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The Ecobob Cafe is for people interested in eco living to socialise and to share ideas and information.
Yesterday, 10:22 AM
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Building design, construction and renovations Last post Posts
This forum is for topics relating to eco friendly building design, construction and renovations. 5475 Posts

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Topics in this forum relate to sustainable real estate and sustainable property development. 284 Posts

World Environment Day Last post Posts
This forum is for discussions on World Environment Day. What are you, or your organisation, doing for World Environment Day? Do you know of any activities happening around the country for World Environment Day? 81 Posts

Latest Forum Posts

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1 posts
Posted Yesterday, 10:22 AM

What's your impression about this web app for managing house consumption: water, heat, energy ?

32 posts
Posted Yesterday, 6:21 AM
Sorry Ecobob Members, Kristy from Ecobob here. We are in the process of moving over to a new platform, so you may see a few non related forum posts that I won't be able to delete until we are on the new platform.

1 posts
Posted 5 Oct 15 10:55 PM
Thanks for such beautifully written article. This article remind me about the my pet who also fight for his right with other dogs. His loyalty and dedication towards me is ultimate. I brought dog playpens for his amusement. He loved so much this. Once again thanks for nice post. - dog playpens -

1 posts
Posted 5 Oct 15 6:39 PM
Hi, relocation can be one of the most hectic task if not planned well. Planning is the foremost task while doing any move.
First you should start with choosing the best planning best relocation company.
Although a good relocation company provides you all the services related to move but one must be very concern about there own belongings.
When I was about to move I contacted a well known relocation company ActusFlytt and was very satisfied with the services they provided. They carried out al;l the task with their expert team. You can check out the services in detail :

1 posts
Posted 2 Oct 15 1:55 PM
Would running a small moisture channel around they internal wall before cladding inside be viable? And as they need to be air tight / sealed how would this drain externally? I've seen these units used in the prisons and wondered about this myself. I am looking at using this to build my own home. Any ideas?

362 posts
Posted 29 Sep 15 9:54 PM

145 posts
Posted 29 Sep 15 8:33 PM
Cannot supply you with plans, basically have to be as strong as a solid fence, eg supported to resist lateral and also uplifting vertical loads.
See these links to give you a good idea.

Put the footings down 1/3 the post height, concrete packed, generally all the ones I have seen seem to be well over engineered.

2 posts
Posted 27 Sep 15 3:13 PM
Hello to all,

Does anybody have plans available for a timber ground mount install?
This will be for an off-grid system,comprising 36 panels, and there is land available as it will be on acreage.
There are some images for NZ ground mount installs using timber but I have not seen any plans with specs.

Any replies would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

7 posts
Posted 21 Sep 15 11:42 AM
Hi, I'm still in the throws of working with them. I know they have a build going on this week in Auckland. Certainly from a insulation perspective it's pretty darn good.

60 posts
Posted 21 Sep 15 9:53 AM
Correction to the above - second paragraph, second sentence should read

If you have low grade modules micro inverters can provide a higher array output

60 posts
Posted 21 Sep 15 9:51 AM
In general it is best to avoid shade when installing any PV but sometimes it is not possible to prevent a shadow falling across the array at some time of day. this can be from a tree or maybe powerline or flagpole etc. Micro inverters certainly can generate more output from the array at these times than a string inverter. Some good brands such as Enphase have very impressive reliability figures and the days of high failure rates are behind us (hopefully for ever). The rooftop is a hostile environment for electronics but with better components the failures have dropped right off with the latest generation models such as the M250.

String inverters can be lower cost to install, especially when you use a good grade of PV module with minimal output variation. EG, lower cost modules may still have +-5% power tolerance whereas top end PV often indicate a +3% -0% tolerance. If you have low grade modules string inverters can provide a higher array output as the lowest output module is not limiting the entire string but these days with PV costs being so low why use cheap modules?

Basically with good modules and no shade there will be minimal power differences between the two technologies. With high tolerance modules, differing array ortientations or shading on the site the micro's will do better.

2 posts
Posted 21 Sep 15 9:18 AM
Hi Tewai,

Are you still looking to use the Aridon system?
I am also investigating the use of Aridon however it will mean changing from a 140mm frame with insulation of R4.4 to a 90mm frame with R2.3(specs from Branz Appraisal)
Doing this for cost saving measures
Have you or anyone else looked into the benefits of introducing Aridon in place of the normal building wrap and insulation?
Will the Aridon system create a more airtight envelope then normal building practice?
The house is North facing with Double glazing,Roof R4.0,slab R3.2 with perimiter insulation.
Also planning to use a HVAC system.

Any comments appreciated

6 posts
Posted 20 Sep 15 9:33 PM

My panels are BD Solar, image attached. You can probably get better now days. 14 panels maximum I have had out of them is 4.4kW.


Will check my numbers. Tariff was been 25c kW first 5kW per day 10c / kw after that. I will check the numbers on my spreadsheet from my billing in case I have made a mistake. Ran in credit for four months February to May.

Tariff is now different [Meridian Energy] so don't know how it will effect this year.

1 posts
Posted 20 Sep 15 5:00 PM
I'm in Chch and was told about a new type of domestic solar hot water heat pump on the market that claims higher efficiency than air based.

Instead of using air as the heat transfer source it uses a panel that sits on the roof or side of the house looking for solar gain.

Do any of you have experience good or bad with this in NZ? Looks like it has been on the market in England for quite a while.

362 posts
Posted 20 Sep 15 1:53 AM

Your numbers look strange to me.

Your avoided cost was $603. Your power returned to grid $642. Your power sales to the grid look very high at $50 a month.

What is your grid-export tariff? Has it stayed the same in the last 18 months? Is that tariff still available to new connects?


What does "ready[ing] the house for retrofitting" mean?

