months.

    If I find the workmanship impressive I will post some pics and details of the installer.

    Project # 2


    -
    This will be the second item that we'll be able to get a measurable kW result from. In the next few weeks we will be having our fibreglass pool relined. Once done, I intend to purchase a floatron pool ioniser device. This is a solar powered ioniser that reduces the amount of chlorine and other chemicals required in the pool between 60 - 80 % ( monthly saving on this ) as well as reduces the amount of time that the pool pump needs to run each day ( big saving here ).

    Although there are some locally made options, the floatron appears to be the only one that is solar powered, and has a lot of unsolicited positive feedback on forums worldwide.

    The cost recovery, again taking into account the interest on the 'loan', and the payback equal to the estimated savings, makes this a 12 month recovery.

    Naturally, with all these projects, and unless there are any major system failures, the savings continue endlessly after the initial payback.

    Project #3



    This won't actually generate any savings, but could be considered green as it is using natural resources.

    As part of the pool re-lining process, I am going to have an additional inlet installed. The end of the pool is close to the vertical beam supporting the flat carport roof of the entertainment area, so am going to add some irrigation pipe coils and divert some of the water returning from the pump / filter, via the coils, back to the new inlet. As the pump only needs to run 3 or 4 hours a day ( due to the floatron device in Project #2 ) it can do this from 10:30 to 14:30 when the coils get the most direct sunlight.

    Project #4



    We have a flat ( complete with tenant ) that has a 50 liter vertical gravity feed geyser. It is not in a position to be equipped with a solar panel ( at least not without additional expense that does not make it justifiable ) so will be fitting a timer switch to the db.

    I am looking to add a separate electricity meter to the flat's db so that I can accurately see the amount of power this consumes.

    Once I have that data, I will activate the timer switch and experiment with settings to find the best saving for the circumstances ( 1 tenant, single, home all day, only showers in afternoon, etc )


    Will keep you updated with any developments and hope to be able to give some meaningful feedback.
    Watching the ships passing by.

  2. Thank given for this post:

    AndyD (23-Sep-10), Dave A (27-Sep-10), IanF (24-Sep-10)

  3. #2
    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    This will be the second item that we'll be able to get a measurable kW result from. In the next few weeks we will be having our fibreglass pool relined. Once done, I intend to purchase a floatron pool ioniser device. This is a solar powered ioniser that reduces the amount of chlorine and other chemicals required in the pool between 60 - 80 % ( monthly saving on this ) as well as reduces the amount of time that the pool pump needs to run each day ( big saving here ).

    Although there are some locally made options, the floatron appears to be the only one that is solar powered, and has a lot of unsolicited positive feedback on forums worldwide.

    The cost recovery, again taking into account the interest on the 'loan', and the payback equal to the estimated savings, makes this a 12 month recovery.

    Naturally, with all these projects, and unless there are any major system failures, the savings continue endlessly after the initial payback.
    Dave
    The floatron really looks good, I wonder if there isn't a market for this, just look at the number of pools there are in SA! Chlorine isn't getting cheaper.
    Let us know how it works.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanF View Post
    Dave
    The floatron really looks good, I wonder if there isn't a market for this, just look at the number of pools there are in SA! Chlorine isn't getting cheaper.
    Let us know how it works.
    Will Do, IanF

    I have found a local ( JHB ) agent so will be ordering it next week.

    Until now I found the Month Mate floater the best chlorine option, with the monthly box including the 4 weekly booster packs. Have had over 12 months of crystal clear water and much easier than using hth granules. It also allowed me to stabilise the cost at R169 per month.
    Last edited by daveob; 27-Sep-10 at 03:42 PM.
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    All your projects sound practical and achievable. I'm looking forward to progress reports and details of how they all work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    If I find the workmanship impressive I will post some pics and details of the installer.
    I would tell the installer that you intend to post photos and info on a national forum, hopefully he'll up his game and the workmanship won't be a problem.
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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    Update :

    Solar panel, pump and control panel were installed yesterday.

    I'm not usually easy to please, but I must say the installer did a top class job. Arrived on time, had everything needed, very organised and no messing around. Definately recommended. Eduard Ihlenfeldt - TOPSUN - Cell - 082 371 8549.

    So now the analysis starts. I also purchased an Owl Electricity Monitor and will be adding this to the geyser feed from the DB ( clips around the cable ).

    I hope to be able to measure the following :

    overnight kW usage when not in use ( backup element to maintain temperature ) compared to turning the element off at 10pm and back on at 5am to bring back up to temperature for morning usage. 3 days of each should give me average figures to report.

    After that, will also be looking at total kW usage for a week. One should then be able to ascertain from that if the solar panel has an overall effect on the monthly bill.

    .... more to follow ....
    Watching the ships passing by.

  7. Thanks given for this post:

    Dave A (07-Oct-10)

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Did you have evacuated tube or a flat panel installed?
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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    Hi Wynn

    This specific configuration ( panel / pump / control panel & existing geyser ) that qualifies for the Eskom rebate is a flat panel ( 1 panel ).

    Right now it's gusting a +30km wind on our hill, and the GeyserWise control panel shows the flat panel water temperature to be 40 degrees.

    The cost after rebate is R6900
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    wynn (08-Oct-10)

  11. #8
    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    ... the results ...

    So does it pay to turn off your geyser overnight ?

    Before I list the findings, a little about the setup.

    As part of the solar panel system connected to the existing geyser, we have a GeyserWise Max (GW) control panel. A very nice little controller that is wall mounted in the hallway.

    It displays the geyser temperature and has settings where you can specify the max temperature for the element to go to, for each 6 hours of the day. We have ours set to 45C from midnight to midday, and 50C from midday to midnight. Our element is set to come on ( if required ) from 5am to 6am so we have 45C water when we get up. The GW has temp sensors in the geyser and the panel, and if the panel is 7C or more than the geyser, the pump turns on and circulates, until the diff between the panel and geyser is less than 2C. It then stops pumping and waits for the panel to get hotter again.

    If the geyser falls more than 6C from the set temp ( 45 or 50 in our case, depending on the time of the day ) then the element kicks in.

    Monday was a nice sunny day, and despite the gusting wind, the single panel was sitting at 65C and the geyser got to 63C, so we didn't use the element for the entire day, with enough hot water to bath 2 kids, and 2 showers, and washing dishes, etc in the evening.

    I rigged the Owl Monitor to the geyser circuit for a few days, and made a note of the overnight usage.

    On the first night, the temp was 39C at 11:30pm. The element remained off for the night until 5am, and then raised the temp to the set 45C. Total usage was 1.0127 kW. From this I can see the heat loss overnight caused the geyser to fall below 39C ( 45C - 6C ) and therefore the element kicked in at the preset time of 5am to raise it back to 45C.

    On the second night, the temp was 42C at 11:30pm, and I left the element powered on. Due to heat loss, the temp at 6:30am was down to 39C and used NO power overnight ( since the 39C was not more than 6C below the set temp of 45C, the element did not kick in until just before 7am ).
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Sounds like success to me. Any chance of a few pictures of the panel, the controller and geyser?
    _______________________________________________
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