Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Pingdong » 17 Apr 2012, 23:54

the $8k thing is just a made up number I read in another thread. this isn't meant to be a thread based on one person, but jsut a thread for easy remedies to help lower the heat without big juice sucking machines.money is not really the point, but may be for some. the point is we noticed a full 10+ degree difference doing this without any power, and almost no effort. plus we got a gorgeous looking back of the house with tons of flowers in the warmer months. its not for everyone, I know that, but if plants are an interest give it a try.

for plants growing into the house, thats a worry and choosing your species wisely would be good. there are many large vines that do not have aerial roots, or tendrils and thus cannot anchor themselves to your house without something to wrap around (hence the string. ours were kept about 50cm away form the house as we tied it to the outer part of our "yard". that said, these are concrete houses. it will take some time for a plant to grow in and expand enough to crack concrete, maybe 6 months for a super fast one. but i treated them like i treat weeds at a farm, they come too close, the section gets cut. Just leave some good strong main vines running right up, and you can clear away secondary stems as you see fit. for us it was where we have decks, and easy access. it took me about 30 mins to prune the entire monster.

This weekend I am setting up string for our new house, abandoned farm next to us will let all kinds of crazy vines grow up.


for those with hot upstairs like we used to have, you will all have a roof access door right? leave it open. that also cooled down our house by a LOT, and get a good fan blowing form the other end of the house where you are and into the stairwell and up, nice draft.


adikarmika, ya they work well anywhere. any kind, I have seen the rotating globe type ones here in Taiwan. and though they are "water proof" you have to remember that not only does taiwan get some of the heaviest rain on earth, it can also get it at 200kmh. I honestly am not sure how water proof those roof vents would be in such a case, and I have a feeling this is why we generally only see them in factory/warehouse type buildings. but if my top floor had nothing in it as was more or less storage, bet your ass I would be lining my roof with them.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby finley » 18 Apr 2012, 09:16

OP, that's bloody brilliant. Reminds me of a restaurant I went to once that did something very similar with their outdoor area. It was a sweltering hot day, but there were smallish trees at the four corners of the veranda (ie., shading most of it) and vines climbing all over the roof. It was a nice comfortable temperature underneath, despite three sides being open. I suspect some of the cooling effect was caused by water transpiration from the vine; basically a biological evaporative cooler.

Sadly, you can't do this kind of thing with an apartment block (or not nearly so effectively). Just one more reason why Taiwan shouldn't be building high-rises.

btw, can you really get entada spp. in Taiwan? What's it called in Chinese? I tried growing entada rheedii from (imported) seeds with no result.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Taiwan Luthiers » 18 Apr 2012, 09:22

With the population density of Taiwan, if everyone built houses like they did in the US there would not be enough lands, unless you cram everyone into these houses like what the illegal Mexicans do in the US where they have a family of 20 live in a smallish house.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby finley » 18 Apr 2012, 09:44

'Course there would. Same number of people, different locations. As I argued in another thread, house size is a very small part of a human's ecological footprint. 3,600,000ha/10,000,000households = 3600m2/household. Even if you assume 80% of that can't be touched (for various reasons) or is needed for industrial use, that's still 700m2/household, which is enough to provide a lot of basic needs with an appropriate infrastructure in place.

Of course, you'd need a much more efficient transport architecture than the 19th-century crap we've got at the moment, but that's a different story. Land area is not an issue. In fact it might make people realise how precious land really is, and that you can't reduce your ecological footprint by just cramming everyone into high-rise shoeboxes.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Pingdong » 19 Apr 2012, 22:33

Just in case I forgot to mention this, we only did this on our back wall, the front of our house (actually this was our English school at the time as well, we lived upstairs) was bare and ugly tile like the rest of the street. from the road you could not see a single leaf, but walking inside you could sure feel a difference! especially upstairs!

on break today I was walking by a neighbors house who are residing their house and i realized, that they already do this exact thing with metal. though its far less effective, and costs far more money and looks way worse.

to me this was just one of those things that you can spend an hour at and it wont even be visible to many people if you do it in your back. there are only benefits that i can see, except picking a bad species and getting the in the cracks like mentioned.


