Monday, 19 September 2011

can't add up

Got my power bill today and with it came some "news letter" filled with helpful ideas on which products I should spend money on to save money.

Wow, that's so helpful. Leading the helpful advice was the page

Cutting Down Can Add Up

This suggested that:
according to the 2011 Origin Index research* [ya gotta love those stars] 63% of Australians look to conserve energy, but around half of the country don't understand how the basics can help reduce power consumption.

So they're saying we're too thick to work out how to save energy ... well after speaking to people for some years and asking stuff like how much energy does your X use or how much do you pay per kWh for power, I can't say I doubt their research.

However they do precious little to help this building of capacity within the community and instead foist up some confusion and (when you go to their site) outright misinformation by implication.

Lets start at the bottom of this segment as its my favorite, the "solar heat pump".

Now if you go to their website they list the Dux Airoheat heat pump under solar systems, and here in this ad they imply that linkage by

1) putting it on the same page as the Dux Solar Hot Water
2) criteria such as "no solar panels required" and "a great solution where your roof shading does not permit solar hot water"

Well guess what ... no wonder it doesn't need panels BECAUSE ITS NOT SOLAR

It is infact just an electric system, one which uses the principle of a Sterling Engine, which is also used in many reverse cycle air conditioner units.

The only way (and man is it remote) that this system can faintly be called solar is that if you live somewhere hot then that heat will help to drive the system in heating the water up. Of course if you live somewhere hot its likely to be caused by the sunshine, so I guess in some way it could be solar. Strangely it seems to qualify for the STC solar rebate ...

right ... good one. I would be quite simply stunned if you can find out such a simple description of that system as I've just given. I can only surmise that the reason for that is if you put enough bullshit around something you'll perhaps get the punters to believe in it.

Now the next point is costs.

Now lets assume that this system uses no power (unlikely if not impossible) at the pay off of $145 per month (assuming you get the rebates) it will take ten years to recover the costs of this system compared to just the power bill that my regular hot water system uses on off-peak power.

My off-peak hotwater typically 133 kWh of energy per month, even at the current charge for that (11c per kWh) I only pay $16 per month.

Next we need to look at something else ... heat. To maximise the effectiveness of this technology you need to be heating the water when the air is at its hottest.

Uhm, that would be during the day right? Well surprise surprise off-peak power is normally supplied at night ... which will lessen the effectiveness of it.

Then there is the noise, if you read into it more these systems use a fan (just like air conditioners) which generate noise. A bit of googling around will show you that there are a number of people who have had to remove their system because neighbors complained about the noise from the fan. So just be careful in tight urban areas where houses are built occupying 90% of the land area.

The real solar system

I notice that you have to cough up $5000 for the system and while you may feel warm and fuzzy about the energy savings (and the reduction of drain on the power grid) you'll notice the little bit I marked in red: "electric boosted solar hot water" ... yep, you'll be paying some money for those cloudy or rainy days ... so just like my solar floor heating, its only part of the answer.

I hope none of this breaks down or blows up in the decades it takes to brake even ...

So I guess that its lucky for Origin that customers can't add up or they'd be wondering why the hell would I spend this money on something like that?


Charles Maclauchlan said...

$5000 for a hot water tank......YOWCH!

obakesan said...

the interesting thing is they can't seem to tell me how much power the Dux Heat Pump will actually draw. So I can't even make a comparison to my existing 250L system (which cost $899 installed) {oh, and thats 66US Gallon}

Charles Maclauchlan said...

even if it drew NO energy it would still take over 20 years to pay back the initial extra $4100 cost over a conventional unit. I'm pretty certain that's over the expected life of the tank and it doesn't consider the time value of money. Perhaps if they put a BIG green flag out in from of the house so folks could let everyone know how eco friendly they are....

obakesan said...

dratt ... there is no "like" flag for your comment