Optimism is increasing

The certification process
First volley back from the private certifier gave me a list of 13 items that needed more clarification, validation or that were just wrong. I’ve just resubmitted the revised items and we are confident we now have all the pieces of the puzzle, it’s just we need to fit it altogether.

The certifier is being very thorough and that is exactly what we are paying him to be. I’m still amazed that this far into the journey, with all we have learnt, we could still have so much that needed to be tweaked. If we were to do this again I would retain the certifier from the start as the length of this process is in chasing everyone else for the corrections to the work that have done for us.

The self sufficiency quest
I have enough data now to know just what conditions we will be facing in terms of getting power generated. Using that data and manufacturers’ specifications I now know we will need a single 2kW turbine backed up with 1kW of solar panels. This really does not change the overall costs of setting all this up it just better spreads the opportunity to make power.

Ironically what I have seen from the data collected is there are days with not enough wind and not enough sun to produce enough power. However these are roughly 1:100 day events so they are isolated, though it seems these days are the calm before the barometer swings heralding the changing of weather patterns. Our intended battery backup will provide ample power for these odd days.

Planning the build
Having the confidence now that we are on the right track and approval is going to be sooner rather than later I’ve spent a lot of hours working out just what it is I need to manufacture to be able to make the mould system to build the house. Using graph paper to map out the block outline of the house I have been able to work out how we are going to stage the build and what mould components will be needed for each.

Essentially I have tweaked the sections to be built so were have the maximum use from an absolute minimum pool of parts. Less parts of course makes the system cheaper and quicker to build and leaves us with less to transport or store.

Testing the theory
Every council has guidelines allowing you to build an outbuilding of certain size without needing to seek planning or development permission and in our council this building size is 15 square metres. We will build a shed of this size that will later become the storage area for the self sufficient power components. The roof of this shed will become the base for the solar panel array so the shed will be orientated to make maximum use of solar north so the panels we have will be generating the maximum power a fixed array can.

The shed will be built on strip footings with a floating concrete raft as a floor. I’ve used the engineering specs from the house to specify the footing depth and width and also the lintel details for the window and door. Since this is a trial run, we’ll be using exactly the same principles and design spec to make this shed so it will be perfect opportunity to test ALL of the components of the house. The roof will also provide enough rain to supply a 5000 litre tank while the shed itself will be a perfect storage area to keep us and tools out of the weather.

This building we will start on as soon as we have the building consent for the house.

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