Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Something we have done for as long as we can remember, it's just a natural part of our daily lives. We already take full advantage of our regular road-side recycling pickup, our lovely garden compost pile and through our local recycling centre, turn our trash into someone else's treasure. Very little of our "trash" ends up in the landfill these days.
So when we learned that Solar BC was offering rebates for sustainable energy, we discovered Solar Hot Water. The current systems are easy to install, maintain and are very affordable.
The Solar Hot Water system we chose is made by a Canadian Company, Enerworks. We chose their system as it can run all year and does not require freeze protection in winter. The resulting smaller pump (less energy) greatly reduces maintenance and operating costs. The installation was performed by Terratek Energy Solutions, a company specializing in solar thermal installations, based out of Courtenay, BC. Click on the pictures below to see the installation and components of the system.
Arbutus Bluff is blessed with great sun exposure and this system seemed a natural fit. Our goal was to reduce our electricty usage and help reduce our carbon footprint. Payback will be in the 8-10 year timeframe depending on how much electricty usage the solar system will offset. Our total cost for installation after rebates was ~$10K. This is higher than a typical installation due to our higher hot water needs for our in-floor heating. We'll provide more details as we get more experience and data from this new system.
When we built Arbutus Bluff, one of the key criteria was to keep maintenance down to a minimum. For this reason. and a couple of other good reasons, we chose to use metal panels on the roof. With a metal roof and all the gutters and down spouts tied together we created the perfect rainwater catchment system. In 2005 we installed 2 storage tanks, which combined, allow us to capture and store over 13000 litres of rainwater. The collected rainwater is used exclusively in the hot tub and to supply our custom built low-flow drip irrigation system. This affords us the ability to not use the limited resource (water) from the island excpt for the normal operation of the house and B&B
With limited fresh water on the island, a low-flow drip irrigation system for the flowers and plants around the B&B is the only solution. We chose to use parts available from Lee Valley Tools which ensures a good source for expansion and/or replacement parts. The low-flow drip system coupled with a timer ensures we only water plants and only when needed. It greatly reduces the water wastage compared to traditional soaker hoses or sprinklers.