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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 Today, 6:46 PM
Going by your specifications I would like to recommend you to go for pre engineered metal buildings. They would fit in your budget also and would also be helpful in energy savings. I feel they are a great option as Eco-friendly yet cheap building choices. To know more about alternative methods visit

13 posts
Posted Yesterday, 10:18 AM
I used Ulica UL-300M-72 mono-crystaline panels that I imported directly from the manufacturer in China. I used a local import agent to handle the logistics.

In a micro-inverter system there is no high voltage DC so you can do everything yourself except the final hook-up to the switchboard. There is no DC isolator but you will need an AC isolator on the roof for each string of micro-inverters. Keep all the wiring under the panels and you won't need to use any conduit. Make sure that the cables are tied up under the panels so that they don't touch the roof. Use metal clips or ties, not plastic.

6 posts
Posted 29 Oct 14 11:44 PM
Hi, what model panel have you used please. I would Like to view the specs. I presumed you sourced panels, inverters and hardware yourself then had sparky install the dc isolaters, cables and meter. I am trying to understand how much I can do myself.

13 posts
Posted 29 Oct 14 11:51 AM
After 6 months of waiting I have finally got my export meters installed, so I can now post a link to the output from my system

I am very pleased with the APS YC500 dual micro-inverters and the support from APS when I had questions. I bought them from AC Solar Warehouse in Australia and paid the freight and NZ GST to get them to me in NZ.

The APS YC500-SAA are on the list of AU/NZ approved inverters but I still had endless trouble explaining to the inspectors that they were dual 250W inverters and so met the 350VA limit (per micro-inverter output) that is mentioned in AS/NZS 5033:2012

3 posts
Posted 29 Oct 14 6:57 AM
You might try buying via an Australian supplier and paying for the freight to NZ. I looked into this and it was quite cost effective if you have the ability to install them.

6 posts
Posted 29 Oct 14 6:50 AM
Hi southburnsolar, how are the yv500 dual micro inverters working out. Where did you buy from please and were they approved for nz.

12 posts
Posted 26 Oct 14 1:36 PM
I had a chat with the Council Building Officer(?) last week when I was back in NZ briefly. Apart from the obvious engineering calculations, R values and the fireproof rating, the main concern was really the waterproofing of the building envelope, particularly the wall/floor & wall/roof joins and the windows/building as well as what cladding would be used. If I have protected the LVL's from external exposure I only need to meet the relevant building code requirements so I wouldn't need H3.2 apart from those LVL's exposed below the floor.

I need to have a good look at my external cladding options. Render isn't a desirable finish on Waiheke from a resale perspective apparently and the rain screen and batten option used in the concept isn't enough for the council.

3 posts
Posted 26 Oct 14 9:04 AM
With tubes, you should be able to rotate them 180 degrees so they face down to the roof. With the tubes I have this is easy.

7 posts
Posted 25 Oct 14 12:14 PM
Your two options are:
- minimise the moisture in the air (ventilation)
- remove/reduce cold surfaces for the air to condense on (double glazing)

Ventilation can make a house colder, though heat recover equipment can minimise that. You're probably looking at a $2-4K for a decent unit. Another downside is some take air from the roof space, which is often lower quality than you'd like. You still need to do things like vent driers, have an extractor over your shower/cooking area, etc, but people make moisture by breathing so it can't be eliminated.

Double glazing will minimise or prevent condensation forming. I have the kind where they attached a sheet of 3mm thick plastic on the inside of my deep wooden window frames, which isn't as good as proper sealed double glazing units, but it's probably 80% as good at 20% the price. Mine cost around $3500 for 5 big windows, which were 4 pane windows, old style. The company went out of business though.

I have an old ventilation system we only run during the day, and the cheaper double glazing I said above. My condensation has gone from forming puddles on my window sills and the windows being totally wet to the point you saturate a large towel every day to a light misting of moisture that you don't even need to wipe up. Double glazing made more of a difference, but you need to shift that moisture out of the house because it's not healthy and costs more to heat.

