A 300 litre solar hot water system provides the majority of the household's water heating needs.
When the solar hot water system was replaced, a one shot booster was installed to immprove booster use efficiency. When the household need to use the electric booster in the hot water system, the one shot booster automatically switches off the electric booster element after the water in the tank is heated to the required temperature. This type of booster saves energy and money compared to standard boosting systems which is normally via a on/off switch, in the switchboard.
You can read more about solar hot water and the one shot booster here.
Installed on the north facing roof is a 2kW solar photovoltaic power system which generates approximately 3000kWh per annum at its current site – about 800kWh more than the annual household consumption. The homeowner will be paid for all the power generated, giving a great return on investment. Read here for more information on photovoltaic power systems.
A solar air heating system is installed on the roof. This uses a large (4.2 X 1 metre) solar collector to heat outside air and a fan then brings the warm, fresh air into the house during the day. This is a relatively new technology, the effectiveness of which was monitored using temperature loggers inside the house.
The roof has also been painted a light colour to reflect heat during the hotter months.
The ceiling insulation in the house was improved to create an effective barrier to heat transfer through the ceiling. Read more on insulation here.
The western wall has no eave and previously received so much sunshine that the main bedroom on the other side of the wall was very hot for most of the year. The installation of an external colourbond "skin" with air cell insulation sandwiched between the wall and colourbond has effectively reduced solar radiation hitting the wall, making the bedroom far more liveable.
To shade the southern end of the western wall, adjustable shading has been installed so the amount of sunlight can be varied according to seasonal requirements. On a warm day you can feel how much the shade reduces the temperature on the air and wall behind it. During winter the shade can be raised to warm the house.
Lighting throughout the house is provided by compact flourescent lamps (CFLs). In the kitchen there is a combination of CFL downlights and LED (light emitting diode) downlights instaead of halogen lamps which are still used in these types of fittings. You can read more about lighting here.
The original fridge which had a three star rating with a comparative energy consumption of 650kWh per annum, has been replaced by a model with a 5 star rating and comparative energy consumption of 406 kWh per annum.
You can read more about selecting appliances here.
The electricity meter has been replaced with a smart meter wihch records and displays elecricity consumption and generation every 30 minutes. Alice Springs residents could have a smart meter installed through Alice Solar City as part of the Cost Reflective Tariff trial or BP Solar PV installation.
An interactive in-house display (IHD) shows current and historical information regarding electricity generation and consumption. The IHD communicates wirelessly with the smart meter, and allows the householder to track their electricity use. Alice Springs residents taking part in the Cost Reflective Tariff trial have been provided with an IHD.
This will allow the homeowner to track their electricity use all day, every day, helping them make smarter decisions about when and how they use electricity.
Read more about these here.
Water consumption has been reduced by replacing the various original fittings with models that have higher water efficiency. The Department of Land Resource Management (LRM) provides rebates on water saving devices and installations including showerheads, washing machines, pool covers, toilet retrofits and more. For more information on water efficiency refer to the Water Wise Action in Central Australia booklet.
The greywater system diverts waste water from the laundry and bathroom to some of the fruit trees on the property. This is fed via subsurface irrigation to reduce evaporation and restrict direct human contact wiht the greywater. The Department of Land Resource Management provides rebates for the installation of greywater systems. For more information on grey water systems refer to the Water Wise Action in Central Australia booklet.
A 5,400 litre rainwater tank has been installed and placed in the corner of the property, making use of an existing concrete slab. A first flush diverter and leaf beater reduce the amount of dust and other impurities collected in the tank.The Department of Land Resource Management provides rebates for the installation of rainwater tanks. For more information on rainwater tanks and gardens see the Water Wise Action in Central Australia booklet.
Rainwater is pumped to the solar hot water system, extending the life of its tank by reducing calcium build-up, as there are much lower levels of dissolved minerals in rainwater. If and when the rainwater tank empties, the pump automatically switches across to mains water until it rains again.
The small patch of lawn is watered via subsurgace irrigation so that water gets straight to the roots where it is needed and evaporation is kept to a minimum.
When the house was purchased the front garden contained little vegetation. Since then a swale has been constructed to improve water harvesting from natural rainfall and the area has been planted exclusively with native plants well adapted to the arid zone that don't require large amounts of water. Since planting occurred these plants have been watered using a reticulated irrigation system and over time the amount of water used on this section of the garden has been significantly reduced as the plants became established. Watering will be gradually reduced until the garden is only watered occasionally and deeply. This will encourage deep root growth. Refer to the Water Wise Action in Central Australia booklet for more information.
DesertSMART COOLmob 8952 0299
NT Waterwise Central Australia 8951 9209 for rebates on water saving devices and appliances, rainwater tanks and greywater systems.