Showing posts from January, 2012

Using grid interactive solar (or not)

Principle 3: Obtain a yeild

Since we got our 1.5kW PV solar system switched on at the end of July last year, just on six months ago, we have generated 1375 kW and exported 1164.9 kW. So we have used 210.1 kW (the difference bewteen the two) from our system plus the 204.4 kW that we imported from the grid. That's 414.5 kW over six months, about 2.27 kW per day being a 20% reduction on the same period last year. I attribute this to our greater awareness of our power generation and further energy conservation efforts.
We received our first bill (actually a $30 credit) from our energy retailer, Origin, recently - three months overdue. The bill does not show our total energy useage because we use power from our system as it is generated (the 210.1kW figure above). What I noticed on our bill was that is that we are not being paid the 66c 'premium feed-in tariff' that we were told that we would be, but are instead receiving the new rate of 23.5c.
I contacted Origin to try and wo…

Our netted chook run and future orchard

Principle 7: Design from patterns to details

We got our first three pullets (Golden Pencil Hamburg crosses) a year ago from my mate Dylan who was 'cleaning up' this rare chicken breed. I set up a temporary netted yard to prevent them escaping, which they were keen to do early on, using old children's play equipment as a chook house. I clipped their wings but found this an unsuccessful way to prevent these flighty birds from taking off. I eventually gathered the courage to let them out to free range and had a number of interesting episodes trying to get them to return home. On three occasions I'd given up on escapees, once in a neighbours yard (with a dog), once on another neighbours roof and once found at night in the reeds down the creek after the kids had chased them away - somehow we still have all three.
We waited nearly six months before we got our first egg, which was very exciting for us all. Before long we were getting up to three eggs a day and our girls wer…

Bringing outdoor furniture back from the dead

Principle 12: Creatively use and respond to change
While this project illustrates a few design principles, including produce no waste, I wanted to focus on principle 12 because I think that the proverb "vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be" is most appropriate.

The plastic chairs that my got handed down to me are cracking up, ugly and unsafe. Outdoor plastic items don't seem to last very well, and end up in the bin after a few years, best avoided in my book. I think that it's just about time to take them to the tip, where they may be able to recycle them if we are lucky.
We went to the local Scout car boot sale to try to find a replacement. We hit the jackpot with these pressed metal beauties that had been rusting away outside for years. My guess is that the chairs we made in the 50's or 60's, so they'd be over 50 years old and still perfectly useable. At $1 each we decided to buy 10 of them.

After a good clean we realised that the…