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Urban Veggies Hydroponics Transcript

Urban Veggies Hydroponics Transcript

Title: Transcript of Interview with Eleazer Strachan, Urban Veggies
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Guest Speaker: Eleazer Strachan (Oz)
Date: 29th May 2017
Number of Speakers: 2
File Duration: 28:54
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk

Links are at the end of the transcript.

Transcript Break Down:
00:08 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.
02:08 Introduction to Hydroponics.
03:13 Why does hydroponics work so well?
05:01 Introduction to Urban Veggies.
08:50 How did Urban Vegetables start?
13:03 Why hydroponics as opposed to other growing methods?
16:02 Where can people get such systems?
17:08 What does the future hold for Urban Veggies?
19:36 Any limitations to the systems?
20:45 What are the different systems Urban Veggies offers?
24:31 Tell us a bit more about your employment project?
27:25 Wrap Up.

00:08 Beginning of recorded material, Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.

Emmanuel: Welcome to Radio Live Green Smart and to our discussion on hydroponics and the development of organic urban gardens using grow systems. You are more than welcome to call us on +27 that’s South Africa, 082 651 4273 or on Skype, Emmanuel.van.der.Meulen. I’ll read that to you again (NATO phonetic spelling follows) and the lines are open, you are more than welcome to phone with anything, any questions related to green, green consciousness etc. I am your host Emmanuel.

And some back ground on Radio Live Green Smart, it’s a forum to discuss green living and eco-friendly living and everything related to eco or green living. And importantly it’s a forum to discuss disrespect to the environment first hand, bring that to us and we will take it further and assist with the environmental disrespect, use the contact us on the website, please provide clear information. Top

02:08 Introduction to Hydroponics.

Now to tonight’s discussion, hydroponics. The word hydroponics comes from the Latin and means working water. Simply it’s the art of growing plants without soil. When most people think of hydroponics they think of plants grown with their roots suspended into water with no growing medium. This is just 1 type of hydroponic gardening known as nutrient film technique, there are several variations of nutrient film technique used around the world and it is a very popular method of growing hydroponically. What most people don’t realise is that there are countless methods and variations of hydroponic gardening, tonight we will explore some variations as we delve into the topic. Top

03:13 Why does hydroponics work so well?

That’s simple, if you give a plant exactly what it needs, when it needs it in the amount it needs it the plant will be as healthy as genetically possible. With hydroponics, this is an easy task, with soil it’s a lot more difficult. With hydroponics, the plants are grown in an inert growing medium and a perfectly balanced pH adjusted nutrient solution is delivered to the roots in a highly soluble form. This allows the plant to uptake its food with very little effort as opposed to soil where the roots must search out the nutrients and extract them, faster better growth and much greater yields are just some of the many reasons that hydroponics is being adapted around the world for commercial food production as well as growing a number of home gardeners. Ozzie who is the owner of Urban Veggies will give us some more information on this very interesting topic. He will tell us about different grow systems and his vision for hydroponics in an urban area setting. Welcome Ozzie to our radio Live Green Smart interview and discussion.

Ozzie: Thank you, thanks for having me.

Emmanuel: You are more than welcome; would you like to give us a small introduction of yourself and the company Urban Veggies. Top

05:01 Introduction to Urban Veggies

Ozzie: [Ah] yes sure, [um] we basically Urban Veggies, I’m Ozzie, I’m from the Free State so [uh] what happens is I moved to the city where there’s not a lot of space to grow anything. If you on the 14th floor of a metropolitan building you would still be able to grow anything you want, veggies and flowers and whatever you want [um] we just using the principal of growing it directly into the water instead of growing it into your normal soil [inaudible]. So, coming from the Free State I decided veggies are my passion so I started a company called Urban Veggies where I actually designed the systems and like you mentioned you get a nutrient film solution system and then you get a deep water culture and there’s a couple of other ones but I’ve combined those 2 specifically to produce the best quality of veggies and the quickest growth without any chemicals, just using organic chemicals to produce the veggies and that’s where Urban Veggies basically comes from and started from.

Emmanuel: Ok Ozzie, thank you, can I just [uh] ask that you maybe speak a little bit closer to the phone, you are coming through but [uh] it could be a little bit clearer.

Ozzie: [uh] yes is that better?

Emmanuel: That’s better, yes. Ok, so me being vegetarian and wanting to grow veggies at home are you saying that this would be, give me more [more] advantages of just planting it in soil is that what you saying?

Ozzie: [uh] yes, your production is a lot bigger in quantity, let’s say spinach would be taking about 6-9 months to grow up to a stage where you would be able to harvest (Emmanuel can be heard agreeing in the background) with hydroponics you would be able to get the same results in a time span of about 3 months so automatically that is [its] a lot quicker.

Emmanuel: Ok

Ozzie: And also, that would help with putting your nutrients in, which is an organic nutrient, helping your plant grow and that would actually be in a controlled environment where you see every day, where you actually sit every day and see ok your veggies are growing very well and you don’t need pesticides because there’s movement and there’s people around. And your nutrients also include [inaudible] supply it contains a garlic sub strain and from there on it also repels insects and bugs that would normally eat and harm your vegetables.

Emmanuel: I [I] see, when you say in a controlled environment are you saying that it should like be in a green house, or in what sense do you mean a controlled environment?

Ozzie: A controlled environment is where you still have your natural sun but it’s not out in the fields where you have other bushes and other plants that would actually work against attracting certain insects. So, let’s say if you are growing spring onion and lettuce together you won’t get the aphids that you would normally get on lettuce cause with spring onion the flavour and the scent would use a natural cure of getting away from all the aphids going onto your lettuce. Top

08:50 How did Urban Vegetables start?

Emmanuel: Ok, very interesting. Right, so coming back to another point, [um] how did Urban Vegetables start?

Ozzie: Well [uh] I was staying in a small space with only a little balcony and still the cost of veggies has gone up, use tomatoes, in the last couple of years you could buy a bag for R2,50 and it increased up to R6-R7 at that stage and I just decided [ok] I’ll save a bit of money and grow my own tomatoes and lettuce which is basic [basic] sandwich ingredients which would already save you quite a bit of shopping and that hassle of Oh, I’ve run out so I’m going to have to run to the store. What I had done was just walk outside get from my balcony and made myself a sandwich so that’s one of the reasons I started the whole company as well. Then I had a friend who was a plumber and he said no, let’s put a certain type of piping together and have a whole system running. So, I designed the system around 2 systems using an idea that already existed [uh] this one you can actually run on solar panels and without any hassles just plug it in, put your water in and leave it to grow.

Emmanuel:  Oh you mean the solar panel is [is uh is] connected to the water pump or where does the solar panel fit into it?

Ozzie: The solar panel actually connects to your water pump (Emmanuel says Ok) and having your veggies in water you would need oxygenation so a lot of the oxygen would come from either the plants or something that produces air or oxygenates [um] but in this case because your root is underneath the water where there is not a lot of air your solar panel would just power your pump, your water pump and aircon for you.

Emmanuel: Ok, so that means [um] even the cost, small cost of electricity is saved in this way?

Ozzie: That’s also saved yes, and for your nutrients, you don’t have to buy nutrients, I also supply just basically a kitchen scrap bucket [um] which produces a worm tea, many people know about the worm tea and that [uh] and that [that] is enough nutrients in a well-balanced area where your water flows permanently and as soon as the sun comes up then your water gets aerated and you add a bit of the nutrients and make sure your veggies are happy.

Emmanuel: Yes, I understand so just by the way [uh] seeing as we are slowly [slowly] going international with Radio Live Green Smart how do you get you product to customers at this stage?

Ozzie: At this stage, basically my product comes in a box already so what happens is you place your order [um] its either online or you can email me directly and I already have a box of products you can just give me your address and Ill post that one for you. The postage is about R150-R200 but if you order it, it comes to your door either via courier or post, you can collect it at the post office or have it delivered to your door or office or wherever.

Emmanuel: Ok, understood. So, international it won’t [it won’t] be a problem?

Ozzie: It won’t be a problem going internationally.

Emmanuel: Ok, Ozzie so far it sounds very [very] interesting, I think my wife is missing out on a very interesting topic so [uh] rest assured we will have another talk. And then just going further, we’ve more or less covered this but maybe you want to add to why hydroponics as opposed to other growing methods? Top

13:03 Why hydroponics as opposed to other growing methods?

Ozzie: Well the basic idea of hydroponics is quite [quite] nice cause it doesn’t matter where you stay or if there’s soil around or whatever you need to grow a normal plant, with your hydroponics you can basically put a system up and know exactly OK, in just 2 weeks I’ll be able to harvest from this plant and then start producing your next one already. You can basically cycle your plants so you always have food around the year, so certain seasons you grow a couple of different things so let’s say in winter lettuces and in summer you just use summer lettuces so you always have lettuce and the greens you mostly use. If you put a bigger system up there’s more variety of different veggies, the smaller systems are for something that would be a small system and you know you eat a lot of spring onions then you know you have spring onions all year or you have whatever veggies you are prefer the whole year. Anthe maintenance, there’s no maintenance really and with a normal plant you add water every second day or every second day but in this case you just plug it in and come back to harvest. You make sure your plant is still growing but there’s no physical effort. I went away for 3 months [inaudible] and when I came back the only problem was the harvesting, it was amazing.

Emmanuel: Ok, and [and] the seeds and I get that I need seeds but can I start off with small plants or do I need seeds for your system?

Ozzie: You can start off with both of them [um] I recommend for quick growing rather go to your local nursery and see what they have, they would also know what’s in season and they will stock what’s in season so you can just basically take from there and add that into your system if you taking seeds it might take a week or 2 or a little bit longer.

Emmanuel: I see, ok right, this is sounding more and more interesting. I suppose I can [I can] grow plants like that as well?

Ozzie: You can grow plants like that as well.

Emmanuel: Ok, what about fruit trees? I suppose I’m stretching it too far now?

Ozzie: [um] I managed to successfully grow a couple of fruit trees, for some or other reason [inaudible] figs very well, unfortunately after the season the fig tree dies out.

Emmanuel: Ok, so it’s not impossible?

Ozzie: It’s not impossible, I think we still have to look into that a bit more but let’s say for a mission to Mars, that’s 1 way of thinking about it. Top

16:02 Where can people get such systems?

Emmanuel: (Chuckles) Definitely, yes, for sure. So, you’ve now mentioned where [where] people can get such systems [uh] so we’d have to explore that a little bit more but you have mentioned where in principal, we will cover the contact details shortly.

