Monday, September 26, 2011

Cistern finally run dry

Last weekend we used the last remaining rainwater (from the rains in March- half a year ago. Frank went down into the cistern and scooped up the rest of the water (not fun). There were no leaves or conifer needles in the tank, but a thin layer of black slime at the bottom -most likely from the soot of L.A.'s air (same stuff as the one we washed off the solar panels earlier this month
We hope the remaining moisture will evaporate over the week so that we can vacuum the bottom of the cistern and get it ready for the next rainy season. We'll also get a finer mesh filter, maybe that'll help to keep some of the dirt out. As a summary of our first rainwater watering season, I have to say, that it was a full success and that the water lasted longer than anticipated. We are still taking data of our water and energy use and will be able to provide more detailed information of this year's consumption at a later point in time. Currently, we are on average 50% below a "standard" single family home. But that data was only for the summer, the main irrigation season. The usage should drop more when we enter the rainy season- but keep in mind, the summer was not a very hot one this year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Solar Wash

Yep, even solar panels need a good scrub every now and then. In order to keep the electric output at optimum levels, the dust and soot from L.A.'s notorious air need to be washed off every now and then- and today was a good time for that. So we went up and hosed and scrubbed the dirt off to make'em shine again. Since the system got turned on, we have produced over 2,400 kWh with an excess of 1000 kWh. The mild summer along with the other energy saving features of the house helped a lot to keep actual power usage low for us. But we have not been in the house for a whole year and it is a bit early to make predictions about the overall performance.