Showing posts from June, 2011

Full of light on the shortest day

Principle 1: Observe and interact Winter solstice, the day of Sen's first birthday, is the shortest day with the longest shadows. I thought that I would take some photos around midday to record the extremes - fortunately the sun came out to help me. Observing the solar gain in the living room at midday on winter solstice Sunlight heats most of the slab during the shortest day Whilst not necessarily the coldest time of the year, with temperatures hovering between 5ºC min and 14ºC max there have been a few frosts. Average temperatures get lower during the next month or two as the thermal mass of the earth cools down, a bit of a delayed reaction. During this time of the year we see sunlight (when it comes out) cover most of the slab, providing us with valuable radiant heat which is stored in the thermal mass of the concrete, helping to stablise the temperature of the house. It can get very bright in our living space and we sometimes close the curtains so that Kai can wat

Solar PV: Research and installation

Principle 5: Use and value renewable resources and services 8 x 188W panels installed giving a total of 1.5kW, more than enough for our needs On this cold and frost morning two young men arrived to install our new solar system. It's been just over one year since we moved into Abdallah House, a fitting gift to celebrate the anniversary. I know a little about solar systems, having installed a very small system on my VW Kombi about 12 years ago. Gearing up for a home system has been a much more complicated process, especially with all of the changes to rebates along with the hundreds of different types of systems available and **FANTASTIC OFFERS** that flash brightly before your eyes. Justifying the purchase of a photovoltaic system has been difficult, hours of research, contimplation and discussion are behind the image that you now see. Subsidies In Australia solar systems are subsidised by the issuing Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs - previously called RECs). Th

Binimum: Five months on

Principle 6: Produce no waste Rubbish Bin (120lt) is about 60% full, Recycle Bin (240lt) is about 25% full. I noted in my previous binimum entry that I wasn't sure whether I should include my workshop waste in the exercise, as that increases our load considerably. Well I have, and we are now 'over budget' with our hope to only fill one rubbish bin for the year, but it's still a posibility. As we adopt this approach as a way of life we find that we are reducing our rubbish more and more without effort. One big change has been the amount of food that we preserve. This is a everyday part of our lives now. There always seems to be something sitting in a box ready to be bottled, jars ready to go to the cellar, fruit ripening in the sun, something bubbling away on the bench. It's a busy and rewarding life, no time for TV (although we do watch the odd movie). We find that we see containers as a valuable resource, gathering them from neighbours (as we don't buy th