Finley, there are Entada species in taiwan, native here. I have collected seeds in various places, but they did poor here (my fault most likely). But I find seeds now and then while hiking, and fresh seeds germinate very easily. you can buy those black flat seed sin markets, they use them for rubbing like stones for massage here/ they will grow but many are old and SUPER hard to germinate. that said I have not used this species for this purpose, i honestly am not sure how well they would do when young now that I think of it....they tend to like to start out in jungle floors where its moist and dark, then work up through the canopy....vines like this are often real sensitive to strong light when young in my experience, but not sure for sure with the entada genus....there are many members of the morning glory family that would be ideal.

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Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby headhonchoII » 20 Apr 2012, 08:22

finley wrote:'Course there would. Same number of people, different locations. As I argued in another thread, house size is a very small part of a human's ecological footprint. 3,600,000ha/10,000,000households = 3600m2/household. Even if you assume 80% of that can't be touched (for various reasons) or is needed for industrial use, that's still 700m2/household, which is enough to provide a lot of basic needs with an appropriate infrastructure in place.

Of course, you'd need a much more efficient transport architecture than the 19th-century crap we've got at the moment, but that's a different story. Land area is not an issue. In fact it might make people realise how precious land really is, and that you can't reduce your ecological footprint by just cramming everyone into high-rise shoeboxes.


I think you are being very theoretical here Finley. We have to live on a small crowded island called Taiwan. If we don't live in high rises we live in low rises. It just takes a lot more space. Space and land is precious in Taiwan.
I fail to see to your reasoning being relevant to Taiwan.

Ecological footprints will be there no matter if we live in a high rise or low rise dwelling.

In the high rise I live in we have 8 units on one floor, 8 potential independent families (although in practice moat are single people, it is modern Taiwan after all).
Imagine if everybody lived in an independent dwelling? How much extra piping and electrical connections and parking space and broadband and even concrete for walls and floors we would need let alone space?

Then all deliveries need to each come to a separate location instead of amalgamated together.

The city where I am originally from has expanded beyond all recognition over the last decade or so. Families moved 100km outside the city to commute. High rise dwelling is not encouraged so they built a massive commuter belt into neighboring counties. Now there are many empty estates that will start rotting away as the cost if commuting has doubled , property prices cratered and people realized that living closer to the city in more dense patterns has many benefits. The government built an extensive motorway system some parts of which are not carrying the load expected due to the move back to the cities, but they still need to be maintained and costs passed on to taxpayers. At least if people lived in high rises in the city and they are not suitable they can be knocked easily and rebuilt and they are more resistant to economic input changes. The commuter belt created above must have eaten up 100,000s of acres of arable land.

High rises are definitely a good idea IF they lead to more green space being available in crowded cities and countries. They allow people to live closer to their workplaces saving time , reducing gridlock and air pollution and the need for more roads. Provision of services can be concentrated and made more efficiently instead of being spread out into numerous disparate offices and districts. You keep repeating that where we live has little ecological effect and that just doesn't make sense to me. Anybody who lives in Taiwan can see that wherever there is concrete and road wildlife generally retreats and disappears.

The problem with buildings of ALL types in Taiwan is they don't have proper design and materials for the climate. In the apartment we live in, the most obvious issue are windows (which are actually good for keeping out noise but not designed for insulation) and the lack of any way to block direct sunlight from the outside.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby finley » 20 Apr 2012, 10:35

Yes, sure, it's all theoretical. I'm under no illusions that governments care what finley thinks. And you're right that Taiwan is on the outer limits of feasibility for what I'm suggesting. However, you'll note that Taiwan is in a demographic contraction phase. I'd say Taiwan could sustainably support 10-15 million. 26m (or whatever it is) would be tough, but not impossible.

