Showing posts from August, 2011

Energy audit and reducing consumption

Principle 4: Apply self regulation and accept feedback
Principle 6: Produce no waste

Energy audit
During the last 12 months we used about 2.9kWh of electricity per day, this has not varied much over seasons, which surprised me somewhat. The Jan - Mar quarter is the hottest time of year when we were running the ceiling fans frequently, electric bread maker and also an electric fruit drier which helps explain the higher usage.
July - Sep 2010 (87 days) 238 kWh = 2.74 kWh per day
Oct - Dec 2010 (91 days) 250 kWh = 2.75 kWh per day
Jan - Mar 2011 (98 days) 315 kWh = 3.21 kWh per day
May - June 2011 (89 days) 245 kWh = 2.75 kWh per day
Total power usage for the year 1048 kWh = 2.87 kWh per day I purchased a small energy meter that allows me to see how much power an appliance draws and uses over time. I have been monitoring some of our major appliances so that I can see where our energy is being used.
Electric fruit drier - 4180W for one batch (plus time in the sun)
Electric bread maker - 3…

Solar PV: Connection

Principle 1: Observe and interact

It took about seven weeks before the system was actually turned on, fortunately this has been during mid-winter, the time of year that generates the least amount of electricity. The hold up was the time it took for the electrical inspection and meter change over. I have not yet received a bill for the meter change over, the total cost so far for the 1.5kW system is A$3390.
I have taken a lot more interest in seeing how our power is being used since we have had the system turned on, while observing our system generate power and feed into the grid. We have generated 54kWhs, exporting 41.8kWhs and importing 18.1 kWhs over the past two weeks, using (54 - 41.8 + 18.1 =) 30.3 kWhs. This is an average of 2.16 kWh per day, which is significantly less than our average over the past year of 2.9 kWh per day.

I received an email from the Alternative Technology Association a couple of days ago with a pre-emtive warning that the Victorian Governments intends to…

Making the most of firewood

Principle 3: Obtain a yield
Principle 4: Apply self regulation and accept feedback
We obtain multiple benefits from using our combustion stove, because it is designed as a stove / oven / heater and hot water booster, which helps to maximise our yields. We also get the added benefit of a glass door, which creates a fantastic ambiance and allows us to more easily monitor the fire to ensure that it burns hot, key to a longevity and low emissions. One of the inefficiencies with this style of cooker is that we use more fuel than we would for a specific task focused model, because we are performing many functions from the one task. In our case, the advantages multiple functions outweigh the disadvantages.
Some of the other functions that we use our stove for is to dry clothes, dry citrus peel (in oven overnight) for use as firelighters, warm our sourdough bread before baking, keep a large pot of water on the boil for cooking or topping up the bath.
Firewood: sustainable and appropriate energy…