Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Micro Confusion

I'm a bit confused about this electricity micro generation.

The standard wisdom is that if you have a solar PV array, it's best to do your washing, cooking, etc, during peak generation hours. However, if you're being paid £0.43 per unit and consuming at £0.136, then why would you want to consume something for which would receive £0.43 had it gone into the grid. Surely it is better to feed in the maximum (rather than consume some of it during daylight hours) and consume only when dark at the much lower £0.136?

To add to the confusion, if I understand my system correctly, my feed-in meter only measures electricity generated - it does not subtract energy consumed during the day; that's taken care of by the normal consumer unit meter. That's borne out by the fact the feed in tariff payment does not come from my electricity company, but from a government department.

The logic thus surely is to leave the washing and cooking till non-generation periods?

If anyone can explain, then please do.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Micro Death

Overheard in the Pub:

An elderly gent on crutches hobbles into the pub; Hay's father instantly recognises him from years ago and starts chatting to him. After a minute or two the following exchange is heard:

Hay's Dad: "What about Alice - do you see much of her?"

Neville: "No, not since she died."

A quick micro-generation update - it's looking good! Note the trend line indicating Spring's arrival.

Click to Enlarge.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Tawdry Junk

Overheard at the Pub

Hayley to her father: "The special is rib-eye steak."

Hay's Dad: "Rabbi steak? What's that?"

Chairman: "It has a bit lopped off the end."

Was on another jaunt round Europe this last week - Rome, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Copenhagen. One leg was flown via Lufthansa and I had the chance to check out their in-flight catalogue and compare it to that of BA.

Whereas BA sells tawdry junk and cheap perfume at ridiculously exorbitant prices, Lufthansa sells divers goods, curiously wrought and ingenious in construction, yet extremely useful or beautiful (or both) and costing a pretty penny. I mean, I don't mind paying say £300 for a robust Kitchen Aid mixer (Lufthansa), but balk at several hundred pounds for some chav Swarovski glass or a perfume endorsed by a sleb (BA). 

It kind of says lots about the Brits and how we appear happy to buy expensive junk, rather than well designed and engineered goods. I suppose that's why German car manufacturers are still going strong, but the names associated with British car manufacturing have long since died or moved abroad. Or is it? Given the fact we DO buy crap, the UK car industry should be thriving (at least domestically): perhaps it's the fact no-one else wants to buy crap that killed our car market.

The Lufthansa in-flight magazine was trying to big-up Brixton in London (scene of riots, muggings and murders) as a tourist destination, calling it, of all things, Brixton Village. That's a new one on me! This seems to me to be a marketing ploy to justify higher prices in restaurants and pubs in a rather nasty part of London - at least it was the last time I visited. Perhaps they're confusing it with Brixham in Devon.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Micro Generation Upswing

It looks like we may have turned the corner and spring is definitely here at last! Take a look at the electricity used and that generated. We're staying above the line now and on the climb.

Click to Engarge

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Coffee Bloke

There's an advert on TV at present for some coffee or other, featuring a comedy Ali-G style salesman.

Hay actually spoke to the bloke yesterday when some one called her out of the blue. He exists and is not a mere cultural parody!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Doors, Hoods, Funerals & Passwords

Doors get hung today and handles fitted tomorrow. Stuart, the tame steel fabricator, visited for a final cooker hood fitting yesterday and that is now under way. He made a cardboard template to show us what it will look like - magnificent - feel like ordering some 2nd hand chip shop equipment now.

One hears that odious self-publicist, Sally Bercow, snubbed St Margaret's funeral. The woman was only invited because she is the Speaker's wife and not because she's anyone important in her own right. However, I do think the whole ceremonial funeral things was somewhat mawkish, needless and over the top. It was basically a Tory deification.