Ozzie: Yes, there’s also a website available if you log onto and there’s a Facebook page as well and that will give you all the details also gives you a couple of nice phots and a bit of an idea of what the system looks like it’s got a very organic feel and it blends in basically a wooden look.

Emmanuel: Excellent and you said its Urban Veggies, one


Emmanuel: And its veggies (spelt out).

Ozzie: Yes Top

17:08 What does the future hold for Urban Veggies?

Emmanuel: Ok, interesting, and what would you say the future holds for Urban Veggies? Are we going to Mars with it?

Ozzie: Um hopefully we taking a proper sample with (chuckles).

Emmanuel: OK, that sounds excellent. But from your point of view, what does the future hold?

Ozzie: [um] with everything [inaudible] with the equilibrium has been thrown out a little and this would allow you to constantly know you have fresh veggies on your balcony and in your house, we can also install growing cupboards and it just opens so many doors  [um] to be self-sustainable in a way where you can walk to your cupboard instead of having a fridge with veggies in it that’s already been cut, you still have your cupboard with veggies that you can cut from and you know tomorrow I’ll come back and they’ll still be growing and they’ll still be edible without having to worry that you’ve bought a bag of spinach and in 2 weeks’ time you have you  buy another 1 now you have a little plantation in your cupboard so in the future I think it’s going to be very [inaudible] good.

Emmanuel: It certainly sounds that way, as a cost saver as well. Cost saver, resource saver, the whole lot. Ozzie on your website so 2 things that I would just like to ask about; do you there describe how your system works, all the things we’ve been discussing and you have an easy purchasing system on your website?

Ozzie: I do have an EFT system and PayPal and pay links as well (Emmanuel in the background Ok) which comes directly onto me so if you order today in 2 days, 3 days depending on post you’ll have your system right by your doorstep and there’s also explanations, little video clips on showing you what to plant, and with your system you’ll get a growing tip guide which will tell you Ok, spinach is an all year plant, watercress is a summer grower and lettuce is a winter grower so you have all your details to get you sorted and start it up. Top

19:36 Any limitations to the systems?

Emmanuel: Yeah, and any limitations of what I can’t grow in your system?

Ozzie: My specific systems, unfortunately potatoes, any root veg which is a hard-underground root veg, you won’t be able to grow, but we grew carrots a lot of other things you would be able to. Onions do very well with my systems, beetroot and radish, anything that is on top of the soil but still in the soil directly.

Emmanuel: I understand yeah.

Ozzie: Limitations, unfortunately potatoes which I know are a staple in Ireland [inaudible].

Emmanuel: And I suppose I can even grow rice in it? Or am I pushing it a bit?

Ozzie: You can definitely grow rice.

Emmanuel: Ok, that’s interesting and [and] on your website or in your kit, I’m not sure what you call it – the product, do you [uh] have instructions of how I set it up and how much space I need and so on? Top

20:45 What are the different systems Urban Veggies offers?

Ozzie: I normally deal with 3 different systems. The first little system is basically a plug and place where you add your water, it’s got a little instruction that says hey ok you need to put 7.5 litres of water in there and this amount of nutrients and just add a plug and then basically let it grow so it runs off electricity. The other one is a mountable system so it comes with all the instructions of how to mount it on the wall. The third one I call a herb planter, which grows 6 herb plants and is idea for something in the kitchen or something outside of the kitchen, where the others grow 24 plants and then I also have a 12 planter which is designed for more bigger veggies or like I say spinach and a little bit more not only compared to something you would use for instance parsley and you cut out some of it and it will still grow for a couple of years afterwards. The bigger one is basically designed for plants that you cut out and reuse [reuse] the space to grow another plant in there.

Emmanuel: So [um] and your website and the package that arrives at my door step describes all of this even for a novice how to get started and so on?

Ozzie: Even for a novice if you have no clue what’s going on (Emmanuel says that’s fantastic in the background) have a look on the website and that will give you all the information we do.

Emmanuel: Ozzie I’d like to (Ozzie interrupts).

Ozzie: Yes, I am also opening a shop which would be selling complete products so you can come in and have a chat with me, I’m in Melville.

Emmanuel: Oh, so you just around the corner, you moved from the Free State?

Ozzie: I’ve moved from the Free State, I’m in Johannesburg.

Emmanuel: Oh, so we can come and visit your shop? You have opened your shop, or you in the process of opening it?

Ozzie: At the moment, I’m busy with the shop fitting so what I will be supplying is you can come in and buy a grow system, buy the nutrients and buy any extras and add ons you need and then I’ll also, I’ve got a little hydro farm so you can also buy your fresh veggies from me.

Emmanuel: I see, so it’s a all in 1 shop?

Ozzie: It’s a all in 1, I’m all about veggies.

Emmanuel: Yeah, very [very] nice just by the way, it’s got nothing to do with me but are you by any chance vegetarian?

Ozzie: [uh] no [no, no] I do eat meat.

Emmanuel: Oh ok [ok] that was just being curious. Ozzie [um] just the nutrients this is the second the though just occurred to me, these nutrients do you have to get them from you, can you get them from anywhere? Are they safe?

Ozzie: [uh] they are 100% safe [um] you get a couple of different ones, you get the organic ones which is basically made from plant materials and [inaudible] the you do get other companies that do have more chemical nutrients ones which are made from chemicals mixed with organic materials and then we also have [vino?] well some of my vegan customers they’ve asked me for not having something like a [inaudible] emulsion which you would buy from Mica or a local nursery and you would be able to use that as well but some people prefer using organic 100% organic veggies. Top

24:31 Tell us a bit more about your employment project?

Emmanuel: Yeah, it certainly makes sense. I’m curious about your, just moving on [um] I’m curious about your employment project, can you tell us a bit more about that?

Ozzie: What I’ve recently started is [uh], I’ve seen a lot of unemployed people alongside the road [inaudible] so what I’ve done is created a platform for them [um] what I’ve decided to do is hand them a couple of seeds some small seed packets, you can see the man on the Facebook profile I have and you’ll know today he is selling a certain type of seed and I donate all the seed to him and that helps him make a living and he can buy his bread for the day.

Emmanuel: [yew] that sounds very interesting, all the best with that project.

Ozzie: It’s going to be interesting.

Emmanuel: And it surely sounds win-win to Urban Veggies and also to the [to the] person you basically employ now.

Ozzie: [uh] yes, it’s basic employment and the more he sells, the more he earns. Some of the guys are standing on the street corners for weeks in and weeks out, we all know them and we give them a rand or 5 every now and then and you know next time he might not be there but mostly the ones that are always there I’ve come to know them so we’ll be able to start with the basic guys and from there on hopefully we getting to a bigger [inaudible] with that and helping my fellow man up.

Emmanuel: Yeah, that’s very interesting. Well there’s another side to it also that it might [it might] raise interest with them and they could then feed themselves with a nutritious meal.

Ozzie: That could also be a good idea.

Emmanuel: I mean certainly that will become interested in this and maybe even at home no matter where they stay they can set up 1 of your systems.

Ozzie: Yes

Emmanuel: Maybe it’s a bit farfetched, but I am sure it’s not impossible.

Ozzie: I don’t think it’s impossible. Top

27:25 Wrap Up

Emmanuel: Ok, very interesting and well done and all the best.

Ozzie: Well thank you very much and thanks for the opportunity.

Emmanuel: Ok, anything else from your side? We reaching the end of the discussion now. Anything else from your side that we missed that you would like to add?

Ozzie: No, I can’t think of anything at the moment, but if there’s any questions give me a call or email, all my details are on

Emmanuel: Ok, first class, and I certainly would like us to discuss [uh] get together on the radio and discuss something else, some other topic in depth and maybe you can give is a feedback on your employment project for a future discussion.

Ozzie: Yes 100%.

Emmanuel: So that was Ozzie from Urban Veggies. Ozzie thank you very [very] much for interesting information [um] it’s an eye opener for me and I am sure that this is something for the future.

Ozzie: Oh, definitely.

Emmanuel: Yeah, thank you again.

Ozzie: Thanks, have a good evening.

Emmanuel: Likewise.

Ozzie: I will do.

We reaching the end now, I’m your host Emmanuel and over to the music, enjoy.


End of Transcript Top

Jex Energy Photovoltaic Electricity Transcript

Jex Energy Photovoltaic Electricity Transcript

Jex Energy

Title: Transcript of Interview with Jonathan Harf, CEO of Jex Energy
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Guest Speaker: Jonathan Harf
Date: 9 May 2017
Number of Speakers: 2
File Duration: 11:48
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk

Links are at the end of the transcript.

Transcript Breakdown:
00:01 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart
00:54 Introduction to alternative energy sources
01:57 What is solar energy?
02:33 Start of interview with Jonathan Harf
06:36 Three options for solar power
08:43 Benefits of solar power to the domestic user
11:43 Wrap Up

00:01 Beginning of recorded material, Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart:


[Righto] so I’m just going to give a short introduction and then I’ll come back to you.

Jonathan: Ok

Emmanuel: Welcome to Radio Live Green Smart and to our interview this evening with Jonathan Harf, of Jex Energy. I’m the presenter Emmanuel, and a little bit of background on Radio Live Green Smart: it’s a forum to discuss green living and eco-friendly living and importantly a forum to discuss where you see any disrespect for the environment first hand. Bring such disrespect to us, we’ll assist to expose that environmental disrespect, use the contact us form to send the details of the disrespect, please provide comprehensive information.

00:54 Introduction to alternative energy sources.

Tonight’s talk is about alternative energy sources, most of the worlds current [electric] electricity supply is produced from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. These traditional energy sources have various challenges including but not [limit] limited to rising prices, growing environmental concerns over the climate changes and limited supply of fossil fuels. As a result, governments, businesses and consumers are increasingly supporting the development of alternative energy sources. [Renewed] renewable energy sources such as solar, biomass, geo thermal, hydroelectric and wind power generation have emerged as potential alternatives which address some of these concerns. Top

01:57 What is solar energy?

What is solar energy? Solar energy refers to energy from the sun. The sun has produced energy for billions of years [it is most] it is the most important source of energy for life forms. Solar energy technologies use the suns energy to light our homes, produce hot water, heat homes as shown in solar tankless water heater reviews and electricity. Top

02:33 Start of interview with Jonathan Harf.

