Awoke around 8:30am and had breaky in the rain. Arrived at Environmental Building & Lifestyle Expo around 11am. Basically spent the entire day there till it closed at 5pm visiting the stalls, attending interesting talks on the new Star Assessments that are compulsory on all house sales from the middle of next year, thanks to the Greens. It was really interesting as the guy who gave the show discussed the different types of software packages available on the market and what they do is enter the dimensions of the house, rooms, sizes of windows, construction method, orientation etc and the software spits out a report that gives the house a Star Rating. Its really cute and very helpful at finding out if you’re buying a house that’s expensive or cheap to run. The minimum requirement will be 5 stars for all new houses, but the new scheme goes up to 10 stars. Which is basically a vacuum sealed flask. Don’t think there will be any 10* ratings in Australia as I don’t think we need them, more suitable for northern America and Europe where the temperate differentials are much greater. Though it was interesting to see the variations allowed between locations; ie an exemption that was allowed due to climatic conditions, such as Darwin requiring ceiling fans to be on most of the time etc. Quite interesting.
Then we saw the demonstration by Craig from the Carbon Cops show on ABC. He gave a great talk on the TV show and how it started, and they weren’t even sure what they were going to be able to achieve by it, but its turned into a great performer and they are still running another series, so it obviously has the ratings also. I must admit I liked the show. I thought I knew quite a bit about what to do in the house to make it efficient, but I still learnt something new in almost every episode. He’s quite a good presenter and gave a very informative presentation such as; when is wise to upgrade your fridge? He said if you are going to be getting two or more stars or more, then its worth while upgrading. If its only one star then the actually energy expended actually making the machine doesn’t outweigh the benefit. But you do start saving money immediately on the purchase; as soon as your next power bill comes in. And apparently 9% of your electricity bill is devoted to your fridge, it’s a considerable chunk out of the alterable budget. I did read somewhere that they say you should upgrade your fridge every 9 years as I guess that might take the increase in efficiency of the fridges into consideration. Anyway it all helps. Obviously he was from Victoria and given the water restrictions etc, he was focusing on water etc. He was shocked and horrified that Hobart (and Strahan for that matter) don’t have a single water metre in town. So no one has any need to conserve water in any way. You wont see a single rain water tank in Hobart (or Strahan either). Strange eh? Hence our desire to be there. As the water sources are drying up, we think we should be safe in Strahan with an average rainfall of 2.5m/year!
Craig also told us an amazing story about his HD box that he had for this TV. He was discussing about turning off appliances at the switch, which of course is difficult to do when its tucked behind TV cabinets etc. So he bought a remote switch to turn all appliances off from his couch. He said the remote switch uses 0.3W – which actually is worthwhile. What he didn’t know till he took his little gizmo home that measures consumption and tested this HD box. While in use it used 32W. In standby mode it used 31W. Apparently a product of cheap Chinese mass produced electronics. Its cheapest to just turn the clock off thereby saving the almighty 1W! He was ropable, and thereby well and truly felt his $7 purchase of the remote control switch was justified. He said the toaster and kettle don’t save any power, its all those devices with the little lights and more that cost the money to run.
Steve also got a ride on a Segway. They had two on display that were zooming around the show. They really can move. I guess that’s why they’ve had a few accidents on them.
We met a few designers and drafties that could help us with our extension at Strahan but we’re still not sure what to do. Have to start working on a plan.