ETR Q&A

I was contacted in July by a Frenchman spending time in New Zealand about our project. He wanted to know if he could come visit and learn more about what we’ve done. However, a home birth prevented his visit, but I promised if he had questions that I would answer them. About two weeks ago he sent me the list of questions below.

I enjoyed a lot your blog, you have a lot of good tips for efficient renovations.
I have some questions about your house :
-Have you got any appliances (lights, washing machine, dishwasher, etc)? If yes, are you connected with the electricity city network (probably yes as I saw a bill)? 
Yes, we have all of the ‘mod cons’ you would find in any home except for a television and dishwasher. Our electrical appliances:
• Refrigerator *
• Freezer *
• Oven (Range)
• Wireless Modem *
• Security System *
• Washing Machine
• Lights (CFLs)
• Food Processor
• Slow Cookers (2)
• Wizzy Stick
• Ipod Dock
• Radio
• Battery Recharger
• Toaster
• Electric Kettle
• Power Tools (The usual suspects). 

Of these, the ones marked with a * run continually. Together these use under 2 kWh/day. The rest may use about 1 kWh per day depending on their usage. 

Electric range, kettle, toaster and refrigerator.
Do you produce your energy?
By ‘energy’ I assume you mean electricity. No, we do not. The energy we harness from the sun is in the form of heat. The sun heats our home and our water, but in the process saving us electricity. 

-Do you collect rainwater?
Yes, 1,000 litres from our roof. 
-Are you connected to the water city network? If not, what is your method to treat your grey & black water?
Yes, we have ‘mains’ water and sewerage, but we are not charged by the unit for them. In Wanganui, rates pay for them, and therefore there is little motivation for anyone to conserve water. We do not use much water in our home, but do water our gardens and trees when needed. 
-Have you got an idea of your annual power consumption?
Around 700 kWh. The average household power consumption in New Zealand is 7,630. In other words, we save over 90% when compared to the average home. 
Some more questions to be answered another day. 
-Is your garden supply all your vegetables& fruits? What is the area of your garden? How do you keep the water in your garden (use mulch, thickness?) ?
-I haven’t seen such a clever idea for a sun cooker! What is the material of the shell (mirrors? Aluminium sheets?)? Would it be possible to have a draft of the cooker?
-Have you got a workshop in your house? Where did you supply all the tools you needed?
-How much did it cost for your whole renovation? What is your living area (you can include the Deck outside if ou want)?
-What would be your 3 main advices to renovate a house without spending too much money?
-What would be your 3 main advices for a low maintenance-productive garden (fruits trees, chicken moaner, mulch)?
-What were your main mistakes/issues during the renovation?
-How long did it take to renovate the house? (2010 to 2012?)?

Peace, Estwing

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