We entered into a contract with Solar Connections and the solar panels went on the roof on July 2012, however at this time we had no walls, only the timber frame so Paul from Solar Connections had nothing to attach the inverter to. The walls were completed in February 2013, but we wanted to render the walls first before the inverter went on. However, we ran out of time as the system had to be fully installed by 30 June 2013 to take advantage of the government incentives that were in place when we entered into the contract for our system, but ended in January 2013. On the first day John did some rendering I got him to do a patch of render on the external wall where the inverter would go. It turned out that the patch of render was only just big enough. On 24 June 2013, with a week to go, Paul put the inverter in and got the solar working. We then needed to get a Level 2 service provider to change the meter over so that we could record the electricity we generated.
Wayne from FAW Electrical, who had originally hooked up the power for us came back and added an extra meter to measure the electricity we export to the grid. Unfortunately we missed out on the government feed in tariffs for solar electricity generation, so we have what they call net metering. This means that if we use electricity we have generated it is not recorded on either meter. If we generate more than we use this is exported to the grid and recorded on the export meter and when we use electricity at night or when we are not generating enough electricity to cover our needs we use electricity from the grid and this is recorded on the normal import meter.
John the renderer only had half a day to work on the rendering and got one of the internal walls of the front bedroom done. The timber window reveals that has been set 10mm in from the hemp walls provided good render stops and the avoidance of having to use trim around all the windows gave the simple unfussy look we are after. Rendering down to the slab and up to the ceiling and creating neat edges at these joints was a bit more time consuming.
As the wall dried it began to look a bit patchy. this is probably because of the slightly different moisture in the walls making the render dry at a different rate. We are not concerned as we watched this process on the render on the inside of the wardrobe and it dried to an even colour. The week of solid rain that the occurred immediately before the rendering of this wall probably made everything a bit moister than normal.
|Partially dry render a week after being done|
The wardrobe render was dry but had a wet patch on it probably from the several days of torrential rain the Shoalhaven area had, as the wall just outside this area was one of the few places that the eaves do not cover, this will be solved as thee wall will be covered when the sheeting goes on the awnings. It was hard to work out what colour the render was. In the early morning it looked quite yellow, but in the middle of the day the green plastic covering the rest of the windows in the room created an odd light. We reused the plastic bags the ceiling insulation came in to cover the windows. Although after many weeks of trying to get the right colour for the render, it is clear that the same amount, proportionally, of oxide in the mix has not resulted in the same colour we chose from our tests. It looks like we will just have to be satisfied with the colour we have got.
|Windows taped up ready for rendering|
|Casting an odd green light|
There were big seas in the wake of the winter storms, but watching the waves crash over rocks that normally stand proud of the water was awe inspiring and a great way to wind down after a weekend of building.
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