Emmanuel: Jonathan is joining us

Jonathan: Yes

Emmanuel: and he’ll be talking about Jex Energy and how they look at renewable solutions. Jonathan my first question is tell us about yourself and Jex Energy and what do you do? Top

Jonathan: Ok sure, well what we do exactly is pretty much what you were going on about there, is we supply and [insall] install renewable solutions, renewable energy solutions predominantly for residential and commercial, [um] as the need is arising we moving more into the industrial sector too. What our aim [is] is to really reduce the carbon footprint and have people less reliant on the normal utilities, fossil fuels what not.

Emmanuel: Ok, [what um]what would be interesting [um] especially from our point of view as well: why should people switch to solar power?

Jonathan: Well it’s a very good question [um] very simple answer. The people are using up the fossil fuels at a dramatic rate and it is really destroying our planet. That would-be option [well] reason number 1 to kind of go green. [um] reason 2 [inaudible] the growth of the solar market worldwide has seen a huge reduction in the price of solar panels, solar grid tie inverters, it is really becoming a cost-effective way to move over. You must remember that in South Africa [um] our electricity price is still relatively low compared to a lot of the rest of the world, so the quicker people here can move over to solar energy the better for them from a cost saving point.

Emmanuel: Yeah, just before we move on, I’m curious, are you finding traction? Are you finding a little bit of resistance? Is the market buying into this still in a small way or in a big way? How do you find the market?

Jonathan: I’ll tell you something, we’ve been doing this now for 6 years, for the first 4 years there was a lot of resistance[um] people were very hesitant, the prices were high, which did cause this obviously.

Emmanuel: OK

Jonathan: In the last 2 years, this industry has literally boomed, [it’s um] we are just getting requests from every sector in the market which is brilliant.

Emmanuel: Ok, even domestic dwellings?

Jonathan: Even domestic, and that now has also come down to the fact of the drop in the prices of batteries as well as the technology increasing [um] Tesler have released their Powerwall 2 which we are installers and suppliers of,  and that battery is really changing the way people can live.

Emmanuel: Ok, is that the life of the battery or is that the cost or both? [inaudible]

Jonathan: It’s the life and the cost. They’ve been able to increase the life and reduce the cost.

Emmanuel: Ok I understand [righto]. [uh] Jonathan and then what are the different solar power solutions available either in the market or from your company?

Jonathan: Sure, so and in the market at the moment you would look at 3 different options. Top

6:10 cuts out

Emmanuel: Hello are you there? Hello?

Jonathan: There’s obviously [inaudible] hello can you hear me?

Emmanuel: You were out a little bit, just give [inaudible] please Jonathan.

Jonathan: Ok

Emmanuel: Jonathan sorry, suddenly something has gone wonky, [um] you come and go. Shall we just try again?

Jonathan: Can you hear me now?

Emmanuel: Yes, I hear you well. Top

06:36 Three options for solar power.

Jonathan: Ok, alright, so your first option would be a grid tied system, this is have solar panels and a grid tied inverter, there’s no backup or battery storage with this system [uh] typically this is a cost saving system. The only drawback obviously is that you don’t get any benefit at night time. We find this system typically used in commercial situations where they are using most of their power during the day; that being said there is space for it in the domestic area.

The next system would be what you would call your hybrid system, this would be a system typically where you would have a battery bank as well as solar panels and an inverter. The solar panels would feed the house or the offices during the day, the inverter then would change some of that solar power into storable energy into your batteries. This would be then either used on a daily or nightly basis, just a small amount not to drain the batteries or used as a backup, say for example there’s load shedding or a power outage.

And the last system is a complete off-grid system this is where you do not have any grid, any Eskom grid or any power grid and we design a system around that. We’ve done quite a lot of systems for game parks and those sorts of situations where it’s too expensive for [inaudible] Eskom line [inaudible] completely off solar energy and batteries.

Emmanuel: OK and that must be the expensive one?

Jonathan: [ah] yes that is quite pricey, although as I said as technology increases, these systems are really becoming a reality. [um] Elon Musk with Tesler, they’ve set up an entire island, one of the islands of Hawaii, that are running completely off  grid.

Emmanuel: OK, so it’s not impossible?

Jonathan: No, not at all.

Emmanuel: OK, [righto] thank you for those insights.

Jonathan: Sure.

Emmanuel: Then if we can take it a step further and maybe you can cover the domestic [uh] dwellings as well [uh] as well as the industry but also let’s look at the [indus, uh] the domestic user. What are the benefits of the solar power? Top

08:43 Benefits of solar power to the domestic user.

Jonathan: Well firstly obviously, it’s the cost saving, so [um] although the pay back is still relatively long, [um] if you factor in Eskom increases, as you know are quite ridiculous sometimes there is definitely a cost saving. Another big thing is that you no so reliant on one sort of power source, the utility, whoever it is.

Emmanuel: Yeah

Jonathan: So, it really lets you be a bit more free if you will [uh] obviously we also a green company so we believe in reducing your carbon footprint and all those sort of things.

Emmanuel: [inaudible] yeah OK. Just on the [the] grid tied that you mentioned a moment ago.

Jonathan: Yes

Emmanuel: What happens if the system produces more electricity than the house or the office dwelling actually uses.

Jonathan: Very [very] good question. So, at the moment is South Africa there’s only 1 or about 3 or 4 municipalities that allow for feedback into the grid and you get [you get] a credit in your account. There is a push now, Tshwane municipality have sort of passed it through legislation, so it will just take a bit of time and they are also going to allow for it. It [it] is a reality that it has to happen especially as our grid is under so much strain this would allow for energy to becoming back to them, even if we not getting paid the full amount you’ll still get a credit. All over the world they allow for feedback into the grid, however in places where it’s not allowed yet we do put something on called a grid tie limiter which just prevents that feedback for now but in the near future hopefully all the municipalities will follow suit.

Emmanuel: Ok so there is uptake? I take it when you started your business [inaudible] that there were no municipalities buying back?

Jonathan: None

Emmanuel: Now there are. OK

Jonathan: Yes

Emmanuel: OK so there is a growth but slow. [uh] are you there Jonathan?

Jonathan: I’m here yes [yes].

Emmanuel: The other question is, what are your most popular solutions?

Jonathan: Our most popular solutions right now I would say in the domestic market would be our hybrid solution, as I mentioned it has solar panels as well as a battery bank so you are getting the best of both worlds [um] we set up these systems in such a way that we try get people say 80-90% off grid with them.

Emmanuel: OK

Jonathan: So, it can be quiet a big saving to a lot of people. On the commercial side its definitely our grid tied system where companies are now looking at a 3-year payback on their system.

Emmanuel: As quick as that? Wow.

Jonathan: As quick as that yes. Top

11:43 Wrap Up

Emmanuel: [inaudible] OK righty [um] Is there maybe anything else you want to cover? I’m drawing towards the end of…


End of Transcript Top

Kyasol Hydronics Transcript

Kyasol Hydronics Transcript

Kyasol Green Building Solutions

Title: Transcript of Interview with Istvan Nyul, Kyasol Green Building Solutions
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Guest Speaker: Istvan Nyul
Date: 15 May 2017
Number of Speakers: 2
File Duration: 52:32
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk

Links are at the end of the transcript.

Transcript Break Down:
00:01 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.
01:54 What is green building?
03:36 Introduction to Kyasol Green Building Solutions.
05:17 What is hydronics underfloor heating?
09:23 How does hydronics compare to electrical underfloor heating and are there other methods?
16:38 General requirements for hydronics?
24:08 What are the different floor coverings used with hydronics?
27:26 Can hydronics be fitted anywhere else besides the floor?
33:06 Costs of hydronics?
38:19 What other features does your system provide?
52:01 Wrap Up.

00:01 Beginning of recorded material, Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart:


And I’m recording.

Welcome to Radio Live Green Smart and to our building green discussion, brought to you in association with Istvan Nyul of Kyasol Green Building Solutions. You are welcome to phone in on mobile number in South Africa 27 082 651 4273, Ill repeat that, South Africa 27 082 651 4273 or you can skype on Emmanuel.van.der.meulen, I’ll spell that (phonetic spelling follows making use of NATO phonetic alphabet) and phone in any time with questions about building green. I’m your host, Emmanuel and before we start a little bit about Radio Live Green Smart. It’s a forum to discuss green living, eco-friendly living and importantly a forum to discuss where you see any disrespect for the environment first hand. Bring such disrespect to us, we’ll assist to expose such [envir] environmental disrespect. Use contact us to send the details of the disrespect, please provide comprehensive information so it makes it easy for us to follow up. Top

01:54 What is green building?

Now a small introduction to the discussion: what is green building? [suspain] sustainable or green building design and construction is about wisely using resources to create high quality, healthier and energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, a green building is more than the sum of its parts, its process and impact also matters. Green design is about finding balance, balance between high quality construction and low environmental impact. A lighter footprint means a longer lasting planet which is a win for the builder, for the client and for the environment. Green building is a goal and a process, viewing sustainable building as a process is important because green building success isn’t just a matter of building with green materials. Green building combines both materials and processes to maximize efficiency, durability, savings (the savings is an important part) and then also a solid return on investment.

We’ll now talk to Istvan Nyul from Kyasol Green Building Solutions. Hello Istvan. Just before we start please introduce yourself and Kyasol to our listeners. Top

03:36 Introduction to Kyasol Green Building Solutions.

Istvan: Good evening Emmanuel, [um] thank you for having me here tonight, [uh] it’s an honour to be at your newly created radio show. Thank you.

Emmanuel: You are welcome Istvan.

Istvan: Yeah [um] Kyasol [um] Kyasol was [um] founded in 2010, it derived from an industrial automation company [um] the 2 founding fathers if you can call it that way are my 2 colleagues Jonathan and Frans [um] and yeah since then [um] it’s been a long journey working together with many, many companies all related to green living, green building, green houses whatsoever. [um] I myself I’m a studied engineer, a mechanical engineering, or its actually a mix of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering and [uh] I came here about 10 years ago to South Africa. I studied in Germany and I decided to live in South Africa and 1 year after founding Kyasol I joined the team and with me I brought the knowledge for [for] the underfloor heating for the entire thermal heating systems.

Emmanuel: OK [thank you] thank you for that introduction, very interesting introduction [uh] Istvan. OK so [uh] let’s go to the next topic what is hydronics underfloor heating? Can you [can you] elaborate on what that is? Top

05:17 What is hydronics underfloor heating?