I saw a house with pre-wiring for solar: the regulations changed and it all had to be re-done.

8 posts
Posted 19 Sep 15 9:27 PM
Would you care to comment on a question re sun shade etc

500 posts
Posted 19 Sep 15 7:35 PM
This calculator is faulty - the 'rise' should be defined as to the underside of the rafter at the apex, not the top of the rafter, if the 'run' is measuring from the inside face of the top plate (with a full width top plate birds-mouth).

Regards Rex

1 posts
Posted 19 Sep 15 10:21 AM
I would just like to say Pyroclassic burns well but the quality of the heater is terrible, we have had our heater for 18months have replaced the wooden knob 3 times, first time not long after we got it, door comes loose all the time, glass broke, and the other day a piece came off from in side the heater some where, not sure what it is, but we are now looking at getting another heater. waste of money!

2 posts
Posted 19 Sep 15 8:02 AM

2 posts
Posted 19 Sep 15 8:01 AM
suziebee, you can measure angles <a href="">here</a>

2 posts
Posted 18 Sep 15 1:53 PM
Thanks Keith! Are you able to share which brand of solar panels you went for?

I think we will look at installing on-grid solution with future intention for off-grid too.

6 posts
Posted 15 Sep 15 9:36 PM
why you want to do it. If you do decide to proceed, design you house and how you consume power around the system. PS, I also have a 9kVA generator which is wired in and will run the whole house.


{I have no idea why the post did not complete}

6 posts
Posted 15 Sep 15 8:37 PM

We were faced with a similar problem some 18 months ago in conjunction with a new build. Whilst it is difficult to give hard facts what I can supply is information on our experience to date as we did install Solar PV. Everyone has there own spin but this is what we did.

The cost of the system, excluding installation was 11.5k. This was a 4kW PV system, and included all DC cabling, isolation switches, all roof mounting hardware plus the solar controller. The cost of the install was part of the electricians work in the house construction and I would estimate it added about 2k.

The system went live in July 2014 so have twelve months of actual data in terms of savings.

Power cost avoided $603
Power returned to the grid $642

Power costs over and above $2151

So in terms of my investment I am getting around a 9% return.


1. I deliberately oversized the system as one day I expect to be able to go off grid. Could have gotten away easily with 3kW.
2. All lighting in the house are LED. Got a very good price through the electrician, I was contemplating CFL's.
3. Heating consists of a wood burner, heat pumps and standard electric heating
4. House has two bathrooms with underfloor electric heating plus two heated towel rails
5. Heat pump hot water system [NZ made]
6. Gas hobs in the kitchen, run off a 9kg gas bottle [lasts about 7-8 months]

Since the initial install, I have fitted timers on the heated towel rails [4 hours on, 8 off], and programed the underfloor heating to only come on intensely when in main use [i.e. in the mornings]. This has been a recent change, I am also about to fit a timer to the heat pump hot water system to delay it working in the night hours. The cylinder is quite large and I will be setting on hours from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

The heat pumps are mainly used for cooling in summer. Our house is north facing and can get very warm. We made sure the house design took advantage of natural heating.

So in terms of your question, does it pay, my answer would be it depends on circumstance and what you want to achieve. I consider the pay back from the electricity provider a bonus and was not factored into my decision. I will milk it whilst we can, but the best system is to us all of what you generate. Note, I have deliberately oversized the system for future intent, so at the moment I export a lot. My peak power generation is 4.4kw.

I would strongly suggest you look at the whole package of efficiency. The gas hobs on the 9kg bottle are great. $90 per year, cant beat it. The LED lights, hard to put a payback period on, but if I do get to go off grid they help with minimising the sizing of my storage system. Same applies with the heat pump hot water. I don't know honestly if it is cheaper to run [as claimed], the pump whilst it only draws 1kW runs for some time. I will do some testing at some time as it has a 3kW standard element I can switch to. The reason I opted for the HW heat pump was to work in with the PV system output by staying under the 4kW draw. If I go off grid keeping power peaks down will be essential. The under floor bathroom heating and the heated towel rails were a trade off with my wife. These are the largest contributors to power consumption. I consider our power consumption above average.

I would agree with your electrician that storage systems do not yet have an ROI for a standard domestic user. If you lived in the middle of nowhere and it was going to cost 20k to get power to your house, then maybe a different deal. I did not go to the expense of putting in a controller to manage batteries. I expect when the time comes for a storage system I will buy a new controller to match what ever I use. I have been watching the technology and whilst there are claims of battery break throughs, none have gone into commercial production. I would wait and see what happens.

Sorry this is a long winded response and may not answer your question, the one thing you really need to ask yourself is

1 posts
Posted 15 Sep 15 12:35 AM
i understand you have to get the old cast iron rads to 50 - 60 deg c before they are efficient where as under floor is around 20 deg c. hope this helps.

2 posts
Posted 14 Sep 15 9:56 AM
I need some factual information from the wiser crowd on solar solution in NZ.

We are looking to build a family home in Wellington and have been getting mixed messages on installing solar.

We want to be more self sufficient in our living and have read a lot around improvement in recent tech advancements from integrated PV, Lithium solutions and Red Flow's Zinc Bromide solution for residential).

With the drop in power buy-back in NZ, our building consultant is advising that we do not install solar, but ready the house for retrofitting. When we asked about power storage to provide enough power at night, we are advised by our building consultant and his electrician that the technology has a way to go before there is real ROI, and that again we should consider retrofitting when the technology is more affordable and stacks up to truly realise the benefits. They're not against solar, but they're advising based on studies they've also read.

Attempts to look up ROI has been disappointing with case studies all being at least a few years out of date and basing on older techs. Does anyone have any recent studies or facts they can share? This will be most helpful in aiding us in making a well informed decision.

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