Kyasol Rainwater Harvesting Transcript

Kyasol Rainwater Harvesting Transcript

Kyasol Green Building Solutions

Title: Transcript of Interview with Jonathan Heck, Kyasol Green Building Solutions
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Guest Speaker: Jonathan Heck
Date: 6th June 2017
Number of Speakers: 2
File Duration: 31:42
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk

Links are at the end of the transcript.

Transcript Break Down:
00:04 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.
00:56 What is rainwater harvesting?
02:25 Introduction to Kyasol Green Building Solutions
04:10 What is rainwater harvesting used for?
05:02 Is rainwater harvested as is safe for human consumption or does it need to be filtered?
07:17 How do you start harvesting rainwater?
09:22 What are the advantages/disadvantages of underground and above ground tanks?
11:25 Can you retrofit underground tanks?
13:14 Underground tanks require pumping, but require electricity, how does that play out?
16:36 What filters have you been referring to and what are they used for?
18:20 Can you give us some examples of where rainwater harvesting was implemented by yourself and by your company?
19:30 Do we harvest rainwater for other uses besides domestic?
20:13 What if the tanks are empty?
25:10 Can I switch from rainwater to municipal water manually for my tanks?
27:06 Summary of above vs underground tanks.
29:35 Ways to monitor the tank levels?
31:09 Wrap Up

00:04 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.

Emmanuel: Welcome to Radio Live Green Smart and our discussion on rainwater harvesting. I’m Emmanuel your host. Radio Live Green Smart is a forum to discuss green living, eco-conscious living; that’s the main crux. And then importantly to discuss where you see disrespect for the environment first hand bring, that disrespect to us and we will assist to find a way of addressing the disrespect. Use the contact us to report disrespect and please be clear with the information that you provide. Top

00:56 What is rainwater harvesting?

Tonight, we will be talking about rainwater harvesting which is the accumulation of rainwater for reuse at the residence rather than letting the rainwater runoff. Rainwater is collected from the roof and redirected via gravity to an underground reservoir or via downpipes from the roof directly from the gutters to a reservoir. Rainwater is used for various uses, in particular garden irrigation, flushing of toilets and for the washing machine. With further filtration of rainwater, it is safe to drink. Rainwater harvesting is one of the simplest and oldest methods of self-supply of water for households. Tonight, we have Jonathan Heck of Kyasol Building Solutions who will cover the topic in-depth from his point of view. Welcome Jonathan. Top

Jonathan: Hi Emmanuel, thanks for having me.

Emmanuel: [uh,uh] You’re welcome Jonathan and would you please introduce yourself and your company, Kyasol Green Building Solutions?

02:25 Introduction to Kyasol Green Building Solutions

Jonathan: Ok Emmanuel, Kyasol is basically, as you mentioned a green building solutions provider, we can touch a bit later on what divisions we take care of. At Kyasol I am the technical director and also a founding partner and my main responsibility is the water sector, mainly the rainwater harvesting, storm water management and waste water treatment.

Emmanuel: Ok, interesting and how did it start? How did Kyasol start and your passion for this [um] topic start?

Jonathan: Actually it’s quite interesting, my background is electrical engineering so [um], the other founding partner at Kyasol, I used to work for him and we worked on an automation level, building automation, industrial automation with a main aim of saving energy. And with one of our visits to Germany we came across this interesting rainwater concept with underground tanks and with South Africa not really leading the industry we need to look to our neighbours, like Australia, Germany and Europe for innovative solutions and we came across this concept [um] with a few discussions back and forward we then started importing the products and in 2010 we became the partner locally for that. So, the rainwater section started off by coming across something at an expo just by accident not really, South Africa didn’t have a need for it but soon developed a need for it when we started just maybe a year or two afterwards. Top

04:10 What is rainwater harvesting used for?

Emmanuel: Thank you Jonathan, the next interesting topic for me is what is rainwater harvesting and what is the water used for from your vantage point what is it being used for?

