ENU Green Property Services

Welcome to ENU Green Property Services!

ENU is here to help with your home DIY projects, whether that be designing and working through a new project, or simply finishing off an outstanding job.

We Specialise in “Green” retrofits:

  • Insulation (roof, floor, wall)
  • Double glazed windows and frames
  • Awnings and window shading
  • Advice on Solar hot water and PV panels
  • Home gap sealing
  • Supply and install LED lighting
  • Energy auditing and advice

We are also happy to offer general handyman services

  • Decks, fences, etc
  • Fix leaky taps, gutters, drains
  • General garden maintenance
  • Basic landscaping
  • Painting, plastering, and general carpentry
  • Cubby Houses, Chicken & Rabbit coups
  • 3D modelling service to sketch up your project before starting. Great to see what your project will look like before you start, and of course check all of the measurements!

Browse our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/enugps for examples of some of the projects we have done, and give us a like to keep up to date with our work.

We are a friendly, experienced, and qualified, father/son team available in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Give us a call or send us an email and we will be happy to help with your home project!Our rates are reasonable and we can work by the hour or tailor a fixed price quote.

  

Our second Megawatt-hour

Our solar PV system has produced its second Megawatt-hour!

On Tuesday, 21st May 2013 our system ticked over the 2 MWh or 2000 kWh mark. Yay!

That makes 1000kWh since Saturday, 10th February 2013, exactly 100 days, which equates to 10kWh / day.

Some history on our system

On Saturday, 10th February 2013 our system ticked over the 1 MWh or 1000 kWh mark.

On the 28th of June 2012, we sent in the paper work to get our solar PV system connected to the grid. Details of our 3kW system can be found here.

On the 8th of August 2012, the system was connected and producing power for our house, and sending excess to the grid. The process of getting the system hooked up seemed to take forever, but really it was only forty odd days. The process included; approval of the application by Simply Energy, Installation and programming of a smart meter by United Energy, approval of the connection by a registered electrician, and change-over of our accounts at Simply Energy to reflect reflect the new system including the feed-in tarrif.

Problems

On 13th of November 2012, I reported a fault with our Solar River SRK3TLA1 inverter to the installer. The system was failing every day and had to be manually re-started to get anything out of it. After a bit of back and forth with the supplier (Solar My Home), manufacturer (Samil Power), and the electrician the unit was replaced on the 30th of November 2012, and it has has been running perfectly since then. Details of the process can be found here.

Summary

When we put the system in we were lead to believe that it would produce around 10 kWh per day which would take care of about half of our 20 kWh per day consumption. So how is it doing so far?

  • Period: 30th Nov 2012 to 21st May 2013, 172 Days
  • Production: 2004 kWh
  • Production per day: 11.7 kWh / day

So far so good! These figures are from spring, through autumn and into winter now, so it is looking good.

 

  

United Energy Data Plotting

Energy ConsumptionDid you know that United Energy allow you to access and download data from your smart meter?

A friend at BZE told me yesterday that by simply logging onto the United Energy “Energy Easy” portal with my 11 diget NMI number (read from my electricity bill) and the serial number off the front of my smart meter, I could access all of the data that my smart meter has been collecting since it was installed.

I found this web address http://energyeasy.ue.com.au/, plugged in my numbers, and after a quick email verification I was up and running!

From the portal there are a number of graphs to help you look at your data, there is facility to connect up ‘devices’ to the system (I will let you know when I find out what this means…), and you can download all of your data in CSV format. Very cool!

Watch this space for more info and possibly even tools to help you analyse the data as I figure out how it all works.

In the meantime, if you are with United Energy, and have a smart meter, jump on-board and start getting some value back from your smart meter!

If you are not with United Energy don’t despair  If you live in Victoria your electricity distributor should be bringing something similar on-line soon if they haven’t already. Jemena’s can be found here.

  

Endless renewable energy via nanotechnology enhanced osmosis?

Diagram of the experimental principle - the osmotic transport of water through a transmembrane boron nitride nanotubeCould nanotechnology produce an ‘endless’ source of renewable energy?

This week Robin Lane and Jeanette Brunton (my parents in law) are visiting us from New Zealand, and they drew my attention to an article on nano technology in the Dominion Post, March 11 edition.

The section that caught my eye described a method that physicists at the Institute Lumiere Matier in Lyon, France, have been working on that uses nano technology to create micro tubes of boron nitride. The tiny tube increase the electricity generating potential of the osmosis process. Scientists have long know that osmosis generates tiny amounts of energy as fresh water mixes with salt water, but with the tiny boron tubes the salinity gradients produce much higher electric currents than previously possible, potentially unlocking a huge reservoir of energy.

Read more here

  

Out first Megawatt-hour!

Our first MegawattOur solar PV system has produced its first Megawatt-hour!

To date we have not forked out for a monitoring system to keep track of our solar power generation so I have been keeping an eye on the meter, and on Saturday, 10th February 2013 our system ticked over the 1 MWh or 1000 kWh mark.

Some history on our system

On the 28th of June 2012, we sent in the paper work to get our solar PV system connected to the grid. Details of our 3kW system can be found here.

On the 8th of August 2012, the system was connected and producing power for our house, and sending excess to the grid. The process of getting the system hooked up seemed to take forever, but really it was only forty odd days. The process included; approval of the application by Simply Energy, Installation and programming of a smart meter by United Energy, approval of the connection by a registered electrician, and change-over of our accounts at Simply Energy to reflect reflect the new system including the feed-in tarrif.