3 posts
Posted 24 Oct 14 6:35 PM
Hi Case,

Thanks for your help. Unfortunately, Styrobec in Lower Hutt have never even heard of it. They were going to check their Auckland branch for me but, as they haven't got back to me as yet, I suspect that Auckland haven't got it either.

Conqueror in Christchurch, NZ's only manufacturer of PIR, does deliver occasionally to the lower N Island but unfortunately they cannot as yet supply the 30mm thickness that I need.

Nuralite in Auckland can supply Enertherm board, but only in small 1m x 1.2m size. Cartage for small amounts is too much. Luckily I am driving up there shortly, so will pick some up then.

1 posts
Posted 23 Oct 14 8:29 AM
We have a 90s house which had humidity problems. We sealed the walls with enamel paint; replace all downlights with fire rated ('sealed') high efficiency ones; dome over the shower with extractor fan from INSIDE it; high efficiency log-burner using only OUTSIDE air through a heat exchanger around the flue for combustion (but now only rarely used); after-market (plastic sheet) double glazing; heat pump at each end of the house; anti-stratification fans which lift the cold floor air up to the thermostat vents on the heat pumps; special-design low-flow/high-efficiency ceiling mounted kitchen extractor (; closer units on all frequently used external doors; Heat-exchanger 'balanced' ventilator drawing 'stale' air from one end of house and injecting fresh, exchanger-warmed air in the other end (now rarely used). We have a concrete floor which acts as a huge "nitestore"; all internal doors are left open to enable circulation; the clothes drier is vented outside; and we have very thick-lined 'puddled' drapes on all the larger windows.

Our heating costs have fallen but the comfort level has risen. Both heat pumps are left on 20C all winter; they switch themselves off during the day when the sun raises the temperature - and they eventually run low, slow and quiet at night, as they merely keep up with minor heat loss and never have to heat-up the house. We get no condensation, ever, not even when we test with open, boiling, pans on every ring of the stove. We have pot plants indoors which we give heaps of water. We do open windows (with fly-screens) when it's warm weather but when it's cold outside and they are closed, our house always feels fresh, airy and warm - even though it's virtually sealed!

It's clear from the fact that we have largely stopped using some of our options, that we went into over-kill

71 posts
Posted 21 Oct 14 10:09 PM
styrobec in lower hutt have it.

3 posts
Posted 21 Oct 14 9:52 AM
I have searched quite a bit but so far haven't been able to find a source for purchasing DIY quantities of PIR board. Can anyone help?

I am in Palmerston North, so a N island supplier would be preferred, if one exists. it's for a DIY solar water heat collector, so polystyrene is not appropriate, it's likely to melt!

74 posts
Posted 18 Oct 14 7:32 PM
Green certification makes sense for corporate companies and businesses who are willing to invest the money into such projects; usually they see it as they’re ‘corporate social responsibility’ and a good way to gain perceived ‘positive marketing’ for the brand, and sometimes they genuinely care for the environment. Yep anyway, back to the real world, with real budgets and real people.

Green certified buildings are also the most expensive buildings to construct. More money equals more resources used for construction, equals more technologies, equals more negative impacts on the environment. Lesser budget buildings are likely to be better for the environment, due to fewer resources being required for construction, compared to high budgets, and highly rated green buildings which require more resources and technologies.

To justify the upfront expenses and direct negative impacts on the environment over a green buildings life time running costs……doesn’t stack up for me.

The more resources used upfront for construction….the worse it is for the environment.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, green buildings are quite possibly the worst buildings for the environment due to the high construction costs and high amount of resources required for construction.

The highest level green rated building is likely to cost three times the price as a regular building- this is counterproductive for our environment and makes little sense to me.

Green certifications need to be made more accessible for lesser budget buildings (that are the majority of buildings built), require overall less resources for construction and less money to produce the buildings, with minimised amounts on technologies used, and maximised efficiency from technologies that are used.

When looking at green certifications check lists, they’re geared up for an expensive consumer driven green orgy, and someone forgot to bring the environment along.

