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The Ecobob Cafe is for people interested in eco living to socialise and to share ideas and information.
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This forum is for topics relating to eco friendly building design, construction and renovations. 5135 Posts

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Latest Forum Posts


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118 posts
Posted Yesterday, 9:01 PM
It is nothing to do with protectionism. All Quality products will have the ability to get a suplyers doc.
Generally i haven't seen any problems with light switches so tiny and weak that don't last very long.
If you have knowledge of failing switches , or poor quality work i suggest you contact the electrical workers registration board they would be pleased to know .

35 posts
Posted 28 Mar 15 11:07 PM
Sometime I wonder whether the rejection of high standard products by NZ electricians out of countries like Germany is purely protectionism. It cannot be the "high standard" of NZ power points, light switches or wiring standards in domestic buildings. Compared to electrical fittings and wiring standards in many other developed countries NZ is rather on the lower end.
Just need to look into the ceilings in new houses, wires thrown diagonally all over the place, over sharp edges of nail plates and rondo battons and wires somewhat silly placed in the wall framing so closed to the surface that the first damage can easily occur with the plasterboard screws. Not to mention the light switches which are so tiny and weak and don't last very long.

5 posts
Posted 28 Mar 15 5:58 AM
and called a Sdoc for short

3 posts
Posted 27 Mar 15 9:20 PM
Interesting. Did not know this.

1 posts
Posted 27 Mar 15 11:53 AM
Hi all,

I want to thank you for sharing your experiences owning a pyro. I started looking into these back in 2011 and couldn't find any objective reviews whatsoever, the only available information was complete hyperbole.

I really liked their idea and wanted to install one, but after exhaustive searches of the net and talking to installers and owners the real world performance just didn't stack up. But it was really hard to expose.

Eventually I found an article where a guy published a graph from a datalogger showing the heat up and cool down characteristics of the ceramic chamber. That illustrated the need to basically run them 24x7 and kiss goodbye to any reduced fuel consumption whatsoever.

Likewise creosoting of the 4" flues was mentioned anecdotally in one or two places.

For these and other reasons I installed another make woodburner (before these posts circa 2014) were published.

What you've provided here is really really helpful.

1 posts
Posted 27 Mar 15 10:39 AM
Hi Mike

I'm in the process of looking at using PV panels to run a second element in a hot water cylinder as you have described.

I figured that the cylinder thermostat would not like a DC load, which is where I found your post.

What do you suggest for a high volt DC contactor to switch the DC load? Is there something already available built up and ready to go?

Many thanks,

Steve

2 posts
Posted 25 Mar 15 9:20 PM
I have no idea why the photo was rotated when I uploaded it...

2 posts
Posted 25 Mar 15 9:09 PM
Hi all,

I have purchased a section that is covered in Native bush.

We are going to have to clear some to build and for access in accordance with the covenants in place. None of the trees are listed as notable trees by the local council.

In all it looks like we will be removing 2 large Matai and a large Rimu as well as a large Rata (straight) and some beech trees.

We plan on building using a Kit home, but I am wondering about the possibility of using the Matai for flooring and cladding.

does anyone have good knowledge of milling and or building with native wood.

Can I also use this wood for construction of wooden foundations (using treated or concrete piles of course)...

will the reduce the cot of building or will the cost of milling it actually end up the same as buying particle board?

I guess we can save on floor coverings by having nice finished wood floors.

And cladding, using Matai for cladding is that a good idea.

I guess Rata is not really worth using based on hat I have read online but the information is so little and non specific and is why I am posting here.

I am overseas until I visit again in September so can't go to a local saw mill to talk to them.

and we won't be building for 2+ years so there is ample drying time.

It would be a waste to sell these trees as stumpage. though I do not want to add more money to our build than necessary. We will have to apply to the council for milling these due to laws put in place but it might well be worth it. Seems bizzare that we can chop them down no worries but milling them is restricted. I guess this is to stop commercial entities buying up blocks like these...

Any advice or information




131 posts
Posted 25 Mar 15 10:13 AM
Perhaps you should post your question on NZ Motor Home forum. There a lots of knowledgeable people there whom have been where you are going.

Basically you need to sum up your total loads in Amp Hours over a 24 hour period, allow at least 3 days storage capacity and enough PV panel area to charge you battery in a day.

http://www.nzmotorhome.co.nz/NZMotorhomeForum/index.php?sid=72bb096c86736729697439489469a941

1 posts
Posted 24 Mar 15 10:24 PM
Hi guys, I am currently looking into moving into a camper and kitting it out with some solar power as I want to save up those hard earned dollars in bid to someday own my own sustainable home . I've done a bit of research but there is so much info out there it's hard to find any definitive answers. I guess I am only really looking to power a small LED light, charge my phone and maybe power a laptop (if realistic??) - so my question is a technical one, what size battery/solar panel would I need to do the above tasks day to day? Any help anyone could provide would be much appreciated! Thanks!

