01 July 2019


Chinese trumpet - incarvillea
The temperature has dropped a teeny weeny bit today and we had approx. 200 drops of rain this morning which rapidly evaporated on impact.

Yesterday evening just before sunset we headed out on our bicycles to see the river and collect large amounts of sweat everywhere on our bodies. It was nice, the sky turned pink and everybody was down there, dipping their feet in (it's too dangerous to swim in it) and watching the boats go by. On our way home we tsk tsk tsk at the guys watering their front lawns because we felt smug. Back home I tipped a couple of buckets at the berries and a few select vegetables and flowering plants but told the trees to dig deeper with their roots because, tough.

When we bought this house 20+ years ago, we were basically broke but managed to persuade the mortgage bank to include finances to cover costs to install thermal and pv solar power on the roof and a rain water collection system.
The two slim thermal solar panels (6sqm) produce all our hot water from April to October and some of it for the rest of the year, the pv panels (12sqm) produce most to all our electricity when the sun is up (yes, even when it's cold and cloudy) and we feed the surplus into the grid and get paid for it. In the early days I would stand in front of the meter thinking what fools we had been waiting and dithering endlessly discussing costs while all the time the sun has been there providing free electricity.
Endless. Free. Electricity.

We collect all rain water from the roof of the house into a tank that sits below our lawn and that is connected to a small pump and filter system that feeds our toilets cisterns. If there isn't enough rain, the usual water supply takes over - you have no idea how many of our visitors are worried about that aspect.
That was a big headache with rules and regulations and water fees and we had to install meters which we regularly forget to read and I think we are in the bad books because of it but the city officially is all for sustainability so we have escape fines for now.

Next tasks - and believe me R is working on it because he basically will not shut up about it and serious guys with clipboards and tablets have been calling - include storage of the surplus energy for the night, feeding the radiators in winter with thermal solar energy and dancing for more rain.

10 comments:

  1. I love it! Fantastic energy savings for the planet. And for you.
    I'm sure you can find plenty of Youtubes on rain dances guaranteed to work!

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  2. Well, that's pretty darn impressive, if you ask me. No one I know has done that much to be sustainable. (Including us, but then, we live in a rental property.) We get so much rain we really should put in rain barrels at the very least. It would be great to collect and use all that water.

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  3. love that chinese lantern. going to see if I can find it here. I wish we had solar panels but we are surrounded with trees though in the winter on the south side they are deciduous. the shop across the street is in blazing sun all day. water collection is also on my list. everyone in my little neighborhood has a well for water except us and one or two others. we have city water. the previous owners got hooked up when they laid water line for fire hydrants because they were going to have to dig a new well because they were getting a new septic system. solar wouldn't work for heat for us as out heat is gas, we'd have to get a new HVAC system. would work for the AC though. good for y'all. there should be a nation wide government push for solar here but then Trump's oil and coal buddies would lose their income. and that's what I don't understand. these people knew about global warming and buried the science when they could have been investing in renewables all along and switching over.

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    Replies
    1. You could instal something like a phase change material on the shop roof, it collects heat during the day and gives off energy during the night.
      My brother's house is surrounded by trees, so he set up solar panels at the bottom of the garden on the ground (at an angle) and collects the energy there, feeds it to the house by underground cable.

      I sound like a sale's person for the sun. I know.

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  4. Sounds great. I need to look into this. I live in Florida for crying out loud! Love the color of the Chinese trumpet.

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  5. I so love how you generate your own power and collect rain water. We did rain water collection when we lived up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It was pretty good for watering the big garden we had. Our secret plan is to look for a house to buy with southern exposure, which the house we are in now does not have, and put up solar collectors on the roof. You are an inspiration, Sabine. I love that you've been doing this for so many years. Thank you!!

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  6. That's wonderful that you do all of that. The planet is very proud of you and thankful as well. Wish I could visit and get to see it all. I'm so interested in all these alternative forms of energy. Sadly renting doesn't allow for much of this, but I do recycle my wine bottles.

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  7. You make me feel ashamed at my lack of action. Although we live frugally with respect to the environment (usually - a recent 7000km car journey currently gives the lie to that claim), we do nothing positive in the way of energy saving/climate defence.

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  8. The big guy put in two rain barrels this spring to catch the rain off the roof. It's working really well but involves me hand watering plants. So far it's okay with me. I figure it's good exercise.

    We starting to grow more veg this year in raised beds which is amazing. I had no idea broccoli was so easy to grow.

    You inspire me to do more for the planet. Thank you.

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  9. Ooh, that's really neat. On my list of eventual tasks is to install a rain barrel and possibly solar panels. I did put in a hybrid water heater when I moved in, and a more efficient HVAC.

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