Istvan: [um] many people might know how electrical underfloor heating works, that’s when wires gets laid into the screed, similar is the hydronic floor heating, only we don’t lay wires, we lay pipes, actual water pipes. It’s a multi-layer pex pipe, a plastic pipe and [uh] in there we circulate warm water. [um] that [that] heat which is carried by the warm water is then transferred into the screed and the screed transfers it into your room, essentially heating the structure of the building. Now in the screed you’ll find that during the insulation you can see it afterwards its hidden away [um] you’ll find a whole [uh] spider web of [uh] piping, but everything is without pipe crossings.

The pipe is laid at a spacing of about 100mm so every 100mm in your [yeah in your] ground structure you’ll find pipe with water circulating in it and that is done in such a way cause [the more] the more area that is covered in a building, the more heating surface you’ve got the better the [the] efficiency of the entire system. In the house, depending on the size of the house you will have [um] we call it manifolds [um] the floor we have the following problem, the length of the type is limited, we can only have a maximum length of 100 metres,  100 metres per circuit. Now in a big house you will have many circuits, can be 20/30 circuits easily [easily] so per circuit we can cover 10 square metres and if your room is for instance 30 square metres then you will need 3 circuits and in that 30 square metre room you’ll then have 300 metres of pipe, so per square metre we lay out 10 metres of pipe [um] the house is then separated into different zones so each room then has a separate thermostat and each room can then be controlled separately.

Emmanuel: OK thank you [thank you] Istvan, [um] let me just make sure I understood, is the pex pipe plastic?

Istvan: Yes, it is a plastic, so it can be bent very easily and [and uh] it is slightly less efficient than copper (Emmanuel in the background saying OK) copper is a very good conductor [um] but if you think about how much pipe is in the floor, its kilometres per house then [um] yeah, the copper would work out very expensive and the pex pipe in comparison is very cost effective, but [um yes] yes you do have a little bit less heating efficiency.

Emmanuel: OK, is that pipe reinforced at all?

Istvan: The pipe has got an aluminium layer inside, the very insert of the pipe is plastic, that is where water comes into contact with the pipe, its very smooth so the [the the] friction is very low [uh] created by the pipe, then you have a layer of aluminium which gives it stability [um] it also makes it, afterwards you can find the pipe with a pipe finder in the floor in case you want to drill somewhere  [um]and another reason for that, we will talk about it a little bit later and [um] that aluminium  inside the pipe is also a vapour barrier because we don’t want air to infiltrate into that closed water system, because air and water causes rust of metal parts (Emmanuel in the background says OK) and to avoid all that the pipe has [um] got an aluminium layer inside to seal it off pretty much.

Emmanuel: OK, I’m very happy that an expert would lay it, I wouldn’t know how to do that.

Istvan: It is not that complicated. Top

09:23 How does hydronics compare to electrical underfloor heating and are there other methods?

Emmanuel: OK Istvan thank you for that, let’s move on to the next one, now how does the hydronics compare to electrical underfloor heating?

Istvan: [um]the electrical underfloor heating is very responsive, so you switch it on and a half an hour later you can feel the floor is warm already, it is a little bit different here with the hydronic [um] underfloor heating system [um] because we have a much thicker screed layer on top, so there’s a bit more [um] matter to heat through first until the temperature reaches the floor and until the floor can heat the entire space, so that is the first thing one needs to have in mind, that [uh] it’s a bit slower so it takes a couple of hours after you switch it on. It takes a couple of hours that [uh] space gets warm [um] but the intention here is not to switch it on and off on demand, the intention is here to keep it running, it will regulate and control itself, it will switch the room off if the room reaches temperature or switch it on once the temperatures too low. It’s intelligent you don’t need to interfere as a user, [um] there’s a whole logic behind it to control all that.

You set your temperatures once and that’s pretty much it [um] also it’s a bit more complex then [um] electrical underfloor heating, with electric underfloor heating you have an electrical connection on the wall and [uh] the installer wires the web the [the uh] wire web to it and then you have a thermostat which switches it on or off.


Here [um] you have a heat source, this can be different things to create that heat which is then transferred into the water [um] you need [um] much more space for the entire equipment, you have pumps and valves, and an entire DB for the controls so it’s a bit more of an effort and one needs to know what is happening and what needs to happen onsite [um] to [yeah] not to lose it basically.

[um] different heat sources can for instance be [uh] a heat pump which is most popular [um uh] method of heating the [the] water which circulates in the floor [um] the heat pump [uh] the advantage of a heat pump is that [um] it can run at any time as long as there’s electricity; where the electricity comes from whether its [um] Eskom or you produce it yourself that doesn’t matter. If there’s electricity the heat pump runs. Another method of heating it is solar panels on the roof so typically you would have a tank, [uh] the tank is connected to a couple of panels on the roof and during the day the pumps will circulate the water from the tank up to panels and then back into the tank and from there the water then gets distributed into the entire house now the advantage of this method is that [um] heat generation only happens during the day when the sun is shining but most of the heating mostly happens at night [um] in order to [to] avoid tank cooling down you’ll have to have a couple of tanks and lots of panels to heat those tanks, its 2000/3000 litres and then at night you can use those tanks like a heat battery and you just draw the heat out until next morning when they heat up again.


Another method would be gas, which is [uh] very expensive, it’s still cheaper than electrical heating but its expensive compared to the other methods [um] it’s a [it’s a] gas boiler which then circulates heats the water up which then circulates through it and [um] that way you could also heat and another [um] method would be a fire place that is a special one with a built in heat exchanger where the flute gases exit so when you make a fire in the lounge for instance, you enjoy your fire in the lounge and at the same time water is circulated through the heat exchanger and then goes back to the tank and from there it gets distributed in the house. So basically you have a warm lounge through your fireplace but at the same time you heating the bedroom and bathroom on the other side, that is how the system works [um] an advantage of hydronic underfloor heating is also that you can combine sources. You can have a heat pump that covers the heating at night via electricity and you can have solar which heats the tank [uh] during the day when the sun is out so you can [um] those systems assist each other and therefore reducing the electrical demand even more. [um] the initial investment of such a system is much higher but [um] the running costs to heat the house are so much lower than electrical underfloor heating, you can say it’s about a fifth of [um] a comparable electric underfloor heating system. Which means with the electrical consumption of a geyser you could heat 200 square metres and that is when the heat pump is running flat out on a very cold day.

Emmanuel: OK [ok] so out of all these heat sources for hydronics would you say that the heat pump is probably the easier and less expensive mechanism?

Istvan: It is the easiest yes. It costs a bit more than a fire place for instance, if you use a fireplace for heating or a gas unit but then again with a fire place you need wood for it to keep it running (Emmanuel in the background: yeah) you can’t just [uh] put 1 batch in it and forget about it, you need to keep it running (Emmanuel in the background: OK) well the heat pump switches on there’s no mess, no fuss it always works, it’s a very reliable unit.

Emmanuel: OK, and also the house that we developed, by using the heat pump we could also cool the house so all year round through the hydronics, in the winter we have a heat source that will warm up the house to a [a,a] comfortable temperature and then in summer we could [uh] then cool the house down as well and that’s what the heat pump [the heat pump] will give us?

Istvan: Yeah [uh] that’s correct, those units which can cool as well are a bit more expensive (Emmanuel in the back says OK) but generally it is possible to the cool the house, whether it’s through the floor or walls or ceiling doesn’t matter (Emmanuel in the background says OK) but yes [uh] that’s correct [um]. Top

16:38 General requirements for hydronics?

Emmanuel: OK, [move] moving on then the general requirements for hydronics? Can you just cover those for us? What [what what] does it all entail?

Istvan: What I always recommend my clients who enquire about underfloor heating first think about the building, think about the efficiency of the building and then look into alternative heating or cooling methods. And that starts with [uh] very easy things like insulating the building shell, double glazing for instance, double glazing [uh] can prevent the heat from going out in winter so you keep the heat inside, in summer it keeps the heat outside. Those double-glazed windows generally are more tighter than single glazing, there’s no drought, also they shield the noise, that is a very big advantage of double glazed windows, that the noise levels drop significantly [um] so yeah one method would be double glazing then [um] insulate the roof [so there’s] if you don’t insulate your roof or your ceiling then you going to lose all your heat, might as well not heat in other words. So, the roof must be insulated [um] then [um] if you are willing to invest that additional money and also insulate the walls, so if you have [um] your double walls with the cavity [um] there are methods to insulate that cavity with insulation, that also reduces the heat flow in winter then the heat flow from the inside to outside, cause it gets stuck pretty much in the middle.

Emmanuel: Yeah, in the property that we developed we did exactly that by [uh] adding the two [uh] layers and the cavity and then we used lambda board in the cavity, which as you say then insulated both from the inside and from the outside making the wall [uh] quite a bit wider than regular double [double] walls.

Istvan: Another method would be, there’s those[um]it’s like granules which can be poured into those cavities and they also work quite nicely.

Emmanuel: OK

Istvan: Then [um] something that comes with underfloor heating is [um] the floor insulation so basically [uh] the different layers of the underfloor heated floor [um] would be if [if you look if] you take your slab and [uh] and first we install a vapour barrier, just a plastic, your USB plastic to prevent moisture from the underside from getting through to the floor heating system cause humidity is an additional heat carrier, so it will carry the heat away from the floor[um] on top of that [um] plastic we put high density polystyrene, that is a special polystyrene that is meant to go onto floors [um] the thickness of the polystyrene is round about 50mm on ground floors, on upper floors you can reduce it to 35mm for instance or 30mm and [um] and on top of that polystyrene we then put our[um] we call it the [knot panel um] the panel has two functions, firstly also another vapour barrier to prevent moisture and secondly [um] you have to imagine it  a panel like [um] which is interlinked with the next neighbour like legal, and [um] through that we create like a carpet in which we lay the pipe, so we ensure that the pipes is always at the same spacing, it looks neat and straight and proper. [um] the screed will be at a thickness of about 70/80mm so that’s much thicker than for a normal screed or electric underfloor heating screed [um] its poured straight on top of the entire construction underneath [um] and closing the pipe inside [um] and [um] the 70mm basically creates a block of matter which then also stores lots of heat in case the heat pump switches off or there’s a power outage you won’t even notice its getting colder because there’s so much heat like a battery, there’s so much heat [um] stored in the screed, and yeah on top of the screed there’s your [your] final floor covering, tiles, thin carpet, [um wooden wooden um] wooden floor if you want. Ideally tiles because they also conduct heat very well just like they conduct heat away from your foot when they are cold, they conduct heat from underneath as well come to the upper side [um] but also yes carpet also works if it’s not too thick. [um] another thing which many architects seem to forget when they design and enquire about underfloor heating systems is a dedicated room for all of the equipment that can be a small room 2 metres by 3 metres, for instance, its usually big enough where all the equipment can be installed and from there we basically supply the floor with [with uh] required water and also in there we put the DB and the tank and whatever is required in order to operate the entire system. [um] duration of the installation is round about, we can install 100 – 150 square metres per week just for the floor and them [um] the utility rooms or rest of the installation is about another 2 weeks, roughly. During the installation, no one can be onsite, no other [inaudible] persons can be walking around because it’s a very clean job, it’s almost like in a hospital, sterile, so we come before we start, we vacuum the whole place, we clean because we don’t want any stones or dirt to penetrate the [inaudible] because then we might have a leakage, although leakages can be fixed afterwards [um] but yeah, it’s better to avoid it from the beginning.