Jonathan: Well as you say, rainwater collected off roofs and surfaces, ideally roofs cause there’s less contaminants there and then that rainwater can be used as is without further disinfection or treatment in areas such as irrigation, cleaning of cars, washing and cleaning indoors and outdoors flushing toilets, even laundry, everything basically, except hygienic and consumption like cooking and drinking but you can also filter it to a further extent and replace that. Top

05:02 Is rainwater harvested as is safe for human consumption or does it need to be filtered?

Emmanuel: Does that mean that rainwater, as it is harvested it’s not safe for [consump] for human consumption, but with filtration it is?

Jonathan: Yeah, for sure, look on the roof there could be contaminants like bird droppings or dead animals or maybe carbon from car exhausts that came down with the rain, even metal and paint contaminants. So all of those small contaminants, which is not something that can make the water fall over but [it,it] it’s maybe not something that is hygienically healthy if you wash for instance your eyes or your face or use it in your cooking or your consumption so yeah you could install filters, sediment filters and disinfectants methods like UV or ozone to get that water to that extent, it’s definitely possible it’s just a question of whether it’s feasible to do it.

Emmanuel: Ok, when you say feasible, in other words is it cost effective to go to that extra extent when there’s enough other uses for the rainwater?

Jonathan: Yeah, look with filters there’s obviously maintenance involved so [um] there’s frequent replacing of filters that’s required depending on the contamination of filters. There’s also a power consumption factor to it [uh] ozone and UV both use power to disinfect the water, although very small. You need to consider the fact that you are getting rainwater for free, [um] now you need to spend maintenance and electricity on it.

Emmanuel: Ok

Jonathan: So, I would say of you not in an area that’s not water scarce then maybe use it on order to save on drinking water supply, but if you in an area where there’s very little resources then obviously cost of treatment and maintenance is not a question, you go to the full extent.

Emmanuel: Ok, so I get what you saying it’s horses for courses?

Jonathan: Yes, for sure. Top

07:17 How do you start harvesting rainwater?

Emmanuel: Thank you. Ok so now the question or the angle that I am coming to now is how do we start, how do we decide how and where to harvest how does one figure out that you want to start and any information you want to give listeners about that topic?

Jonathan: Yes, obviously the main thing is identifying whether it’s possible or feasible. Mainly the roof area, if you have a large roof area the more you can collect. [um] obviously location is also important, if it is desert area, every drop counts so you can still do it but um but if you start looking at a feasibility point of view then maybe good rainfall areas, big roof spaces are ideal. As a first prize, you would want to collect off the roof, less contaminants on the roof, you could also collect water from the surfaces. The surfaces also have exposure to oil fumes, chemicals, [um] excessive silt from gardens and that type of thing so it requires more filters to put in place in order for your storage tank not to build up over time and require more maintenance.

Emmanuel: So, does that mean water is collected from the downpipes if it’s from the roof?

Jonathan: Yes, yeah so it’s obviously important that your roof has a downpipe and a gutter structure, if you have something like a thatch roof its obviously more difficult to do that so via your gutters down the pipe into either an above ground storage tank or underground storage tanks. Top

09:22 What are the advantages/disadvantages of underground and above ground tanks?

Emmanuel: Yeah, that’s very interesting, now can you tell us about, now that you’ve mentioned above and underground what are the advantages or disadvantages of either the above or underground tanks?

Jonathan: Ok, I’ll start with the above ground tanks first [um] the above ground tanks are quite simple to put in place so you can imagine standing next to the building and a down pipe coming down the wall, you can basically put your tank under the down pipe just with a screen filter at the top of the tank so very [straightforwardly] and [inexpensibly] you could collect that water. The downside to above ground tanks is it’s not always possible to put it where your big collection points are. So, in the front of house you don’t want this tank due to aesthetics and maybe space reasons and that type of thing, so it becomes difficult to collect the maximum amount of roof area with above ground tanks and you need to be close to the downpipe as it works with gravity. S,o you can just imagine having 6/7 tanks around the house at each downpipe, it can become quite a problem and quite ugly as well. If we look at the underground section, the underground tank obviously cost a little bit more to put in place as you need to excavate to put the tank underground so the main advantage here is that you can bring your downpipes to the underground network and then gravity helps it flow to the lowest point of your property and you can collect the whole roof in 1 reservoir you have 1 filter point and 1 pumping point whereas if you have multiple above ground tanks you have multiple filter points and multiple pumping points so you can see there’s pros and cons on each concept. Top

11:25 Can you retrofit underground tanks?

