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Thread: Who's running an aircon while my electricity is out?

  1. #11
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    you do get double glazing which would make a big difference
    I've been wondering if we'll start seeing properties built differently in the future in SA, using double glazing, correct insulation, and the typical techniques that are used in colder countries. It benefits the user in the summer and winter, especially when using active heating and cooling. I *think* it just gets a bit heavy price wise, which keeps most people (and developers....) away from it.

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    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    The basic idea would be to design buildings not to need aircons. A study was done in the late 70's (by CSIR) about what possible things can be done. They've found that if just basic improvements in building design is used (i.e. better insulation, double glazing, orientation to north, roof overhangs, etc.) there are actually very few places in SA which would require AC at all. Some places would need AC only during some months in the year or even just some hours of the day. The biggest requirement would not be cooling, but rather heating - this due to (then) Central Transvaal's freezing temperatures during winter & the greatest proportion of population living there. Places like Natal & Eastern Transvaal (Mapumalanga) were noted as requiring AC during most of summer.

    BTW, there's a new "fashion" leaking into SA from European Architecture - it's called Green Building. There's a few sites regarding this (even here in backwards SA). http://www.greenbuilding.co.za/ engineering news

    Also, if we can use new developments in alternative energy sources we might get somewhere to "lightening" Eskom's load. For example the solar panels used in Europe are much more efficient than the old stuff sold in SA - even with their cloudy days they get a 30% bigger output than ours on a sunny day. Unfortunately this is EXTREMELY expensive to import - that may have to become a government / Eskom incentive scheme?

    There are a few mindsets to using AC efficiently. The one I think might just work in some places is: "Open all windows in the morning to allow the cooled air to instill into the building. Then once the internal temperature's started to increase to the setting at which you've placed the AC, turn it on to keep it there." This could even be controlled by the AC unit itself, but using the fan to supply only fresh air if the outside temp is below the setting. Otherwise the thing's heating in the morning, then cooling at about 10h00 then heating again at around 16h00. Of course this would mean that you'll have to live with colder temps - well you've got extra clothing right?

    Also (especially now in Gauteng) we've found unusually low temps for Summer - so turn the AC off - if the temp is to low wear a jacket.
    Last edited by Dave A; 27-Jul-08 at 12:51 PM.

  3. #13
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Some great thoughts there, Irneb. Thanks for sharing them.
    Quote Originally Posted by irneb View Post
    For example the solar panels used in Europe are much more efficient than the old stuff sold in SA - even with their cloudy days they get a 30% bigger output than ours on a sunny day. Unfortunately this is EXTREMELY expensive to import...
    Is there any particular reason why we can't make them locally?

  4. #14
    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    Yes, we're in a 3rd world country ... sorry that's sarcastic ... of course we could, but it's the mentality of those who have the investment capital which need to be changed before you can buy the rights to manufacture it here.

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    The other day my friend was telling me how he loved his aircon, and how he switches it on whenever there wasn't any load shedding, because he loves it so much. Wow, I nearly killed him that day. :P

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