Emmanuel: Ok that sounds [that sounds] very interesting, but again, [uh] highly specialised [um] Istvan just on the note of [um] the installation and the time it takes does that mean also that if it should be dust free that by now the windows are in, the ceiling is in and that you’ve got the [the] shell is completely built by now?

Istvan: Yes, that means exactly that and that would make me very happy if it always happens on all sides um] yes ideally windows, everything closed, doors are in, if it’s not possible to put the windows in then [um] those openings must be closed with plastic. (Emmanuel in the back: OK) wind and dirt and rain cannot blow through. Top

24:08 What are the different floor coverings used with hydronics?

Emmanuel: Ok, thank you for the interesting information. Right so let’s look at, you already mentioned the different floor covering [uh] can you just recap on the different floor coverings used with hydronics?

Istvan: Yes [um] many people now days also go for a polished screed, which I didn’t mention earlier. Polished screed and tiles are ideal for underfloor heating [um] because they conduct heat very well and that’s what we want to conduct the heat away from the pipe which is about 60 [cm] mm below [uh] we want to conduct that heat away to the inside of the room and then the water can go back to the heat pump and from there can heat up again. [um] but also its possible to use [um] a thin carpet or even a wooden floor, the wooden must be certified though for underfloor heating.

Emmanuel: Ok and would that wood include the laminate floors?

Istvan: That can be done as well, yes.

Emmanuel: Ok, righty.

Istvan: Generally, it’s not a big issue even with a wooden floor or carpets [um] the temperature in pipe, or the temperature of the water circulating in there is around about 35 degrees, maximum of 40 degrees, that means on the underside [um] on the upper side of your screed, on the underside of your final floor covering when you have 28/29/30 degree.

Emmanuel: Ok so any material that can last at that temperature is a possible covering?

Istvan: That is correct [that is correct] which most of the material do because in summer the sun shines, the floor gets much warmer then what it becomes during underfloor heating.

Emmanuel: Ok, before we move on, at this stage I just want to enquire, so what about expansion and contraction with the heating and the floor and all the water running through the floor. How is that catered for? Do we need to cater for that?

Istvan: Yes [um] when we install the floor, before that polystyrene goes in we cover all the surrounding walls in a [inaudible] insulation [so that] it’s a strip of insulation of flexible polystyrene which can be attached to the wall and [uh] that basically keeps when the screed is poured, that keeps the screed away from the wall so there’s always a gap between the screed and the wall, which means when the screed heats up from whatever temperature it was poured, for instance 20 degree or 25 degree to the final 35/40 degree that it can expand by 2cm on each side and that allows for the thermal expansion of it.

Emmanuel: Ok

Istvan: So, it’s floating, screed is floating in the room.

Emmanuel: Ok and any expansion joints?

Istvan: Expansion joints, yes [um] if the room gets very long, if it’s a very long room for instance bigger than 12 metres then we prefer to put expansion joints somewhere in the middle to cut it into 2 [uh] blocks pretty much. Top

27:26 Can hydronics be fitted anywhere else besides the floor?

Emmanuel: Ok, right now I want to go a little bit [uh] and think laterally, can the hydronics only be fitted to the floor or [or] do you have it in other places as well?

Istvan: [um] you mentioned earlier that the heat pump can cool as well as an add on, the heat pumps I’m usually using they [they] have it built in, either we use it or we don’t. [um] now a problem with the floor is [um] if you cool through the floor cold air is heavier than warm air which means since you cooling from underneath that air doesn’t convect upwards so it gets stuck on the floor which means [um] in the room you creating temperature layers, you [stratosphying] the air temperature from warm air on top too cold at the bottom of the floor. [um] in that case it is better to cool from the top which means using ceiling panels for instance [um] it’s the same method, it’s a dry wall panel where the pipe is laid in and [um] in summer you can cool, you circle cool water through the panel and then the cold air will fall naturally through natural convection and flood through [um and um] if you do it through the floor you can install a small fan for instance to get a little bit of circulation.

Emmanuel: Ok, so does that mean the ideal would then be for your heating you place that in the floor and then for your cooling you place that in the ceiling?

Istvan: Yes, that is correct [um] I mentioned earlier though is manifolds [um] we can add a couple of more circuits on that manifold and then have, let’s say 5 circuits for that room [uh] supplying only cold water in summer, supplying to the ceiling panels [uh] alternatively also a very nice feature would be the wall heating and cooling, so if you transfer heat through the walls its always efficient.

Emmanuel: Is this instead of the floor?

Istvan: That can be instead of the floor, as long as the floors insulated.

Emmanuel: Ok

Istvan: So, the floor must be insulated otherwise you going to lose [inaudible with Emmanuel talking]. [um] and then you just heat the walls around you, you have to cover around about 60% [um] of the floor area on the wall, up to a height of 2 metres, that gives you an idea of how big that wall heating area needs to be and that can be used then for heating and cooling very efficiently because you are surrounding your body with warmth, either low temperature warmth in [in] winter and [uh] cold in summer.

Emmanuel: Ok

Istvan: So, your body radiates either in summer into the wall to get rid of heat or you absorb heat from the wall.

Emmanuel: Ok, right and how difficult is that? That means it’s a panel that goes on top of the wall or [or] do you place the piping and then you plaster the wall?

Istvan: Yes, there are 2 options, if you build new then [um] the pipe is plastered, it’s basically a rail which gets attached to the bricks in that rail we run the piping like a snake and [uh] then on top of the piping we’ll have to have round about 20mm of screed [ag a] sorry plaster covering, which means the plaster will be on about 35-40mm thickness in total counted from the brick wall.

Emmanuel: Does that mean that piping in the wall, those rails you mentioned, would those now be the same pex or is it a different product all together?

Istvan: The rails is just to hold the pipe.

Emmanuel: Ok

Istvan: The pipe is the very same pipe which we use in the floor.

Emmanuel: Ok

Istvan:  that multilayer pex pipe, but just to hold it on the wall we use those rails.

Emmanuel: Instead of those plastic, what did you call it those knobs?

Istvan: Yes.

Emmanuel: Ok, and of course the plasterer will have to know exactly what they are doing whilst they are plastering over this [uh]pipe network and to ensure the plaster wont crack?

Istvan: Yes, they plaster in 2 stages, the first layer is just to cover the pipe by 5mm roughly. And then whilst the plaster is wet, we attach a web, it’s like [uh] a mesh, it’s a mesh (Emmanuel saying Ok in the background) that mesh will then be worked into the plaster and then afterwards you can add another cm of plaster on top of it and that keeps the plaster strong.

Emmanuel: Ok and for that process do you also need the house to be dust proof and in a seal envelope whilst you are doing this? It doesn’t sound like it?

Istvan: No that is not as critical [um] it’s really just about the floor piping so that [um] it can’t get punctured [um] if the pipe is attached to the wall it’s unlikely that it gets punctured through walking over it or whatever.

Emmanuel: And then you can just have a regular floor with a regular thickness screed (Istvan in the background yes) with carpet or whatever you want to do?

Istvan: That is correct. It must be insulated underneath not to lose all the heat. Top

33:06 Costs of hydronics?

Emmanuel: Ok that’s fair enough. Right so if you now look at all these options, hydronics in the floor or in the wall for heating and cooling or in the ceiling for cooling and heating in the floor with hydronics, this sounds very complicated as to how to choose which of these should be done and the costs it sounds like it’s too complicated to even try and figure out, but I am sure you are going to help us with the costs comparatively speaking. [um] sorry Istvan and is some of this for existing housing, in other words to easily retrofit hydronics instead of building new. How does all of that come into play?

Istvan: The methods I just explained with regards to the floor heating or cooling and the wall heating are for new houses, but we also have a retrofit panel, it’s a [inaudible] panel which can be laid on top of your existing floor, the thickness of that panel is 20mm, in there we also run that piping that multilayer pex piping but its thinner instead of 16mm its only 11.7 [um] so it will raise your floor by about 20mm in total but right on top of that panel [um]  you can put new tiles. You’ll have to cut doors though and generally you will lift about 20mm higher but it is possible, alternatively we also have a similar panel which is then attached to the wall instead. In there runs the piping and it’s a dry wall panel pretty much with cut outs and there runs the piping as an upgrade to an existing house.

Emmanuel: Ok so you’ve got the 2 options, we can take a conventional house and retrofit it relatively easy [um] or for a new house you’ve got the different options, and cost wise how do the costs compare?

Istvan: [um] of course if you build new it’s always cheaper cause you can plan everything right from the beginning you can have your supply piping and you can lay it whilst they casting the concrete and so on, if it has to be installed afterwards it’s always a bit more of a mission to find a loophole back into the building to install the manifold somewhere in the building [um] so it’s always cheaper to build from scratch, new. Costs for such a system, you are looking at about R1500 per square metre if it’s just heating, roughly [um] if it is a retrofit application with those panels then it’s more in the region of R2000 per square metre.

Emmanuel: Ok, and [and] when you say now the R1500 per square metre is that for your wall system or your floor or your ceiling? Just help me understand that?

Istvan: That would be for a typical floor instillation [um] what I usually also do is add in some wall heating in bathrooms.

Emmanuel: Ok, that would be nice.

Istvan: If it is a badly insulated house, cause generally in bathrooms there’s very little floor space available for the heat exchange (Emmanuel agrees in the background) so I try to cover as much as possible in the bathroom even under [under] the shower and toilet, [yeah] sometimes it’s not enough then I add some additional square metres on the wall just to get that higher temperature, in the bathroom you want 24 degrees ideally whilst in other areas 20-22 degrees.

