That’ll be 19:00 and I’m in for the night, I did get all geared up for a trip to the Screapadale beach for some lovely red pebbles to finish my latest project. Sadly no sooner had I loaded up the quad with buckets and bags than the heavens opened. A brightness to the south suggested it was just a passing shower but I didn’t fancy wading through the 5’ high wet bracken to get to the shore.
Anyway, it had been a productive day so as part of my new ‘slow down’ approach to life I called it a day. I was feeling pretty smug with myself anyway, having just received our EPC this morning.
Is this the most ‘Energy Efficient’ house in the land?
Think I’ll get it framed and mount it in the living room There cannot be many houses in the land with an EPC like that, think I’d better open a bottle of red to celebrate Many thanks to Paul and Scott of Haus Architectural and Timber Frame http://www.haus.scot/ for that interstellar rating.
Methinks they need a new standard, just wait until the BIG wind turbine goes up. Seriously though, I could not have done it without all the help I got from Hugh Piggott at http://scoraigwind.co.uk/ and all the folks at http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php who helped out with the RE stuff. My builder Lachie Gillies, my plumber Billy Shanks, sparkies http://macphersonelectrical.com/ and his ‘right hand man’ Jamie were all patient with my madcap scheme and put up with all my unusual requests. I wasn’t even sure it would work myself so I’ll forgive them for being sceptical, which they all hid very well Archie Macdonald Drawing and Designing Services of Portree deserves a mention for easing us through planning with his sympathetic design. As does George Milne of http://www.milnecontracts.co.uk/ for all his help in the latter stages when we suddenly needed a ‘project manager’ for the mortgage we didn’t think we’d need. George ‘took the reins’ found the best contractors available and kept everything on course. First class job by everyone concerned, not forgetting of course Ben Wear of Skye design who did our airtightness test. Ben was also there at the very beginning helping Archie do the ‘site survey’.
Thanks to you all chaps.
The battery check
First thing I did this bright September morn was to go and check all my battery banks. To be honest I’m not a fan of multiple banks in an ‘off grid’ application, one good one is all you need. However, over the years I’ve acquired two extra, a 450Ah 24V bank and a 950Ah 48V bank as well as my main 800Ah 48V Rolls Bank.
I’m rather fastidious about all of them and this one in particular as it supplies the house. Once a month I check the SG prior to topping them up with deionized water. It should actually be distilled water but I can’t seem to get that here. I do keep trying but either end up with more deionized or a refusal to deliver this far north!!
This is the 24V one and is only ever used for starting the generator, which is a terrific waste. I still take good care of it as one day I’ll make better use of it.
This 48V one resides in ‘The Bunker’ and is connected to an Outback GVFX 3048e inverter. I have great plans for utilizing this when the extra wind turbine goes up. I’m going to connect my current turbine to this bank and fit my new turbine into the house system. It’s a little complex and very much ‘work in progress’, anyway it still needs a good drink and check every month.
Immersion ‘jiggery pokery’
Next job has been on the ‘to do’ list for a while.
The Akvaterm 1500lt thermal store has 5 immersion heaters in, the top one is left on 24/7 and is connected directly to the regular house circuits. This part of the store supplies all the hot water to the house, the two below are controlled by SSR’s and utilize excess energy from the PV and turbines. A description of how they operate can be found on Hugh’s blog, it was himself that built these circuits for me http://scoraigwind.co.uk/tristar-follower-to-control-ac-heaters/
The bottom two are spare and at the moment connected to the generator. Now the problem, if you can call it that, is that in good sunny/windy weather the water has been getting hot enough to open the thermostats on the SSR controlled elements. This is not a problem as the DC air heaters then start to dissipate the excess. Trouble is, that’s kinda wasteful, so what I did today was move the first diversion load down to the bottom of the tank.
This should give much more hot water before the thermostat opens. As the houses greatest energy demand comes from heating and hot water it makes more sense to store that than electrons in a battery Hence the reason for such a large hot water tank.
A new ‘stone mine’
Generations of Macleod’s, Nicolson’s, Mackay’s and Cummings, not to mention ‘your truly’ have stripped the land of good building stone that’s easy to access. Sure there are plenty of ruins but I’m reluctant to pillage those, nature itself is making a pretty good job of reclaiming those and I don’t want to speed up the process. Before long there will be precious left of what was once a thriving community here and elsewhere. I don’t mind pilfering from around the ruins but even those pickings are getting slender now. North Arnish still has some nice material fallen and grassed over but that’s all up a very large hill.
The recent ‘road’ to the fank has opened up a whole new source of good stone that lay well below the road and was too much like hard work to recover.
Beautiful building stone that would have been ‘back breaking’ to recover is now in my grasp
All of which went into my latest ‘taking it easy’ project at the back of the house.
As you can see, I need more pebbles