Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspective.

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Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspective.

Postby station240 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:24 am

http://www.domain.com.au/news/welcome-to-victorias-most-sustainable-community-the-cape-at-cape-paterson-20151218-glno5i/

It produces more power than it uses, has a 8.2 star energy rating (six stars is typical for new homes) and is about 85 per cent cheaper to run than an average house, according to a cost of living analysis by the Alternative Technology Association

...the most common question people ask when entering the home for the first time is whether the heating or cooling is on. The answer, because of remarkably thick insulation, is always no.

Of the $500 a year running costs, $400 is actually the cost to connect to the grid itself – but the house also has the potential to in the future run completely off the grid.


Puts it into perspective, this house would cost just $100 a month if not for the energy companies.
Even though it's a display house, it does give some idea of what properly designed and built houses are capable of.
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Re: Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspecti

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:55 am

station240 wrote:
Of the $500 a year running costs, $400 is actually the cost to connect to the grid itself...


Puts it into perspective, this house would cost just $100 a month if not for the energy companies.


Actually just over $8/month, the cost was annual, not monthly
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Re: Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspecti

Postby tom rickard » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:31 pm

What they really need to show is the extra cost of insulation from 6 to 8.5 stars, then compare this to the cost of 8kw of solar panels, and an extra inverter to power a large ducted split system A/C.

I looked into building an extra well insulated house, and spoke extensively to several builders. As my house is 3m in the air, the "cheapest" design I was given that would require minimal air conditioning was over $50k more expensive than the design I am using, (meets minimum council requirements).

It will cost less than 20k to have the place with a thumping great reverse cycle ducted airconditioner with enough PV that I don't have to run my generator (not on-grid here, my generator is my grid!).

This also has the advantage of the PV supplying the power for my entire house, so no extra energy cost at all.

When I looked right into it, building an "ultra-sustainable" house just seemed like a silly waste of money to me.

I'm tipping that an off-grid tin shed with a big aircontitioner and a lot of PV would use less resources to build than the house in that article, be just as comfortable year round inside, and would have zero running costs. But hey - it doesn't look as sexy.
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Re: Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspecti

Postby australsolarier » Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:51 pm

generally when you build a new house, it is much cheaper to insulate well than adding "whopping airconditioners" . i am not quite sure how the builders you talked to came up with this number. a well insulated house is also more comfortable to live in than having large aircons running at full blast.
in many climates here, right orientation and some medium insualation almost saves heating in winter. not quite. ( the temperature of the floors and walls are much more important than the temperature of the air in the house. for example in cold climates when you sit next to a triple glazed window and the temperature might be 22 inside, you will feel chilly, because the body radiates heat out into the cold through the window. conversely if you do not insulate the house and it is 40 degrees outside and the walls inside 38degrees you will feel uncomfortably hot, even though the air temperature might be 20 degrees. so your aircon has to fight against hot walls. some areas will be 16 degrees some 35 inside the same room. etc etc)
passive heating needs almost no maintenance. the same with passive cooling.
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Re: Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspecti

Postby tom rickard » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:12 am

It definitely depends on your climate. Where I live over the last 4 years we have experienced a minimum of -7 degrees, and a maximum of 52 degrees. Last week we had 4 consecutive days over 42 degrees. Keeping in mind my house is 3m in the air, run your passive house calculations over those figures, and see if you can get away without some form of air conditioning without spending a small fortune!
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Re: Sustainable display house puts grid costs into perspecti

Postby offgridQLD » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:07 pm

If it's a dry heat you can always insulate your way out of needing AC. In tropical situations with humidity this wont always work that well. You need airflow and when the air isn't flowing it's not fun.

That said if I could have a super insulated room vs running air conditioning 24/7 and it just came down to cost then I would go the passive system. air conditioning gives you dry eyes and dry airways if you sit in it all day.

I have a bit of both or a happy midpoint. My house is reasonably well insulated . though it has lots of louvered windows to keep that cool valley air flowing through from any direction (subtropical climate) though I have a few rooms with spit system air conditioners just to escape to on the odd days when the cool breeze isn't playing nice.

It depends where you live and how you want to live. We should be using more double glazing in AU than we do.

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