Passwords: why do some systems (especially Microsoft ones) insist you change them every 60 or 90 days? Senseless - you manage to find a reasonably memorable, secure password, and then 60 days later you have to change it, invariably making it less secure as you run out of options and start adding sequential numbers to the original one, eventually turning it into something a chimp could crack I have 3 A4 sheets of usernames and passwords for various systems - that sheet has to travel with me, as I don't know when I'm going to be asked for a bloody password when traveling.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Induction, Dave & The Doors

The Redfyre range we bought for the house operates on the principle of witchcraft, or at least that's what it seems. I'm reminded of Arthur C Clarke's adage that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

It has an induction hob, a technology with which I'm unfamiliar. You can use cast iron or steel pans on it, but not aluminium (which is why we also have a separate Calorgas hob to one side). The induction principle works on magnets (somehow), with the result that the hob itself doesn't get hot. Place a cast iron pan on the hob and it immediately starts to heat up - alarmingly fast. Remove the pan and the hob is still cool to the touch, the only heat in the hob itself being that radiated back into it by the hot pan.

Allegedly, it's very efficient, both in terms of energy used and heating ability. At a cost of 4 Grand it has to be! It is not something I would normally buy, but given the house was a once-in-a-lifetime project and we were looking to make the house as energy-efficient as possible, it was something I was willing to consider as part of the project cost.

The upper right oven is a fan oven, the lower right is a grill and conventional oven, the door on the lower left hides the oven controls and the space behind the Redfyre logo contains empty space - what a waste!

It has a nice little energy wasting device called Warmfont. It heats the upper front of the top so you can dry your tea towels on the rail. It allegedly uses no more power than a 60W bulb, but I have my doubts.

Finally found a suitable place for Dave - he's in the kitchen now:

The interior doors arrived yesterday - apparently they're made in Romania where their manufacture keeps the entire female population of a village in employment while the men-folk are off seeking work in the rest of Europe...

Not sure whether to oil them or not. Hopefully they'll be hung next week - especially the ones on the loos, much to the relief of The Boy, who can hear me knocking about in the Great Hall at 5am!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Feed In Tariff

Been keeping tabs on the electricity made and consumed over the last 37 days:

Click to enlarge

As you can see (on the right hand scale and the blue shaded area), I'm currently owing about 80 quid, but we haven't had many sunny days with a positive net. Once the under-floor heating is switched off and we get some more sun, I fully expect generation to increase dramatically, equilibrium to be established and a zero sum game by the end of the year.

The big spike was a missed observation and the logged observation being over 2 days.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Just Sbout Done

Spent the last few days moving all our good and chattels into the house; it's a bit like a self-catering holiday, in that once we've put something away, we forget where the hell we put it and spend about 10 minutes searching the drawers and cupboards for a particular pan or the cutlery.

The under-floor heating has had one unwanted side-effect - it's exacerbated Hay's dry-as-dust, scaly feet with the result they're splitting at the heels.

Kitty has finally accepted the house as her new home, although she still has the occasional daytime sleep in the caravan. However, all the other neighbourhood cats are also wandering in.

The caravan should be used as a new TARDIS for Dr Who - it's amazing what we managed to cram into the place. The house just isn't big enough to hold it all, although that's probably more to do with a dearth of big furniture to put it all into. That, however, will be rectified over time using a mix of eBay and FreeCycle.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Moving In - Slowly

Well, when we chose the log burner we did like the one in a colour called almond, but Hay thought it would get too grubby, so we went for gunmetal.

Then she changed her mind, so 2 cans of Charnwood stove enamel later, she got her desire.

Spent our first night in the house last night - toasty warm floors - such decadence! Been moving stuff out of the caravan and into the house all last week. Hope to finish it off this coming week - and also hope the interior doors arrive.

Still no word from the steel fabricator about the cost of the 2m cooker extractor.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter III

The Archbish of Cadbury, Justin Welby, apparently focused his Easter sermon on those who offer false hope.

The words pot, kettle and black come to mind; he's the leader of a group of incredibly superstitious people who maintain their founder could defy the immutable laws of physics and came back from the dead to save them. If that ain't a false hope, I don't know what is.

Easter Monday - April Fool's Day. Mmm!