5 posts
Posted 15 Oct 14 3:48 PM

A week Friday(24th Oct) we are delivering an Introductory talk on the subject of designing your Eco home. It will take place at the wonderful HIVE Environment center in New Plymouth.

This will be a per-cursor to a weekend workshop that will take place on the 22nd/23rd November.

It would be wonderful to see you there...

See attached poster

1 posts
Posted 13 Oct 14 9:55 PM

Our products offered are as follows:
-Wood Pellets
-Wood Briquettes
-Chacoal (wood, soft wood, barbecue, etc.)
-Timber (Logs and Sawn wood)
contact our email us at

2 posts
Posted 13 Oct 14 4:54 PM
We have also worked with Independent Power in Albany for many years and they are very knowledgable and also very helpful. Start with them ! We live on the west coast of the South island and they just ship what we need.

12 posts
Posted 13 Oct 14 2:46 PM
Polystyrene is recyclable.

4 posts
Posted 13 Oct 14 2:15 PM
Just don't like the environmental credentials of polystyrene - not recyclable, very flammable and also bad fitting can leave holes and slots etc. As I mentioned I was hoping for polyester or wool.
Bosca 360 is a dream. Get's to heat really quickly - can warm our whole house up (200m2) in about an hour. It gets through a cold (Auckland) winter's night with about 6 logs plus kindling.

1 posts
Posted 13 Oct 14 1:21 PM
Howdy. Why your concern with polystyrene under the floor? I'm not sure what kind of insulation to put on my new build, and was looking at a whole house polystyrene wrap.

Also are you happy with the Bosca 360? Looking at one of those, is it pretty economical on the wood? I'm building a 120m2 house in HIllsborough Road, wood on wooden poles as well, so similar to your situation.

342 posts
Posted 13 Oct 14 9:54 AM
Hi Suziebee

Have you spoken with Independent Power in Albany?

I am not off-grid but use an Elcold freezer I bought off them - appliances built for the off-grid market are very different to normal appliances.

For example, the freezer compressor starts and runs different to on-grid freezers: when it is on, it is fully "on" in order to minimise partially loading the inverter. Inverters that are partially loaded are inefficient and chews through your battery power more for every kWh of energy you get out of them. Same as fridges built for off-grid homes do a soft start rather have the massive in-rush currents normal fridge motors draw when they turn on. Again, when these specially designed fridges don't run part load, and don't have little gadgetry that eats power during low inverter loadings which again chews through the battery storage.

2 posts
Posted 11 Oct 14 3:33 PM
After 15 years off the grid I believe the super low energy fridges are a must. Very expensive but unless things have significantly changed recently then ....

13 posts
Posted 11 Oct 14 6:43 AM
Flat plate solar hot water systems might not work very well in the south. But evacuated tube systems are proven to work well in cold conditions. You can also get them with anti-freeze heat transfer fluid instead of just having water pump through them.

6 posts
Posted 9 Oct 14 6:49 PM
I've had an couple emails from a reseller and they seem to think it's find it works okay. These guys say they are the manufacture at: . There is a 48v 1200w model $70USD delivered. During the Skype call they did say only the 1000w is in stock as the 1200w wasn't being requested. Also they have made around 80,000 of these so far.

31 posts
Posted 9 Oct 14 9:55 AM
Hey Markdyer, you're certainly turning up some bits and pieces.
In order of appearance:
Unfortunately, I would not be confident with the DC thermostat. A DC thermostat needs to be purpose designed and this looks more like a light duty general purpose device. The thing with DC is that unless it is switched correctly it damages or destroys the switchgear, with risk of fire etc along the way. Not that it can't be done, it just needs to be done with care using appropriately designed devices.
On the other hand, the AE PV heater is exactly what we are wanting, I would say. The Germans certainly seem to be onto it: this looks similar to another German device someone linked to early in this thread. The only downside was that unit was quite costly (somewhere around $1500???) and I expect this one would be the same. Note this one also mounts direct to the element and I get the impression euro tanks have multiple element ports.

And the DC element with thermostat. This looks a bit meatier. Again, we would need to be confident that the thermostat would last the distance. My reward further enquiries, you think?

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