Emmanuel: Ok [shoo] that sounds very interesting, now in terms of the wall heating and cooling or for that matter the ceiling which can be in a newly built house how does that compare in price per square metre, and how do you work the square metre is it floor square metre or wall square metre?

Istvan: The wall square metre is cheaper because there we don’t put polystyrene underneath, no vapour barrier, no knobs so the whole insulation is also much quicker because it’s really just a matter of attaching those rails on the walls and then running the pipe in there and then getting the pipe in there and back out to the manifold and then it goes back to the heat pump [um] the floor insulation is a bit more complex, all those polystyrene balls need to be cut into shapes and sizes and make sure there is no [um] hollow areas underneath because that’s going to create a drum effect when you walk, so it’s a bit more complex to do a floor insulation. [um] a house only with wall heating I haven’t done yet so mostly its floor heating and then added wall heating.

Emmanuel: In certain areas?

Istvan: Yeah Top

38:19 What other features does your system provide?

Emmanuel: Right so [so] far some of this is easy to understand some of this is complicated to understand and I’m glad that I’m not doing the installation and that an expert is doing the installation, [um] and then what can you tell us about other features that the system provides?

Istvan: We talked about the cooling and the heating which is powered by the heat pump, for an additional cost and with a little bit more effort one can add pool heating as well so if in summer the heating is not useful for heating then why not heat the pool.

Emmanuel: Ok, I’ve course so in other words the heat pump works a little bit harder and then also warms up the pool.

Istvan: I wouldn’t say it works harder, it works longer [yeah] this way you can save the heat pump for heating the pool. In summer, the heat pump is off for heating and why not use it for pool heating, a nice warm bath.

Emmanuel: Ok, even in summer to heat the pool?

Istvan: Many people heat the pool in summer.

Emmanuel: Oh, I thought it was a winter thing.

Istvan: Well in winter I wouldn’t heat the pool anyway cause the losses are too high and the heat pump won’t be able to keep up, it’s a waste you want it to be efficient and heating the pool in winter is just a waste.

Emmanuel: Ok so for pool heating in winter better use the [the] method where you’ve got [the] something lying on the roof that will cycle the suns heat into the pool?

Istvan: Those, yes, those panels are very cheap, if the pool pump is running then it will heat somewhat, whether they can make up for the losses at night that is another question. I think it’s just a matter of how many panels you’ve got on the roof. For instance, in-between [in between] winter and summer that time when the sun is not strong enough to heat the pool yet and the heat pump as an additional source. But here ideally again the pools walls are insulated towards the ground, water has a very good heat storage, but it also conducts heat very well away. The walls are insulated as well as a pool cover should be installed just to lower the losses at night.

Emmanuel: So, to include the hydronics or the heat pump for the pool you would have to, as you said now insulate the pool, that means it should be part of the ground up building of the pool, included in the design did I understand correctly?

Istvan: Yes, they should be included in the design already so if a client is interested in pool heating via that same heat pump then I will also give recommendations of what to do and how to make the system more efficient.

Emmanuel: Ok, any other features that the system provides?

Istvan: Yes of course the heat pump in under floor heating mode is producing a water temperature of maximum 40 degrees, now this temperature can be increased so the heat pump can produce a much higher temperature than 40 degrees, we just limit it there. Anything higher than 40-45 degrees also possible but anything higher than that is getting uncomfortable even. If you walk around in the house and the floor is too warm it is uncomfortable and even unhealthy.

Emmanuel: Ok

Istvan: In other words the heat pump can produce hot water for domestic purposes, how that works is instead of heating the water in the floor it switches over via a valve and heats a tank, that tank gets heated up to 55 degrees roughly, and then it’s only a storage for thermal energy and from the tank  via a fresh water module [um] we produce domestic hot water on demand so only when the hot water tap is open the unit switches on, draws water from the tank from the top of the tank where it’s the hottest, draws that water through a heat exchanger and on the other side the cold municipal water is connected and as the cold water flows through the heat exchanger it heats up to a set temperature which is 40-45 degree which is more than enough hot water already if you produce it on demand.

Emmanuel: Ok is this hot water now for the tap, for the kitchen, for the shower, for the bath?

Istvan: Yes, that’s correct. The unit is like an instant gas heater, when you open your hot water tap the gas heater switches on and produces your hot water. The same way this unit is working, only the heating comes from the water which is stored in the tank.

Emmanuel: Ok, which was heated by the heat pump?

Istvan: Yes, the advantage of that as well is that since you are not storing huge amounts of domestic water, consumable water the temperature doesn’t need to be that high. In the geyser, the temperature is only set to 60 degrees because of the legionella bacteria that develops at temperatures lower than that.

Emmanuel: Ok, from a health point of view.

Istvan: Yes, and since we are not storing any water, we are only producing it when it’s really required we can lower the temperature and that makes it efficient again.

Emmanuel: This sounds very complicated.

Istvan: But [but, but but] what is required is this is a central system so the unit is somewhere outside, the tank is somewhere in the utility room far away from any bathroom or kitchen [um] what is required is a so called warm water ring network and that is basically a pipe starting in the utility room going to each and every tap in the house and then coming back to that unit in the utility room and [um] the following happens: that unit can be programmed, for instance in the morning before the owner of the house gets up, half an hour it pre-heats the water and the same happens in the evening it pre-heats the water before everyone gets home and that means when you open the tap it takes a second and the hot water is there already so there’s no waiting for the cold water to drain until the hot water gets to the tap. You save electricity, you save water you don’t lose it.

Emmanuel: Ok, especially the water that you save there if the hot water is hot on tap.

Istvan: Yes, that is correct. It’s really [uh] from the drain we only have 1 metre pipe, maybe 1.5 metres to the tap and that is very [very] little water. It’s not even half a litre.

Emmanuel: Ok, understood.

Istvan: Its much less than that.

Emmanuel: Istvan if you just give me a moment I would like to continue, but before we continue, ok there we are…

Audio pause


Emmanuel: Ok, everything is under control, I’d like now to [just uh] are there any other features your system provides?

Istvan: Yes, all my systems come with an automation system, that system comes with a PLC, so that system is a programmable logic controller which I use to switch the heat pump on and for heating and cooling, to tell the heat pump which temperature to produce for instance [um] to switch the pumps on which circulates water to the manifolds for instance, to control the valves on the manifold to open the flow of water to the different zones with that system I measure temperatures in each room or each zone via sensors. In the room, there’s no panel or anything there’s really just a sensor, it’s a little box usually mounted next to the light switch and the owner of the system, he can use his phone and download an app and on the app you can see all the temperatures in each room, he can set the temperature or switch it to heating or cooling. He can monitor all the temperatures in the tank, he can change the schedule for the ring, the warm water ring circulation pump so its [uh] very interactive, very informative interface and that system gives me the possibility basically to [um] monitor also remotely if there’s a break down or anything I can see what’s happening. What are the temperatures? It doesn’t matter if I am at the office or at the client or sitting in Europe.

Emmanuel: Ok, so if I as the user of this equipment, do I need to be an engineer? Do I need to be a programmer? Is it easy for me to use this automation that you are referring to?

Istvan: It is very [very] easy, [um] actually as the owner of the system you don’t have to interfere at all, you tell me which temperatures you want in the rooms so I can set them for you. You can always change them afterwards but after that the system is self-sufficient, it controls itself. Its intelligent, it knows when its summer, it knows when its winter, it knows what to do at which point in time and there’s no need to interfere afterwards. One can but it’s not necessary.

Emmanuel: Ok, thank you for that interesting information, anything else before I move on to the next topic?

Istvan: [um] that automation system is a very [very] big topic, but that will be part of another conversation a few weeks down the line. It’s 1 of my hobbies to fiddle with it, to program it, to try new things and new methods so it’s very [very] interesting.

Emmanuel: Ok, alright, I can also share some information of how that automation helped us [um] save money in the beginning phases after we built the green house. So now let’s go on, so now we going to have the [inaudible] of another discussion and we looking forward to that Istvan.

Istvan: Yes, I will be back.

Emmanuel: Ok, now what is an automation system? You’ve sort of discussed it broadly speaking is there anything else or can I move on and just [uh] with the idea that we will see you again for the next discussion?

Istvan: I would just like to add that [um] automation system is expandable, I use it just for the heating and cooling part but it is expandable if one for instance want to expand the house in the future then you could get a rain water system for instance and monitor the water level through that same app pretty much, or install a photo voltaic system which generates electricity for the house which can be used by the heat pump as well, that enables me as the programmer to switch the heat pump on if there is surplus energy available, which there is usually during the day, over heat the screed by a degree or 2, store some additional energy in the screed and have less run time later on in the evening off Eskom.

Emmanuel: Ok, that’s interesting.

Istvan: So, there are many things possible and it’s a huge topic, I think we should move it to another session.

Emmanuel: Ok let’s do that and I am looking forward to it and I am sure the listeners are looking forward to some more of your highly technical discussion which I feel is easy enough to grasp but it’s not for the faint hearted, I would say, or is it?

Istvan: Yes, [uh] I am not sure how to answer this and I am involved in this so sometimes I forget that people might never heard of underfloor heating or this kind of thing or automation technologies and I always have to go a step back and [uh] yeah start explaining, but it’s not a problem.

Emmanuel: Ok, in the next interview we will have a look and a listen to that. Top

52:01 Wrap Up

Emmanuel: So that was our discussion with Istvan Nyul, from Kyasol Green Building Solutions talking about sustainable and green building design, please take note that where we interview or run adverts the content is not necessarily endorsed by Radio Live Green Smart. I’m your host Emmanuel.

And now over to the music.


End of Transcript Top

Radio Live Green Smart Launch Podcast

Radio Live Green Smart Launch Podcast

Radio Live Green Smart Logo

Vegan Food Fair SA Transcript

Vegan Food Fair SA Transcript

Vegan Food Fair SA

Title: Transcript of Anchor Read Advert Vegan Food Fair SA
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Date: 8 May 2017
Number of Speakers: 1
File Duration: 05:31
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk

Links are at the end of the transcript.