Emmanuel: Yeah, now so [so] would you be able to retrofit underground tanks, the property is already built and I now want to harvest rainwater would that be a consideration at all or is it just not cost effective to do it after the event, and I am thinking about the downpipes, the collection and then the placing of the tanks etc. is that something people would be interested in?

Jonathan: Yeah, I would say a general thumb suck…

Jonathan is lost for a few seconds due to technical error.

Jonathan: I will just repeat that, I would say about 30% of existing houses has the possibility to do underground tanks the other 70% is more difficult due to paving around the house, well established gardens and features that need to be lifted and then it’s not feasible at all or maybe even practical.

Emmanuel: Ok, so from that I gather that the majority of rainwater harvesting with underground is done from the design of the house from [from] the architect, from that point. Is that usually the case?

Jonathan: Yeah, definitely more cost effective when you look at the holistic project so that when you design it in and the building takes place this type of thing is allowed for. Obviously as you know everything that’s retrofit comes with a price tag because you need to make it work. Top

13:14 Underground tanks require pumping, but require electricity, how does that play out?

Emmanuel: I understand. Jonathan then going to the next topic [um] if I formulate the question like this: when do we install underground and when above ground taking into account that the underground tanks require pumping the water, the above ground tanks don’t necessarily require pumping and now we have free water but we require electricity to pump what is your comment and so on. How does that play out?

Jonathan: Ok I’m just going to touch on the design and then I’ll go to the pumping topic.

Emmanuel: Thank You.

Jonathan: On the design, obviously if you build a new house and you could get your roofs to fall to central positions, strategic positions then above ground makes more sense. You can hide it through screen walls but then you have to plan it like that. Generally speaking, people don’t plan it like that, it’s more about the aesthetics of the roof then practicality of the roof which is a mindset thing I believe. If your roof is not ideally orientated to take most of your water to 1 point then you would need to go underground to get that structure around the house to a central point. [um] considering the fact that you need to pump water to the tanks, if you above ground you have gravity on an above ground level you can fill a bucket or you can maybe drip irrigate or do a simple run off but if you going to plumb into an irrigation system or into a plumbing system like a toilet or washing machine, you need pressure. So, whether you above ground or underground with the storage you need to pump in order to have that pressure on your irrigation system so I wouldn’t say that is a deal breaker, the pumping side of it seeing that you have free water that came off the roof you could spend a bit of money on pumping the water to the points that you need it.

Emmanuel: Understood, yeah, I understand. So, I gather now that to have above ground and to have all your drainage to a single point means you will have to design your house like that whereas with underground the design can follow the original plan and then all you need to cater for is how you get from the different places around the property to get the water to the underground tank. Did I understand you?

Jonathan: Yes you 100% correct, the building stages you obviously put in a water supply around the house, you obviously put a sewage system around the house so whilst these trenches are open you just put the additional piping in to bring the rain water to a central point so yeah it is carefully planned but practically possible. Top

16:36 What filters have you been referring to and what are they used for?

Emmanuel: Understood. Earlier on you mentioned filters, [uh] what filters are you referring to and what are the filters used for?

Jonathan: Well as a first step seeing water come off the roof you need to screen filter so we just call this our screen filter or our sediment filter. This is generally a stainless-steel screen either in the underground tank or on the man hole inlet of the above ground tank and this is just to prevent leaves or dead animals or solid particles to settle in the tank. If these particles enter your tank, it’s not a problem as such but it could start water falling over quicker through some rotten material or excessive build up as it needs frequent cleaning so we do a filter before we go to the tank to prevent sediments from settling into the tank. From that stage, you need to decide what you want to do with the water. If you want it to just go to the irrigation then no other filters are required depending on your irrigation points if you have small drippers or pop up sprinklers then you’ll obviously have to put something in place there but if you going to go back into the building for toilets we recommend a fine micron filter and this filter makes sure that all the dissolved dust or carbon in the water that’s not visually seen is encaptured so as not to affect the plumbing internally which is more difficult to maintain. Top

18:20 Can you give us some examples of where rainwater harvesting was implemented by yourself and by your company?

