What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Monday, 8 June 2009

A simple recycled materials passive solar batch water heater, in Bermuda


The 30 gallon water heater tank and mirrors came from a bathroom renovation and were headed for the dump, the double pane windows from an apartment renovation, the lumber from two separate home renovations, the insulation lining the bottom, top and sides came from various packaging materials destined for the dump. The only materials purchased, to the tune of about $200, are the screws used to assemble it, the plumbing supplies, sealant and paint, as yet uncompleted as you can see.





We plumbed it entirely on the cold supply side of the regular electric water heater, this water comes directly from the rainwater harvesting tank under the house. The hot water line from this tank to the electric tank is fully insulated. As hot water is pulled from the water heater it is replaced by preheated water from this little tank, thus causing the electric hot water heater to run less. Valves will allow the solar heater to be dropped out of the circuit without shutting off the water system.

I don't have figures yet but the simple things I did when I moved in, turned down the hot water heater and put an electric crisper on a timer, reduced usage by 60kwh/month. I'm expecting more from this project. I hope to get my Killawatt from the UK to measure usage at some point.

I should also say that I got two contractors to provide quotes for a solar thermal panel system. One was just over $10,000 for a single flat panel and an insulated water tank. This did not include the plumbing. A similar system in the UK would be less than half that. The second contractor never got back to me with a figure. Judy, my landlord, could not afford that size of investment. At that point I began collecting materials.

8 comments:

solar hot water heater said...

Solar Water Heating systems are also very environment friendly and use energy generated from the Sun's light in order to heat up the water. With efficient storage facilities being a part of the complete system, water remains hot throughout the day and night, providing you with a source of hot water at all times.

C Robb said...

Indeed they are and even more eco when built from recycled materials.
Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

Janice Rafael said...

Your blog is outstanding; the matter is something that not many people are talking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.
solar water heating

C Robb said...

thanks so much for the kind words and please stop by again.

solar water heater systems said...

I have learned a lot form this post. People now are going solar. Though one must have enough knowledge before the installation.

C Robb said...

indeed, a good plan is improtant but a system like this is easy to retrofit and redesign.

solar water heating said...


This one is very nicely written and it contains many useful facts. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing with us.

C Robb said...

Thanks for the kind words, I will add to this post that using recycled timbers for the support structure ended up being a problem, they rotted and this unit was removed as a result. The concept is sound and proven but use a either treated lumber or some other system for supporting the tank and enclosure, perhaps you could sit it on a sheet of styrofoam directly on a concrete slab with recycled PVC windows surrounding.