118 posts
Posted 22 Mar 15 7:03 PM
Everything installed by an electrician in newzealand needs a suplyers declaration before it can be installed . This may be a stumbling block for your idea .

42 posts
Posted 21 Mar 15 6:08 PM
Any one have any experience, tips around those electric tankless instant hot water heaters?

New kitchen going in a long way from the HWC. There is only the kitchen sink hot tap. Will be used to fill the sink 2, maybe 3 times a day. Seems like a waste to run a hot pipe all that way and those small under bench HWC's seems like a bad idea.

I've never seem a single sink instant heater in the wild, but have read mixed stories.

thanks in advance,
Dave

29 posts
Posted 21 Mar 15 8:00 AM
I believe CPS only do solar pv, not solar hot water.

Rohanb - I assumed your were looking into a solar hot water system, is that right? If you're after solar pv I have a few more recommendations.

You can find out the difference between solar pv and solar hot water here:
https://www.mysolarquotes.co.nz/about-solar-power/residential/solar-hot-water-vs-solar-power-systems/

You could also try talking to Tony from alphaenergy.co.nz
He offers a wide range of products from heat pumps to solar hot water. He's normally quite opinionated in what type of product he thinks is best, even though he stocks them all.

91 posts
Posted 20 Mar 15 3:34 PM
I can recommend Murray from CPS (Canterbury Power Solar). He did my 3kW PV install and I was very impressed with both him and his team of installers. Really nice guys, and very professional. Did a great job and I have stoked with the results!

29 posts
Posted 20 Mar 15 11:36 AM
Denali's full story is on the Ecobob website here:
http://ecobob.co.nz/EcoArticle/2447/0/Toxic-Floorboards.aspx

3 posts
Posted 19 Mar 15 8:34 PM
Not sure about an electrician, but you could check with BuildersCrack.co.nz.

I have 270 watt Yingli Solar PANDA panels. A 4000 W system. I am happy with it.

3 posts
Posted 19 Mar 15 4:50 PM
Hello,

I had respiratory and neurologic symptoms caused by a toxic Torlys brand floor named "Artisan premier hardwood". My YouTube playlist here documents this story:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3Fqmbl8nYmCOtKh2y4ZET1v4QEqKHrlF

These floorboards I learned were made in China. The core of them is high density fiberboard (HDF).

Some of you may be aware of the situation with Lumber Liquidators:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lumber-liquidators-linked-to-health-and-safety-violations/

Be sure to watch this video to the very end to see the Chinese factory workers admitting to the mislabeling.

Lumber Liquidators is sourcing floorboards from China, like Torlys, which had high levels of formaldehyde and were mislabeled as CARB2 (California Air Resources Board phase 2 Composite Wood Products Regulation) compliant. Lumber Liquidators should have been aware of this.

Logically this problem affects other MDF(medium density fiberboard)/HDF floorboards out of China as well. Mine were certainly affected. Although my floorboards had real hardwood on top, the core of them is HDF and this issue is about the high formaldehyde levels within the core board itself.

If you currently do or have had any of the following symptoms and suspect they are related to the floorboards in your home or office, or after reading this, you think might be due to the floorboards, then please respond.

-Nasal irritation
-General respiratory irritation
-Irritation in the back of the throat
-Coughing
-Watering eyes
-Difficulty thinking
-Mild headaches
-Disorientation
-Chemical smell
-Or any kind of symptom you think would be related to formaldehyde.

This issue is not specific Torlys boards, but my research has shown that it affects floorboards out of China consisting of HDF/MDF in their core. Not all of them would be affected. It would be ones that would be lower quality, where the formaldehyde level in them was high, or have been mislabeled.

29 posts
Posted 19 Mar 15 2:33 PM
Hi Rohanb

Sorry I haven't had any experience with what you are dealing with. Just a though, have you tried greendoginsulation.co.nz? They have a wide range of products so they might be more helpful...

It's a shame Christchurch haven't got any eco design advisers, which is a free service from most councils around New Zealand.




6 posts
Posted 18 Mar 15 8:00 PM
Hi folks

Anyone had good bad experiences with wetback and or solar installers in the Christchurch area?

In the middle of renovations and have done some research but really need someone who knows what they are doing.

I'd even consider paying a consultant as it seems the plumbers / retails I have spoken to seem to think their products (whether it be heat pumps, continuous flow gas etc etc) are the only way to go.

Any direction is appreciated.

