Saturday, June 04, 2011

Surfacing through the dust!

It would appear that we're making progress, dusty, slow, but steady progress.

We now have the Ecocent system up and running and it's quiet (that's a plus!).

We have two out of the three showers installed and the bathroom floor is no longer a scary combination of white plasti-paint and sand!

We have been asked lots of questions about it from people who are also interested in the potential from this system. How does it work? How long will it take to pay for itself? Is it expensive? Why have we done it?

So, I'll answer them for you within this blog entry, bearing in mind that my ability to "do technical" tends to be in the same place as my ability to follow a recipe!

The Ecocent is basically a very large hot water tank in the roof that also has a smaller device attached above that is connected to a couple of extractors in our various bathrooms. Each time we shower (which with six people, is a lot) the extractor takes the hot steam produced up through the tubing and this then is used to heat the hot water tank. Added to this will be the Photovoltaic panels on the roof that will also help to heat the water, we should be able to run almost oil free for the majority of the year, not only turning off our heating (which we would normally do in the summer), but turning the water to minimum too as we should require minimal oil to heat the tank. Obviously it does require a well insulated loft so that it remains at a fairly constant temperature all year round.

Stand alone, the eco cent takes many years to pay for itself. Mr Beehive, being the nerdy, financial geek he is, showed me all the figures in a spreadsheet once. I think I may have glazed over and started seeing my life flash before me, but I recall hearing 19 years. This is a long time, stand alone, however, with the PV's, it should start to pay back after nine.

Yes, it is expensive. However, it is a long term investment. It's not always about the instant gratification and our beliefs are, whether you agree or not, that oil is a becoming a more and more scarce resource, it is currently very expensive and we feel that by doing this we are not only trying to reduce our fuel bills, which should start to show after 10 years (this is our "forever home" too remember), but we are hopefully reducing one family's use of this form of fuel.

I suppose this also answered the last question, but I also wanted to add this when asked if we're doing it "to be green"?

It’s a bizarre label isn’t it, “green”.
I hope one day there will come a time when there is no label, when hopefully my kids don’t think twice about “being green” because it’s just a natural thing.
I don’t really call myself green because I feel what I do is a natural extension from having children we are trying to live for a  sustainable future. I am genuinely concerned for life in 2070.

I already worry about their futures, will they get to college? If they get to college will they get a job? Will they have shit loads of debt and will they ever get out of the rental market before they reach the care home? I really don't want to add to that by using up more than we genuinely need to use, providing them with a large landfill to live on in their rented shoebox and by not using local produce, supporting local shops or growing my own, in order to make their only job option when they leave with their excellent 2:1 degree and several thousands of pounds worth of debt, a shelf stacker in the only remaining global conglomerate - Messers Tescos and sons and sons and sons who may have succeeded in world domination by 2070.

I guess the only bright side is that, by 2070 I won't care about the dust, in fact, I'll probably be a contributing factor in the layers ;-)

1 comment:

Emma said...

I think it's wise choice, especially as you know you will be in the house for a long time and so will reap the rewards.

If I could be certain I was staying here and had the spare cash I would definitely be looking into renewable energy options

I am guessing too, that fuel prices will rocket and so it will probably start paying for itself sooner than predicted...

PS I love your optimism that it will take the Tesco bar stewards until 2070 to achieve global domination!