Hot water – more than meets the eye

by Richard Keech
orginally published December 2016, re-blogged 2019-07-20
A couple of times recently on this list, the question of the relative merits of solar hot water vs heat pump hot water has arisen. There’s an oft-overlooked factor to consider when comparing these and that is the temperature set point, and more broadly how the temperature is regulated. Temperature regulation of heated water systems is a matter which has serious impact on energy consumption, as well as on biological safety (due to legionella) and on burn safety (due to the risk of scalding).

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Will covering IC-rated lights make them fail quickly?

by Richard Keech


I’ve heard a few people say that covering IC-rated LED lights is bound to cause accelerated failure rate.  One the one hand it’s well known that electronic devices fail more quickly when they get too hot.  On the other hand, you’d think that the manufacturers of IC-rated lights would not rate them as OK to cover if it would cause significant reduction in their likely service life.  So I thought I’d delve a little closer.


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Zero-bill case study

By Richard Keech


Here’s a quick look at how I’ve transformed my home to zero bills.   Since the beginning of the transition I’ve now saved nearly $49,000 in energy.  I expect to have paid back my investment in solar and efficiency by the end of 2019.

Despite using much less energy, it’s also worth mentioning that the home is also much more comfortable than it was previously, thanks to the fundamental improvements to the thermal envelope.


Energy consumption reduced to less than energy generation

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In praise of smart meters

by Richard Keech


In Victoria, Australia, we now have a complete roll out of smart meters for our home electrical supply. It’s not unusual to find people who are of the view that smart meters are bad and that the roll out program was a costly failure.  I want to present an alternative view.  Smart meters give important capability, and the roll-out program has probably saved lives.


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Earth-improved heat-pump operation

This outlines a possibly novel approach to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of heat pumps used for home heating, cooling and hot water. This involves placing the units in the sub-floor space to exploit the thermal mass of the ground in both summer and winter.

By Richard Keech


Heat-pumps are sometimes positioned under homes. What if this could be done in a way that made the systems work more efficiently.

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What’s up with Hydrogen

There’s been lots of talk of late about a hydrogen economy.  I’ve looked into this. In a nutshell I can’t see Hydrogen being widely adopted for energy storage within our electricity system. Likewise, I can’t see it being widely used for transport except in some very limited cases.  Its use within the gas network seems like greenwash. However there does seem to be some potential in using hydrogen as an intermediate product in creating transportable liquids like ammonia, methanol and methane for use as export feedstocks or as fuels.

by Richard Keech

Published 2018-09-23,  based on investigation done in early 2017

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