Transcript Breakdown:
00:01 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart
00:55 Introduction to Veganism
02:21 Start of the advert for Vegan Food Fair SA
05:00 Wrap Up

00:01 Beginning of recorded material:


Welcome to Radio Live Green Smart. I’m Emmanuel your presenter this evening, of a short promotion on vegan food. A little bit about Radio Live Green Smart before we come to the promotion, Radio Live Green Smart is a forum to discuss green living and eco-friendly living and importantly a forum to discuss where you see disrespect for the environment first hand. Bring such disrespect to us we’ll assist to expose such environmental disrespect. Use contact us to send the details of the disrespect. Please provide comprehensive information to make it easy for us to follow up. Top

00:55 Introduction to Veganism

When looking at vegan and green, let’s look at an intuitive message with two points. The one is the average person burns around 1000 calories a day even if staying in bed, merely to power the body. It requires exponentially more resources to eat animal products. Most of what we feed to farmed animals is required to keep them alive. Much of the rest is turned into bones and other bits we don’t eat. A fraction of those crops is turned into meat, milk or eggs and so forth. Thus, we need to grow the crops required to raise the animals in order to eat the animals and their by-products, vastly more is used to eating the crops directly. In other words, by just eating the crops ourselves far less crops are required. The second point is many extra stages of polluting and energy intensive steps are required to get animal products to the table. That’s in addition to feeding the animals. Top

02:21 Start of the advert for Vegan Food Fair SA

Vegan Food Fair South Africa has a forthcoming event, and they invite you to a fun filled day out, aimed at both lifelong vegans and likeminded people. The event is on the 21st May from 09h00 in the morning til 16h00 in the afternoon. They say, join us on the 21st from 9 o clock to 16h00 at Klitsgras, drumming circle, Garsfontein Road, Pretoria. The event includes a variety of stores with authentic vegan goodies, live music and a surprise guest speaker. There are games for all ages with a focus on family and friends. Fur babies are [welk] welcome too, please just ensure you have leashes at the ready. This event is promoted via the #VeganFairPta (I’ll repeat that and presenter repeats information) and #immortalwortel which is (auditory spelling), those are the 2 hashtags used for promoting the event.

Furthermore, they say please contact Henry at 072 187 2986 or find us on Facebook under the name Vegan Food Fair South Africa. I’ll repeat that, they say contact Henry at 087 187, whoops I got to start again 082 187 2986 [incorrect details read out] or find us on Facebook under Vegan Food Fair South Africa – those are 4 words. Vegan Food Fair South Africa. Furthermore, Vegan Food Fair South Africa is looking for vegan promoters to spread the word and help end animal exploitation. If you want to help give a voice to the voiceless please get in touch.

That was a short promo for vegan food fair South Africa’s event on the 21st May from 09h00-16h00. Top

05:00 Wrap Up

Please note: where we interview, or run adverts like this promotion, the content is not necessarily endorsed by Radio Live Green Smart. I am your presenter, Emmanuel.

And now over to the music.


End of Transcript Top

Jex Energy Podcast

Jex Energy Podcast

Jex Energy

Vegan Food Fair SA Podcast

Vegan Food Fair SA Podcast

Vegan Food Fair SA

Radio Live Green Smart Launch Transcript

Radio Live Green Smart Launch Transcript

Radio Live Green Smart Logo

Title: Transcript of the Launch of Radio Live Green Smart
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Date: 1 May 2017
Number of Speakers: 1
File Duration: 26:28
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk

Links are at the end of the transcript.

Transcript Breakdown:
00:01 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.
02:12 How to promote the radio station using #LiveGreenSmart?
02:56 The birth of Radio Live Green Smart.
05:27 The hype of green living.
09:10 How to start living green.
12:44 Return on Investment of a smart green home.
16:40 The benefits of living in a green smart home.
22:48 Wrap Up

00:01 Beginning of recorded material:


It’s 16h00 GMT time or 18h00 SAT time. Welcome, this is our first presentation of Radio Live Green Smart. If you wish to call us you can on +27, that’s South Africa, mobile number 082 651 4273, I’ll repeat that + 27 082 651 4273. Or you can call on skype emmanuel.van.der. meulen (phonetic spelling follows), please call us anytime with questions about green living or to share any of your own contributions.

Radio Live Green Smart is launched today formally and we will have regular presentations, interviews, adverts, regular shows where anybody is welcome to contribute, [during the phone ins] during the interviews phone ins will be available. And it’s a forum about green living, eco-friendly living and then importantly where anybody experiences first hand where the environment is not [expected] respected we would like your contributions about such disrespect to the environment. We will assist to expose such environmental disrespect in various ways, we would also like people in the areas to join us and to assist us with such environment disrespect. In the time being you can send your details via the contact us and that will send an email to our back office and from there will address all such information that we receive. Top

02:12 How to promote the radio station using #LiveGreenSmart?

The radio station will be promoted using the #LiveGreenSmart as a mouthpiece for green smart living, eco living [friendly], eco friendliness, consciousness towards each other and the planet we inhabit.  Anyone is welcome who is interested and curious about living green and it is our contribution to reduce the carbon footprint of each user, each inhabitant of planet earth, as some people are saying we are currently getting close to using the carbon footprint of one earth and by reducing this we’ll extend the life of the planet and also enable our children and their children to live on this planet in the future. Top

02:56 The birth of Radio Live Green Smart.

The birth of the radio station came about as a result of building a green smart home. It is a home with a difference; it was built as a speculation home where as usually people who [live, buy,] who build green, build it for themselves. So, in other words the owner finds a contractor and then builds a home. In our case it’s different, we built a home ready built and this started for us from the recycling of plastic, metal, cardboard, glass and tin and also composting at home and then eventually building a home for the reason to reduce the cost of water, the cost of electricity which is steadily rising and also becoming independent of the grid as far as possible. Our approach was to build a luxury home with green smart features, which I’ll come to a little bit later what the green smart features are, now the interesting thing is we built the home and our approach was that we would do it as a proof of concept to see if there’s a market for green smart homes that are ready built and we found that it didn’t sell. The idea is possibly too new the main [the main] reason that we feel is that buyers do not believe a green smart home is cost effective or that it has a solid return on investment, that’s another topic I’ll also get to later on, and as a result of this home not selling we decided to spread the word and hence this radio station is launched today, Radio Live Green Smart. Top

05:27 The hype of green living.

The next question I’d like to cover is what is the hype of green living? It’s about preserving our natural resources, via our everyday choices. Another part of what the hype is about is saving the planet. One thing is becoming clear we all have a large stake in preserving the planet of the natural resources. A further part is our health, green living contributes to improving our health, and then furthermore the generous savings and investment in the future. So, living green would start at recycling 1 plastic bottle and slowly over time the momentum will increase and we’ll end up [or we could end up and we would end up] living in a green smart home, driving a green smart car, working in a green smart office and eventually living in a green smart city. This might all be farfetched but there are already signs that there’s traction towards this type of living and thereby improving our lives. And at this stage it’s still very [very] expensive and over time the costs will reduce and it will become more affordable and eventually implemented on a larger scale. Some of the numbers, some statistics for instance reported by [tream] team Tree Hugger in June of 2014: 86 million tons, [that’s 78 000kg] of material was recycled instead of ending up in land fill. Further 113 000 [cans, aluminium cans were recycled and by using the recycled cans 95% of the aluminium is saved] aluminium cans were recycled every minute of each day, 95% of the aluminium was saved. So, all these little bits over time will improve, increase and contribute to us conserving the planet [while] whilst having all the benefits of living green. Top

09:10 How to start living green.

How do we start living green? The latest discussions all revolve around recycle, reuse and reduce. And as I mentioned a little earlier on starting with recycling 1 plastic bottle, a tin, a glass bottle, cardboard and paper to eventually living in a green city, and with time collection and drop off points are springing up in different places making it easier to recycle. And it’s not about getting anything or being paid for it, those options also exist, there is even money in making available collection and drop off points as business opportunities, however in the meantime just by doing it from home recycle, reduce and reuse all contributes towards conserving the planet. Another easy way of doing it is replacing taps and shower heads to low flow. Taps and showerheads – those are small and inexpensive ways to reduce water usage. Another easy way and inexpensive way is LED lighting to slowly replace all [globes throughout the house] downlighters, globes with LED lights and another interesting way of reducing resources is by catching rainwater. Rainwater harvesting is getting traction and there are 2 fairly easy ways, the 1 is just tanks, placing a tank or various tanks underneath gutters and downpipes and then with a small pump. Installing a small pump this water can then be distributed through garden via irrigation or in a more formal and expensive way with automated irrigation. Rainwater tanks can be installed underground. Rain water is harvested via the roof and from that harvested rainwater on a much bigger scale automated irrigation is possible. It’s possible to save water when flushing toilets and also for the laundry, this is an expensive option but it is possible and it is of course required ideally when the house is being designed for all the harvesting and piping and plumbing to be installed during the construction of the house. Top

12:44 Return on Investment of a smart green home.

Earlier I mentioned about the return on investment with a green smart home; so, let’s explore that. What I’ve come to realise over the last number of years, is that the market is not ready for green smart homes ready built and that’s not due to it not being a solid investment, my view is that is not well known where and how it becomes a good investment. So, let’s take this example: a traditional house has certain costs, for instance the initial building costs, the loan costs, the registration costs and the monthly water and electricity costs. Now if we take all of that together on a traditional home and we compare that with a green smart home it also has the initial costs and let’s say the traditional home being compared to a green smart home is the same size, so the initial basic cost would be the same, then added to the initial cost would be the green smart costs. Then the higher loan costs and the higher registration costs of those loans or loan and then it’s important to note that the water and electricity costs would be much [much] lower, and another important point is that if you compare the traditional home with the extra costs of the green and you say let’s go and invest the additional spend on the green home as an investment and take the yield of that investment and how does that compare then to a traditional home? So, if we take these in summary over a ten-year period the traditional home has the initial costs, the running costs and a certain increase in value.

And in the same way the green smart home has the initial costs, the lower running costs, the increase in value over the ten years the loss of not investing the difference in the initial costs, and when all of this is taken into account the green smart home out performs the traditional home by quite a margin in the sense that the green smart home covers all its costs, covers the yield of having invested the money rather than using it to build the green smart features into the home. And in a future presentation I will break down those costs with figures so that it’s easy to understand that taking all those different costs into account and taking the savings into account the green smart home out performs the traditional home. Top

16:40 The benefits of living in a green smart home.

Now just at a very [very] high level what are the benefits of the green smart home compared to the traditional? Well first of all the home temperature is managed throughout the home, throughout the year in a cost-effective way due to the low running costs of the green features being built into the construction from the design. The smart technology used enables the monetary and management of each aspect of the consumption of such a home and as a result of the technology being used to monitor and manage the usage. It is possible to have heating and cooling across all the seasons during the year and throughout the home, and having this benefit fully maximised with no need to hold back whereas on a traditional home due to the costs the much higher costs of heating and cooling in conventional ways, the choice is usually made to keep the managed temperature to a minimum and to use it sparingly. So, in the case of the traditional home it’s used to the minimum the managed temperature, and also sparingly whereas due to the cost effectiveness and the low costs due to monitoring and managing the consumption of electricity to heat and cool the home there’s no need to use it sparingly, there’s no need to hold back and therefore the whole home throughout the year is monitored and the temperature is managed at an optimal level throughout the home.

