Archive for May, 2008

The Lights Go On – Efficiently

Saturday, May 31st, 2008


Superlux Logo

I had great expectations of being able to use LED lighting technology through out the project. The benefits of LED are very low power consumption and very long bulb life (up to 10 years). I used my China contacts to find a factory that was producing these globes. Unfortunately we are a bit early in the technology cycle, most LED globes cannot be dimmed and are therefore incompatible with the Dynalite system we are going to install.

I have now found the next best thing. Superlux is a light-fitting manufacturer from New Zealand who have just developed a downlight that will works with energy saving compact fluroescent globes. The particular fitting is a downlight called an SD125F. These downlights come complete with compact fluroescent globes. These globes will not work with dimmers so we will have to replace these with ones that do.

While most common compact fluroescent globes do not work with dimmers, Dynalite have sourced a compact fluroescent made by GE that is dimmable and will work with thier system. A perfect match for our needs.

Superlux SD125F

The SD125F is the most effective downlight and is optimised for energy saving lamps. This fitting will put out the most light with the least energy because of its design.

GLS vs Compact Fluro

The design cleverly eliminates dark spots and transmits a high percentage of light to where it is needed.

Superlux SD125F Light transmitting diagram

We are going to match these fittings with a compact fluroescent made by GE. This globe is dimmable and will work with the Dynalite system. These globes save up to 75% energy for the same lumen output than standard incandescent globes.

Lift Goes up and Over

Saturday, May 17th, 2008


This Masterlift lift and a 5,000 litre water tank were installed this week. We needed to get the crane back in to lift each into position.

Masterlift going into place                   Watertank going into place

You can see more photos in the week 23 gallery by clicking here.

The process went without a hitch and everything fitted into the space provided. This week the Australian Federal Government bought down a new budget. An unexpected inclusion was to include a means test on the solar panel rebate. Thankfully we had been able to get our application in prior to the declaration. So I believe we will be one of the last projects to enjoy this rebate. It seems a bit counter intuitive to me to means test the solar panel rebate. Putting in a one kilowatt solar panel array would cost just under $15,000. This sort of sunk expense would not be economic without a government rebate, currently set at a ceiling of $8,000. This brings the net cost to just over $6,000. This is still a fairly expensive proposition but gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling about doing the right thing for the environment. Without the rebate we would have shelved the project.

We are using  6 BP Solar panels hooked up to a sunny boy inverter and the whole system will feed power back into the electricity grid.

BP Solar Panel Specifications

Sunnyboy Inverter Specification

Our Green Credentials

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008


I have spent a lot of writing time talking about the products and process that we are using to renovate a property using the concepts of Universal Design.

I probably have not spent enough time detailing our “Green Credentials”. As well as adhering to the principals of Universal Design we are also trying our best to make the project as environmentally friendly as possible. Some of the things that we will incorporate are:

  • A 1 kilowatt solar panel array. This will feed electricity back into the Country Energy power grid. We have elected to use BP Solar panels and the whole system will be commissioned by Pyramid Power. This system qualifies for a government rebate under the solar homes and community plan.
  • Two solar hot water systems using vacuum tube technology made by Apricus.
  • Protherm Reflecta cell building insulation.
  • Hebel Power Panel which has superior thermal properties. (Hebel Thermal Properties)
  • A 5,100 litre water tank which makes the property almost self sufficient water wise.
  • Hyspan beams which use timber from renewable sources.

So we are trying to reduce our impact on the environment.