Problems

On 13th of November 2012, I reported a fault with our Solar River SRK3TLA1 inverter to the installer. The system was failing every day and had to be manually re-started to get anything out of it. After a bit of back and forth with the supplier (Solar My Home), manufacturer (Samil Power), and the electrician the unit was replaced on the 30th of November 2012, and it has has been running perfectly since then. Details of the process can be found here.

Summary

When we put the system in we were lead to believe that it would produce around 10 kWh per day which would take care of about half of our 20 kWh per day consumption. So how is it doing so far?

  • Period: 30th Nov 2012 to 9th Feb 2013, 71 Days
  • Production: 1015 kWh
  • Production per day: 14.3 kWh / day

So far so good! Keep in mind that these figures are from spring through summer so it will be interesting to see how quickly our next MWh is produced as we head into autumn and winter.

For our next challenge we will tackle our extravagant 20 kWh consumption, and detail the steps we have taken to reduce this figure!

  

Are ethanol fueled buses a green alternative?

Ventura ethanol busVentura runs ethanol buses in Melbourne. Is this a good thing?

I saw this bus today at Monash University in Clayton and I wondered how true the ‘green’ claims plastered all over it actually were.

Ethanol is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar and starch components of plant materials with yeast. It can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form as a replacement for petrol, but it is usually blended so as to improve vehicle emissions.

In Australia ethanol typically comes from the sugar-kane industry as an add-on process to existing manufacturing.

The US EPA states that 1 litre of petrol produces 2.33kg of CO2, whereas 1 litre of ethanol produces only 0.22kg of CO2 (90% less!). This combined with the benefits to the sugar industry in Australia make the use of ethanol a green practice indeed, whether that is for running buses like the Ventura model or in fuel blends like E10 at the petrol station.

Ventura claims to be a pioneer of alternative fuels and, over the years, they have trialled LPG, electric, ethanol, and charcoal fuel sources.

The advertising on the bus claims that the fuel used is made from 100% renewable energy derived from sugar-cane.  This was backed up by Andrew Cornwall (Managing Director of the Ventura bus line in 2003 on the 7:30 report). Andrew claims that the ethanol they use is the “sugar-cane variety” and produces half the CO2 of the diesel equivalent.

All Ventura coaches are registered with Greenfleet who over the last 15 years, have been helping businesses, organisations and individuals reduce their carbon imprint and help address environmental issues. This is done through carbon credit trading as well as by planting native forests, which capture carbon dioxide from the environment as they grow. The program has planted more than 6.8 million trees to date on behalf of Australian motorists and businesses, one of which is Ventura Coaches.

At the end of the day I think that the answer is yes, ethanol is a green alternative to fossil fuel. However there can be some draw-backs. Higher engine maintenance costs have been reported for vehicles running on ethanol, and of course the likelihood of the manufacturers being able to make the 18-odd billion litres of fuel used in Australia each year any time soon is pretty low. Still, every little bit counts!

Refs: VenturaGreenfleet, 7:30 ReportBiofuels Association of Australia, US EPA, E10
  

Go LED and kill Hazelwood?

LEDEnergy savings in the order of 15 terawatt-hours of electricity per year can be made by switching to LED globes. This is more than Victoria’s notoriously polluting Hazelwood power station could produce if it ran flat out, non-stop, for an entire year.

Have a look at the article on ClimateSpectator written by Trent Hawkins, the project co-ordinator for the Zero Carbon Australia buildings report, for some great arguments supporting a complete change-over to LED lighting.

Refs: Article, Zero Carbon Australia, Beyond Zero Emissions

  

Australian Home Area Network (HAN) controller

Let the Intelligy save you energy in your home

Home Area Network (HAN) systems are transitioning from large building control systems into our homes as we look for ways to reduce our energy consumption. 

The Intelligy is a monitoring and control system from Millennium Electronics that allows you to connect and manage all of your home energy devices and monitor them on one simple console or via the internet.

The system uses Intelligy Power Monitoring Devices (PMDs) to connect to individual appliances, Intelligy Power Monitoring Switchs (PMS) to connect and control devices remotely, the Intelligy GPRS Module to connect your HAN to the internet so it can be monitored from anywhere, Intelligy Serial Communication Modules to connect up RS232 devices like most inverters, Intelligy Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED) which can allow utilities to use demand response modes for equipment like air conditioners and pool pumps, and the Intelligy Thermistor Demand Response Enabling Device (DRED) that enables demand response modes for equipment like air conditioners base on current temperatures.

Visit the Intelligy website: www.intelligy.com.au
Have a look at the brochure

  

Cape Paterson Ecovilliage

Cape PatersonAustralia’s first zero carbon housing project championing biodiversity sustainability and community

The Cape Paterson Ecovillage designers are taking a holistic approach. 7.5 star houses, minimum 2.5kW solar PV, 10,000 litre rainwater tanks, and electric cars are just the tip of the iceberg. The site in coastal Victoria will be focussed on the community, with cleaner healthier, and more active living high on the agenda.

The development features heathland re-vegetation, wetland restoration, a sustainable and environmental education centre, and a community garden. The building designs aim to get as close to the zero carbon mark as possible, and to set a benchmark for sustainable building for the development industry.

The developers have made some of their housing designs available for download so the general public can see the features for themselves. Have a look here. Potential investors are welcome to choose an ‘off-the-shelf’ design or work with the architects to create something unique. All designs must be approved specifically for the project by committee prior to construction to ensure the high efficiency standards are maintained.

Have a look at the videos on the project.

Visit the Ecovillage website here
See the Zero Carbon Study summary done for the village here