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Showing posts from July, 2009

Pipe dreams

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Principle 4: Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

There's nothing quite like an earth moving machine to find a pipe - especially when you don't want it to...

It seems to me that the bigger machine you use, the easier it is to stuff something up, badly. Not that I stuffed anything up too badly, but it's real easy to. We dug through the original sewer line (just nicking it) when we were excavating for the cellar. I assumed that the toilet line would run to the sewer line along the laneway, the closest connection point, but I was wrong. I contacted the water authority and got a copy of the original sewer plan. I really should have done that before we began digging.


Original Sewer Plan, installed in June 1967. The house was built in the early 50's, I assume that the sewage was collected from the laneway (ROW) by truck or horse and cart before the plumbing was installed.


I decided to replace the existing sewer line after consulting with my plumber. The old terracotta pip…

Collecting and using local resources

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Principle 5: Use and value natural resources and services

There are two parts to this principle: the using and the valuing. It's important that we address both. For instance, we can value rain, but unless we use it, we'll need to rely on more energy intensive methods to have access to water. Conversely, if we use water without valuing it, we will one day run out and wonder where it all went.

I heard about a second-hand water tank that was for sale that suited my needs. It was manufactured in Seymour, but needed to be picked up from Broadford, about 20km away. Fortunately for me, my mate Brian has had some experience moving such things and has some great knot tying skills; he gave me a hand. Soon we will be able to collect rainwater (after we build a roof to collect it) to use on site.


The 23,000lt galvanised water tank loaded and ready to go


We unloaded and rolled the tank into position. On top of the stone covered pad, we laid a corrugated iron base for the tank to sit on, which …

Grinderman

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Principle 2: Catch and Store Energy

You've got to use energy to store energy, and the slab making process has taken quite a bit of energy to produce. While a lot of the materials were sourced locally (sand, aggregate and second-hand bricks), some materials like the cement, reinforcing steel and plastic are quite energy hungry to produce and travel great distances. By using these effectively, one can justify the use of such energy intensive materials. The slab will be used to catch and store energy, hopefully much more than was used to create it.

A concrete floor can be pretty unattractive on its own. Investigating flooring options is a real eye opener; it's pretty expensive whatever you choose. For the slab to be most effective in its passive solar job of storing the sun's energy, it's best to leave it exposed, rather than cover it. I decided to look into getting the slab ground back, liking the natural patterns in polished stone, but got put off by the cost of a profess…