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.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Today's result

Well it got to 99º today and the warmest the house reached was and is 78º, so far. The temp outdoors is falling now, but slowly, so it is possible the house will get warmer, I doubt it. I'm claiming success.

Big test for the design today!

We are forecast to reach 104º today. This morning as I ventilated the house I got it to a comfortable 74º. Just as I decided it was warm enough outside to close up, about 8:30, the temp rose inside to 75º which is where it has stayed. In the last 3 hours the temp outside has risen 20º to 95º. So far so good, nice and cool inside with no air conditioning.

How have I kept it cool? Aside from the benefits of the insulated reflective metal roof, the insulation in the walls, and the shade structures minimizing solar gain on the exterior walls I have not opened an external door for 2 hours, though I will have to go out and lower some additional blinds soon, I have done no cooking other than using the electric kettle to make tea, I've turned off/unplugged all superfluous electrical items, and Annie and I have been mostly relaxing (this makes quite a large difference actually as an active human can give off over a 100watts of heat, don't know about the dog, maybe 1 third as much as she is less than one third my weight). When I do go out I will leave through the NW side laundry room which acts as a vestibule. I will also take that opportunity to install another sheet of reflectix into the one window still lacking, between the screen and the glazing on the OUTSIDE. I'll report in later as the temps outdoors max out.
SSW shade structure under construction with makeshift shade cloths all reclaimed from the waste stream

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Efficiency going up!

This morning when I got up, at 7am it was 70º in the house, over the next several hours as the temps rose outside the temp only rose inside to 71º when I left at 10:15 to go to church. In those hours I had aggressively ventilated the house with wide open windows, ceiling fans and an extractor fan upstairs. As the sun rose and began to heat the east side of the property I lowered exterior blinds and gradually began to close windows and insert reflectix in them on the outside between the glass and the screen. Eventually, right before I left all windows were closed and had reflectix installed. When I returned around 2:30, the temp outside was 79º but felt much hotter in the sun, while the house was still a cool 71º. This is encouraging because we don't even have the full shade structure in yet. I'm sure when the real summer heat gets here we'll have a bigger challenge keeping the house cool without AC but I think we are making progress. 
SSE shade structure over the deck. The grape and kiwi will complete the shading of windows wall and water tanks.

SSW shade structure going up. This is where the solar thermal and PV will go.