Going Solar in the South

It has been quite a journey of regulation and compliance but our solar water heating system has finally been installed and is up and running. Of the hundred or so who originally indicated an interest in Venture Southland's pilot, there are only nine determined households who have stuck it through to the end and I think ours was the last to be installed.

It is too early to judge the success of the system and it probably won't be until we have a few power bills that we will really get an idea. I used the Homestar self rating system to see how successful we have been in upgrading our 1932 bungalow to make it more energy efficient. We only managed to get a rating of 2 helped by the following:
  • Under floor insulation
  • Ceiling insulation
  • HRV ventilation system
  • A large heatpump
  • A wood burner
  • Water solar heating
  • A north facing house
  • Composting and recycling systems
What let us down was:
  • Drafty single gazed windows
  • No wall insulation
  • No bathroom extractor fan 
  • Older ceiling insulation that doesn't cover framing
  • A one flush toilet
It was an interesting exercise because most New Zealand homes apparently score between 2 and 4 and despite our efforts we could only get our home to the bottom end of the average range. There must be a huge number of substandard houses in Invercargill.


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