Environment

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A short history of the house computers

Background

These pages detail our attempts to minimize our eco-footprint. We have dabbled with

  1. Photo-Voltaic panels (including Uninterruptible Power Supplies)
  2. Rainwater Harvesting
  3. Smart Heating
  4. Computer support for all the above

Current PV Scenario

Our original Trace inverter of 3.5kW was installed in 2003, and has been running happily ever since. Unfortunately, it only has 1.5kW of PV panels attached, as that was the maximum size afforded by the PV panel rebate then in force. Still, it supplies about 1/3 of our daily usage, together with 330AH @ 24v of battery backup.

With the remodelling of our house, it seemed appropriate to upgrade this system, and extend the number of panels to fill out the available capacity. However, while I was told that this was technically feasible, a better and cheaper solution was to go for a completely independent new inverter and panels. So we now have a new Fronius Primo 3kW inverter, together with 3kW of PV panels. With double the capacity of the old system, and now 3 times the original system, it should come close to providing almost all our power needs.

I say "almost", as the system is not ideal, with 1.5kW of panels on the east facing gable, and 1.5kW of panels on the west facing gable. (The old system remains on the north facing gable.) It does come close - our power consumption has dropped from 24kWh/day to about 6kWh/day.

Current Rainwater Harvesting

We now have three 2000 litre tanks for collecting rainwater. The 4000 litre "wootank" had to be dismantled at the start of renovations. Imagine our surprise when we found Percy the Perch flopping around in the bottom as we drained it. We thought he had died years ago. We rescued him and took him to Jells park, where we released him into the lake there.

Unfortunately, at the moment none of the tanks are plumbed to any outlets, so overflow simply goes down the drain. Two factors limit the plumbing: a) the supply pump is currently decomissioned, and needs to be re-instated; and b) there are no vegetable gardens, toilets, or other outlets currently plumbed in.

Hopefully all this will change in the near future as we settle into our new home.

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