A further aspect of comparing a green smart home to a traditional home is the green smart home allows less sound into the home and that’s simply because of the various insulations that is built into a green smart home, starting off with the ceiling insulation, the floor insulation the external wall insulation and the double glazing throughout the home and the external glazing so this means that the house has an envelope keeping elements in and keeping elements out, and therefore keeping the sound out as well and this insulation also contributes to the temperature of the home that can be maximized due to using very little energy. Then the green smart home is a healthier home, this is achieved due to the heating and cooling being radiant, in other words it radiates out of the floor, the hydronics which is the feature that’s used, its piping inside the floor is radiated out of the floor and does not use any air flow therefore debris [different debris] that might be blown through the air does not happen. Dust does not collect on heaters, germs that might be in the home [is] are not blown through the air and the temperature is stable throughout the home throughout the year.

So those are just some of the benefits, there are more these are the big ones. Another smaller one which is not really small, but it’s a huge [huge] electricity saver and water saver and that is hot water immediately on tap.  What that means is that a linked looped plumbing system is installed and whenever any hot water tap is opened the water is hot within 2-3 seconds. That is winter and summer. So, the linked loop plus water pipe insulation, the hot water pipe insulation, brings hot water to the taps within 2-3 seconds that means it’s less energy, less water wastage and you have the comfort of not having to wait for hot water to first run through all the pipes to the particular tap. Top

22:48 Wrap Up

So, the summary of all the green smart home features just at a very [very] high level is: harvested rain water is used for flushing toilets, for laundry and garden irrigation. In your green smart home, you would have an indigenous garden. Harvested rainwater reduces the use of water by roughly 60% over the year. Optionally photo voltaic solar panels are installed and combined with the comprehensive insulation results in a momentous saving of 50-95% in current energy utility bills. This is a grid tied system which maximises electrical stability and savings and when the house cannot produce its own electricity, because its grid tied it can then draw from the grid and also where the house generates [exce] electricity in excess of what is uses, that excess can be pushed back into the grid for a credit from the service provider. The comprehensive insulation covers the floor insulation, the roof insulation, double glazing, exterior wall insulation, water pipe insulation and that creates the envelope throughout.  The hydronics radiant heating and cooling provides for managed temperature throughout the home throughout the year. The hot water linked looped system provides hot water at each tap in 2-3 seconds, winter and summer and saves significantly on water. Materials used in the home is low maintenance and highly renewable. Products like bamboo, stainless steel and aluminium. In combination, such a home produces momentous savings on water and electricity and then of course while you are saving you are living in comfort due to the various features, and last but not least is the lower carbon footprint that such a house produces. So, effectively the home provides luxury living, covers all its own expenses, provides a profit and as a result also reduces the carbon footprint of the inhabitants of the house. Well that concludes this presentation, be sure to listen in on future presentations by Radio Live Green Smart- and over to some music.


End of Transcript Top

What is a green smart home?

What is a green smart home?

You may have heard of green homes. Eco-friendly houses that are built using green principles to conserve resources and reduce running costs are slowly gaining traction in South Africa and around the world. As the green trend develops, smart technologies are being incorporated into green homes to enhance their efficiency. The two work well together to enable monitoring and efficiently managing power and water resources. What does this mean for homeowners?

Increased energy-efficiency

Green homes are desirable because they use resources efficiently. This is particularly important when it comes to power consumption. An ordinary home relies on the municipal electricity supply. As the price of electricity continues to rise, homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their consumption and to save money. And become less dependent of the resource providers. Investing in a green smart home maximises the conservation of precious energy and saves money in the process.

The smart technology continuously collects consumption data. The information is available on an app, on a laptop, desktop, and smart devices for any period. Up to the minute, hour, day, over weeks, months and years the information is available and enables extensive monitoring of the resources to track and immediately identify patterns. This information is invaluable to efficiently manage resource usage. Thereby providing facts to make important decisions about how the home is run.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this. As the weather cools down at the start of winter, we’d want to increase the temperature inside the home. The Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system takes 24-48 hours to reach the newly required temperature. Almost immediately after adjusting to the newly required temperature, by monitoring the electricity usage it is possible to see how much more electricity it would use. By adjusting the temperature by a half to one degree or so while maintaining the comfort level within the home, it is possible to save on electricity costs. Without such a system, we’d need to wait for the next bill to see the cost of raising the temperature.

Bear in mind that green homes also make use of superior insulation to protect the home from temperature fluctuations. The comprehensive insulation prevents the loss of warm air in winter, and cool air during summer. This increases the efficiency of the Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system. Thus, the heat pump does not use excessive electricity to retain the home’s temperature as the seasonal outside temperature cools down or rises.

Being able to monitor and adjust the temperature of the home might be considered a luxury. Ultimately though, it’s the ideal way to maintain the comfort level without resorting to drastically increase energy consumption. The smart technology provides the easy monitoring and efficient managing and to fine tune every element of the home. Thus, comfort and luxury at momentous saving of monthly running cost.

Heat pumps generates hot and cold water. Heated water is used by the Hydronics and in the bathrooms and kitchen; cold water is used by the Hydronics. Heating and cooling of water accounts for a large portion of the total electricity bill. Having the ability to manage the temperature by half or a single degree presents yet another good opportunity for reducing the monthly running costs. Once again, the real advantage of the smart technology lies in its ability to collect data. Over time trends and patterns are visible. This allows for planning future needs, budgets and expenses.

The water temperature and temperatures throughout the home is adjusted from a laptop or smart device app which means there is no need to climb up into the ceiling, as with traditional houses, to manually adjust the geyser’s thermostat. These are some of the reasons why smart technology is used. It offers an added level of convenience for running a green home efficiently.

Making every drop count

It is essential to use water efficiently. Therefore, many green homes usually include a rainwater harvesting system. Untreated rainwater is used for garden irrigation, flushing the toilets and for the washing machine. There are two significant benefits to using rainwater for these purposes. Firstly, it helps to conserve one of our most precious resources by making efficient use of water which would otherwise be lost. Secondly, it presents homeowners with the opportunity to reduce the effects of water restrictions and price hikes.

Rainwater is free and green Homes shoul have rainwater tanks to capture and store rainwater. The rainwater harvesting system should be connected to the municipal supply, so the home always has access to water. Without the necessary sensors, it is cumbersome to monitor the water levels in an underground tank.

A rainwater level sensor needs to be installed in the tank that connects to the smart technology system. This enables the monitoring of the level and usage of the harvested rainwater in the tank simply by logging in and checking the data. This information is stored and enables seeing how the levels fluctuate over a period of days, weeks, months, and years. This information is used to adjust and manage rainwater usage. This is up to the minute data and is an accurate picture of how much rainwater is used. Calculating how much water is required for a water-wise indigenous garden then enables adjusting the irrigation exactly according its water requirements. Usually saving multiple times the water used for the garden when based on guesswork.

Efficiently managing resource usage

Until we have experience of green homes and smart home technologies, it’s difficult to understand how practical and convenient it is, how empowering it is, how efficiently resources are managed to maximise saving of monthly running costs. The aim of using smart-home technology features helps to increase the effectiveness of the green features. Smart technology with the green home features is based on an easily extendable smart technology infrastructure which in turn enables home automation capabilities, in addition to the green smart home monitoring and management.

For example, it is possible to use the smart technology for added security. It’s simply a matter of adding the relevant interior and exterior movement sensors and connecting them to the system. When the sensors are triggered, in addition to setting off an alarm that alerts us to an intruder, the following alerts are also possible.

Triggering the lights to come on, the blinds to open, and loud music to start playing: Thus, alerting anyone in the home and the neighbours, to a potential break in and has the potential to severely startle and repel the intruder.

Yet another way in which smart technology adds value to our homes. When we sell on our green smart home, this is a feature that is sure to appeal to future buyers.

Added convenience with an app

Smartphones, smart devices and personal computers have dramatically altered the way we stay in touch and access information. It’s therefore not surprising that smart home technology includes an app. This allows us to access the system from anywhere in the world through our smartphone, tablet or laptop. That means we could be away on holiday, or on the other side of the world, and still be able to monitor and manage our home.

We are able to adjust the various green features from the app. For example, adjust the temperature of a room simply by logging in and tapping away on our smartphone. The system is easy to use, and user friendly and doesn’t require any additional software. It’s simply a matter of downloading the app and logging into our account.

We have access to all the information that is being collected by the system from the beginning. Smart home technology isn’t complicated or time-consuming. In fact, every effort has been made to ensure it makes running our home simpler and convenient. When we’re familiar with social media, or the Internet we’ll have no trouble using the app to monitor and manage our home remotely from our laptop, smart phone and smart device.

Enhancing our green home

Ordinarily, smart home technology and automation may be seen as a luxury. We might think that it’s not necessary to adjust the temperature of the Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system when we’re not physically at home

The true intention of the smart system is to increase the efficiency of the green features. The real power of the smart system lies in its ability to collect data on the way we use electricity and water in our home. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of green living, it’s easy to imagine that it’s all about saving money. In fact, there are real environmental benefits to conserving these resources.

Monetary benefits

Those who embrace these new green smart home technologies to monitor and manage their homes are able to enjoy the benefits of authentic green living. Although investing in a green smart home requires a larger investment initially, it is possible to recoup this through the momentous monthly savings. The green features and the smart home technology also adds value to our properties. Not only do we start saving money immediately, we’re able to command a higher price should we sell on our home. Future buyers will be on the lookout for green smart homes as the trend develops.

From the aforementioned it is fair to conclude that a smart green home offers more than the ability to save on monthly running costs. It gives us the opportunity to understand exactly how we use resources such as water and electricity to maintain our standard of living and lifestyle. We monitor and efficiently manage our home which allows us to adapt it to suit our needs.

Being able to create a comfortable, efficient home is a true luxury. While green homes offer us the ability to save money and resources, smart home technology takes it one step further. We maximise the efficiency of the green features included in the design and construction of our home. In the future, this will be the standard by which all homes are measured. Why merely invest in a green home? Rather invest in a green smart home!