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The rising cost of utilities in Australia is leaving many worried about the future costs of electricity and water.
Even as tariffs are being reduced, people continue to invest in solar at an increasing rate. People want to be more energy self-sufficient as the cost of solar systems has plummeted and the price of electricity is rising. Going ‘off the grid’ looks more and more attractive.
In the last few years, there has been a real movement by some towards resource independence, that is, independence from the grid and conventional sources of power and water.
Australians have always prize self-reliance and independence. These virtues allow people to be more in control, less affected by the changes of energy sector policy and feel like they have greater ownership over their own home.
It is possible for almost any household to become utility-independent. For those who are giving ‘off-the-grid’ living a try there are two important resources to address: water and power.
Being independent with your water requires three considerations:
- Sourcing of water
Your water needs to come from somewhere.
If you have an existing body on your property, such as groundwater or a creek, you may be able to use this for your home. There are many different types of water purifiers, working through distilling, chemical purification or filters. Each of these is specifically designed for different bodies and sources of water, and there are consultants available to direct you to the right one.
It is important that you do not attempt to connect a body of water directly to your home without ensuring it is free from waterborne diseases and harmful substances.
In Australia one of the best ways to obtain water is through rain collection—especially if you do not own a large property with an existing body of water.
Rainwater is pure and can be collected in tanks. Many local councils around Australia make this a prerequisite for new homes being built. Water from tanks is, however, a finite resource, which calls for the second consideration: conservation.
2. Conservation of water
Conserving water is not about protecting it, but rather ensuring that a finite resource of water is put the most efficient use.
Water from the tank can be used for drinking, brushing teeth, and anything else that should be necessitate the cleanest water possible.
Water that is used to clean or shower with can be redirected to other uses around the house, such as the lavatory or the lawn.
There are many businesses around Australia that specialise in helping you make the most of your water. Living in a drought-prone continent largely inhabited by desert has resulted in some ingenious designs for how to make a single litre go a long way.
3. Heating of water
Hot water is a necessity.
Heating water is one of the most energy-intensive aspects of the home.
The most efficient way to heat water is through a solar hot water system. A solar hot water system is able to take energy directly harnessed from the sun and use it to heat water.
There are many systems out there, but by far the most effective and reliable is the solar evacuated tube system.
A home solar evacuated tube system is comprised of a glass cylinder—able to let the light of the sun though—with another layer of glass beneath and a vacuum in between. The inert space between the glass prevents heat from radiating out. Inside the cylinder is a metal plate which is heated by the sun, heat which is then conducted into the water.
The hot water is the sent to a tank where it is stored and continually heated throughout the day. The water remains in the tank where it awaits household use—all without any electricity being used.
Learn more about Apricus Solar Hot Waters Systems or watch our video to view how it works.