Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

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Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Pingdong » 17 Apr 2012, 00:07

post anything you got. its gotta be cheap, fairly easy and preferably not dirty (pollutes).

For houses, even the townhouse style, this is what we did and we got a full 10+ degrees (thats C not F) cooler in summer for literally under $100.

Our old house was a typical 4 story connected house, one on each side. we had a sliver of aback yard that faced SW, so it COOKED in summer, especially upstairs!

We bought some cheap string ($35 and like 100 meters). from the ground we tied it to the first floor balcony, and up each floor to the top. our 4th floor was open roof. at the bottom we planted some good strong lianas (big ass vines that specialize in reaching up to tree canopies for light). within about 1 year all 4 floors are covered on the back. this completely shades the back, very well. It will be darker, I have tro say. but you can hack away some vine if you want some light peering in.

Also, the rood. one big huge solar sink. if you like gardening, plant a garden. we placed home made garden beds (bamboo, steel wire and black agricultural fabric) on the roof and grow food and flowers, our house this year is about 5C cooler (this house is 1 floor and no plants growing up the side).

although you will get shit some superstitious neighbours probably cause you are inviting ghosts, but really, when its this hot its hard to be sensitive to their many demands. if they really get bad, shoot out the street lights and whistle real loud at night outside.

plants, free/cheap
string, $35 (more if you want good string/rope that will hold up in the sun for years)
-10C cooler in summer without touching an AC or fan, priceless.

i used exotic species cause I had them, but you can go use damn near anything. walk into the mountains and collect some, Taiwan has huge ones. Entada species come to mind, plus you get seeds to massage with (those big black flat ones in markets). Passion fruit would work too, but they only live a few years and they *may* not climb up that high. thee are many weedy species that will grow super fast and be super cool that would work. Although i HATE Mikea, it would be ideal if you dont mind looking like you are growing a weed up your house. its fast, dense and hard to kill. even when on the ground, you stick your hand under its leafy mass and the ground bellow it is incredibly cool.

aside from watering it maybe (if your land is dry), its pretty care free and REALLY effective! we have been doing this 5 years now, and we almost never use an AC (and im Canadian)
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby nonredneck » 17 Apr 2012, 05:31

So you are basically growing vines or climbing plants up the side of your house to shade it?

I wonder how that radiant barrier foil works in Taiwan. I've used it in my house, but it's designed to be stapled to wooden rafters. Not sure if the houses in Taiwan are made like that or can use the barrier.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby baberenglish » 17 Apr 2012, 08:34

I have a 5 floor house. My power bill in the summer, with 6 air cons, was about 1800/month. I am not worried about the hike in prices because I don't use a lot of power as is. I have a business so at least two air cons are always on during the day and two are on at night. Plants are nice, but there is a limit. Growing vines does provide some cooling, but eventually they will work their way into the siding of the house causing cracking and leaking; that is a whole ball of wax right there.
I work on simple air ventilation. Plants do cool things, but they don't do much about the humidity factor. During the day we are working on the first and second floor, so the windows on the fourth and fifth floor are open to provide venting for the hot air. By the time I go to bed, the top of the house is 'somewhat' comfy so I can run the a/c around 27 and sleep sound. It's all about getting the hot air out of the house.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby ādikarmika » 17 Apr 2012, 09:04

baberenglish wrote:It's all about getting the hot air out of the house.

A year ago, I was having some renovations done to my house, and I wanted to put a heat extraction fan in the attic, but the builder was against the idea, telling me that it would not be waterproof. And since I already had a window up there, he just advised me to leave it open.
I suspect he had never installed one before and was just making excuses.
As the hot weather approaches, I'm again thinking of getting one installed.


Anyone have any experience with these things?
How much better would a (solar-powered?) fan be compared to a passive vent?


My impression is that it's gotta be a good idea. At present, the top floor is considerably warmer than the floor below it. And as for the attic itself, it's impossible to spend any length of time up there for 6 mths of the year - which is a waste of space, as far as I'm concerned. It's big enough to stand up in, so it could become an extra room if it weren't so hot. And since it's made out of wood, it wouldn't be storing up that much heat in the structure itself, right? (Compared to bricks and concrete, that is.)


Unfortunately, I think I made the attic even hotter when I replaced the old tiled roof with a new tin one that is gray in color. I should have chosen a light green or yellow, like most other people.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby ichbinjenny » 17 Apr 2012, 09:47

Note: That 8K bill is for maintaining a climate-controlled basement, office and storefront over standard two-month billing periods. Lots more going on here than in your general home.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby baberenglish » 17 Apr 2012, 10:10

extraction fans only help you so much....wood attic? get something in there to dry out the air.
ichbinjenny wrote:Note: That 8K bill is for maintaining a climate-controlled basement, office and storefront over standard two-month billing periods. Lots more going on here than in your general home.

remember, hot air rises.
as for the store/office, get some air circulation, try running the dehumidifier part of the time, uses less power.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Taiwan Luthiers » 17 Apr 2012, 10:27

If your "house" has a storefront, basement, etc. and are being used for commercial purposes, "cooling houses" (implying your residential dwelling that are not used for commercial purpose in any way) isn't a good description for this thread.

You really should split your storefront and living quarters on a separate meter/account. Anything above 700 kwh a month is over 5nt/kwh and after the price increase, it will be over 6. You should also consider getting a peak/off peak deal (where they use a smart meter) when it becomes available, as you would save some money if you are using a lot of power. That ways you can store cooling powers (with a large tank of water which the coolers will freeze at off peak time, and that ice is in turn used to cool the building during peak times), but this will probably require a bit of investment though.

Also if your building is poorly insulated like most Taiwanese buildings, improve them like cover up unnecessary windows, double glaze them and add some kind of shade to reflect the radiant heat. Believe it or not the concrete/brick used here is not a bad insulator, but doors/windows are the weak link.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby ichbinjenny » 17 Apr 2012, 10:49

There is no house. It's a store. I live somewhere else. I'm not the OP but the OP decided to use my situation as a hyperbole to talk about ways to reduce electric bills.

(Thanks though for your suggestions. They are very good ones and I've forwarded them to my assistant to doublecheck that everything here is in order. However, I'm not really looking for ways to reduce the bill; we have our system and AFAIK, it is what it is.)
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Taiwan Luthiers » 17 Apr 2012, 10:54

You know regarding stores, I do notice a LOT of stores would have their store wide open leaking cool air out into the street. It might feel good for the passer by but it's a HUGE waste of energy. I don't know what your store layout is but there's gotta be a lot of ways to save energy there...
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby ichbinjenny » 17 Apr 2012, 10:59

There are, but it would include more construction. If you think about it, though, maintaining temp and humidity levels 24-7 for 25+ ping for only US$100 per month is pretty good.
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