Ecological footprints will be there no matter if we live in a high rise or low rise dwelling.

Yes indeed. That's exactly what I'm saying. Your high-rise residence currently represents about 1% of your ecological footprint. We need to reduce our total footprint.

How much extra piping and electrical connections and parking space and broadband and even concrete for walls and floors we would need let alone space? ...

I'm not suggesting that we eliminate high-rises, move to low-rises, and leave all our existing systems and methods exactly the same. That would obviously be a recipe for disaster. You recognise, for example, that:
The problem with buildings of ALL types in Taiwan is they don't have proper design and materials for the climate.

I'm experimenting (on a small scale) with rammed earth construction. This is a fascinating technique because (if done right) it maintains internal temperature and humidity at comfortable levels. A well-built rammed-earth building can last for a century or more; in dry climates, some have stood for millennia and are still in use. The material can also be completely recycled. Concrete is neither long-lasting nor recyclable. All of our other systems would have to change. Water and power would have to use distributed methods instead of being delivered from point sources. Communications would rely more heavily on microwave (line-of-sight radio) links. Transport would have to be an order of magnitude more efficient so that it could be PV-powered, and mostly automated. Workplaces would be integrated with living spaces, rather than separated for no good reason except laws about zoning. The list is endless, but that's what economic development is all about. The opportunities are incredible for a country with the space and the vision to experiment and develop new ways of doing things.
Anybody who lives in Taiwan can see that wherever there is concrete and road wildlife generally retreats and disappears.

Then the answer, surely, is to develop solutions and systems which don't involve concrete and road.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby kelake » 20 Apr 2012, 11:20

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.


That has been a common billing amount for us with modern energy efficient a/c. But we use a clothes dryer frequently which could be a factor.

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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Pingdong » 21 Apr 2012, 02:41

there are so many little things that take not only little to no effort, but the same amount of mental space and time to put into mechanical movement.

when I was a young teen and in my "rebellious phase" of bitching at parents not to be so wasteful (funny looking back) we did an experiment. we took their last bill and then did an experimenter where we turned off everything the second we didn't use it. the bill was normally $60, the next one was $48 if i remember right. we were kind of poor, so we did this for the money. and that $12 if the same every 2 months would mean $72 extra per year. at the time that was worth while saving for us. i realize most people here, including me, think thats nothing. but the way i see it now, seen as I am not hurting financially as an adult, is how much wasted energy that was. I think we paid $0.08/KWh $72 is a lot of juice just wasted on nothing at all. and this is what I find personally kind of sad is that no one even seems to relate to that in Taiwan. its either cheap or not, there is little concept of wasting and causing negative effects when doing so (ie pollution).

I think I was conditioned when young to be a cheap ass bastard, but into my adult years it has really made it easy for me to try not to waste. on a side note we jsut got a subway a few months back. I am big into not wanting extra bags and stuff at stores, so i tell them not to give it that extra wrapper....then they tape it, and tell them now. then they go for a big bag, i tell them no. the look in their eyes and the confusion it causes really seems to almost physically harm them. So now i just tell stores I don't want to wast 1 jin of garbage so that its easier to carry 50m to my car and be thrown out 10 minutes later. I do it smiling, and they all seem to accept it then. i also try teaching my students this with garbage and not needing certain things, and i dare say its caught on at least a little bit with some. but its taken 5 years to get them to understand how to recycle.



in part 2 of this post, saving energy by wearing proper clothing :discodance: thinking of these Taiwanese that like to stay white and wear what i wear in canada here in summer :loco: i wish my body was built like that.
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Re: Cooling houses without a $8000 electric bill in taiwan

Postby Pingdong » 01 May 2012, 02:42

i actually found a picture of how we started this out. this is only jsut getting to the 2nd floor, i will try and find pics of the whole house covered.

Image
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