Cheers

483 posts
Posted 18 Mar 15 1:19 PM
I agree Karp - maybe a perfect' water vapour barrier' might have theoretical benefits in very cold climates but not in Zone 1 and 2.
Check what happens when you have a pinhole in the vapour barrier of a cold store and tell me how you can achieve an economically perfect barrier in a residential construction. Doesn't work for me - I prefer to get rid of my excess water vapour by opening the window and fitting fixed vents in certain rooms.
Rex

5 posts
Posted 15 Mar 15 8:54 PM
Hi all
Does anyone have recent experience in importing windows. There seems to be a number of chinese manufacturers producing high quality euro style windows but I'm not sure how to determine compliance. I am aware of NZ window suppliers sourcing their products from china without issue.
Cheers milo

118 posts
Posted 15 Mar 15 8:17 PM
If you think they have not done the job properly, take them to the small claims tribunal.From what you say it looks like you have plenty of other people to back up your concerns.
Your point about how do you know if they are working ,i think is very valid.If was to look to save on water heating i think i would look at the heat pump systems .
From what i see they are easier to install, also if a retro fit a check meter can be fitted before and after to provide real data on performance .

1 posts
Posted 14 Mar 15 5:43 PM
Ok I'm stepping out of my comfort zone to raise a concern over a company on the North Shore selling Solar Hot Water solutions. This company is not quite as good as their ego or sales acumen would portray.

Well I'm not going to tell you readers if the're good, bad or ugly, I'm just going to tell you about my experience and I'll leave the rest up to you, so here goes:

1) I'm a qualified civil engineer and have been in the construction game for over 25 years in Europe and NZ.

2) The smallest project I've actually run is $2.5M

3) I was voted onto the board of the IPENZ committee for sustainability.

4) I purchased a solar hot water system from Solar Group 2+ years ago.

5) All the conditions of the sale agreement were not completed by Solar Group - but let's not go into that now.

6) They installed one of the systems incorrectly meaning one system did not save me one cent for over 14 months. They wanted me to sign a disclosure agreement saying they would fix it as long as I didn't mention it to anyone needless to say I didn't sign anything.

7) I had to call them back 3 times to fix said system which kept on losing pressure.

8) I was presented bills for all three instances.

9) On the fourth occasion I employed another Solar Hot Water specialist company to come in and assess my system. They told me that the system was shoddy and that the design was flawed. I needed two larger expansion tanks fitted and some pipework and valves replaced. The bill for the repair and fix up was $1,500.

10) The Greenglow system keeps on leaking and leaves rust marks on the outside of the tanks.

11) The Solar Group are being promoted by Auckland Council using our tax payers money.

12) Upon consultation with The Solar Group I have only met hostility and rudeness.

13) I paid The Solar Group a good five figure sum for my two systems in one house (essentially paid for headaches)

I have met a few plumbers in my time who have come across The Solar Group. They all believe that they sell cheap products and cheap solutions and are getting some good contracts because of it. The latest being a school in Auckland that has over 10 solar collectors which ultimately didn't work after The Solar Group commissioned the system and told the school everything was functional. I guess the cold water was a good testament to their approval.

This is hearsay from a disgruntled contractor who had a run in with the main man at The Solar Group so don't take it as gospel but I personally believe this guy, he has been in the industry for 30 years and runs a big commercial outfit.

But regardless of this company being deemed a cowboy or not is this, how many solar hot water systems are out there today not adding any value whatsoever to the household that invested in them?

How do you know they're actually working even 10% efficiently?

No two days are the same so you can't really compare electricity bills can you?

I personally believe the future is conventional hot water cylinders with PV. Hopefully we will see better data monitoring and simpler solutions with less fuss and NO MORE hard hitting salesmen who promise (saving) the earth and deliver absolutely nothing at all, they just cost you deeply in the pocket.

Good Luck all.

16 posts
Posted 10 Mar 15 12:47 PM
Also, we used Douglas Fir framing - hopefully that was a good choice!

16 posts
Posted 10 Mar 15 12:36 PM
Well, the house is up now, we decided to go with Ecoply on the main house, and the separate garage and granny flat have got building wrap. We are having a Smartvent Heat Recovery ventilation system in the house. The thing I have had to be the most vigilant over was checking the insulation was installed properly - we put extra batts in where the walls come perpendicular off the perimeter framing and also the corners (before the wrap / Ecoply went on), and also found the insulation wasn't installed over the top plate in lots of walls, leaving a gap all the way round the top of the walls! All that plus some gaps/sags etc. It has all been sorted though, the poor insulation guy must have thought he was under exam conditions! It's still not quite finished but is certainly weathertight. Thanks for your interest.

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