Emmanuel: I understand, Jonathan if we take it a step further where all, can you give us some examples of where rainwater harvesting was implemented by yourself and by your company?

Jonathan: Well typically residential buildings either retrofit on existing residential buildings and then a lot of the new buildings of the state that’s going up in and around Gauteng and South Africa, regions like Cape Town, Durban, Joberg and Pretoria. We have also done commercial buildings, office space, office developments where we use the water for urinals and toilet flushing. We’ve done service stations around the country also for urinals, toilet flushing and irrigation and in warehousing or logistics where there’s big roofs but not much internal consumption but then there’s washing of vehicles and this type of thing where we use rainwater to supplement. [um] I did the municipal water, all the recovered water for those washing bays. Top

19:30 Do we harvest rainwater for other uses besides domestic?

Emmanuel: So that means that we don’t only harvest rainwater for domestic purposes or for residential but offices, industrial, everywhere?

Jonathan: Yes, that’s correct, if you look at it, let’s use an office for an example. If you look at it there’s no washing and showering that happens at the office so where’s the water going to? It’s either coffee machines or handwashing or toilet flushing so a lot of the water used in an office environment is actually flushed down the drain and this is drinking water that we flush down the drain so replacing this with rainwater makes perfect sense. Top

20:13 What if the tanks are empty?

Emmanuel: I am beginning to see the bigger picture [um] that it’s not just for residents and so on. Now in terms of water when the rain out of the rainy season obviously the tanks will not last until the next rainy season, now what happens then if I’ve plumbed irrigation and the toilets into the rainwater tank but now the tank is empty?

Jonathan: Ok, yeah no, interesting question. If you in an area with good rainfall you could design a system to carry you through the dry season and there’s factors like is there frequent rain? Do you have enough roof space and is it feasible to do? I mean to design a storage that could last you 2/4 months in terms of the initial capital outlay and what you are benefiting and if that tank would ever be full is the question. So, we don’t go through the winter season, we try to harvest as much as we can in the rainy season and supplement using less from the grid so that also the infrastructure, the local dams and local facilities also have enough capacity for the dry periods. [um] in the situation that your tank is empty you have two options there. Either municipal switch over, so this is a direct switch over so if the tank is empty you allow municipal pressure to directly flow to the building, that is your first option. Your other option is to top your tank up with municipal water, so let’s say for instance you keep your tank at a 30% level so it means the whole dry season you’ll always have 30% in your tank topped up by a municipal supply if there’s no rainwater.

Emmanuel: So, what then happens if I understand you, is the water it keeps on filling let’s say as you mentioned to 30% of the tanks capacity and it then keeps on servicing the irrigation, the toilets etc from the tank as 1 option or alternatively when the tank doesn’t have water it will just bypass the tank and pump straight into the house or where its used for the irrigation?

Jonathan: Yes, that’s correct, but I just want to touch on something [uh] some positives and negatives around that. Let’s take the first one as an example. Let’s say [we] the tank is empty and we switch over to municipal supply on demand which means you stop pumping rainwater and the municipal supply goes directly to the building. Now the advantage there is that you don’t require a pump to pump water as municipal water already arrives at pressure so there’s no need to pump to get the pressure so you can basically switch directly over. The negative with this is, if there’s a water outage, let’s say there’s maintenance on a pipe somewhere then you without water so this brings me to the second possibility, instead of switching direct on demand to municipal when the tank is empty, you use the municipal to top up the tank to that 30% level in this example. The negative aspect is that you will always pump to your toilets and irrigation there’s never a straight municipal feed, there’s always a pumping feed so there’s always power consumption on the pump. The advantage though is that you always have reserve supply so if there’s a burst pipe or whatever the case may be you always have reserve in your tank to continue operating.

Emmanuel: Yes, for instance we’ve just been notified that we will be without water over a 2-day period, so if we were using, [um] the keeping water in the tank [uh] we won’t be without water for that period otherwise we would be that’s how the pros and cons would be as how you refer to it?

Jonathan: Yes, effectively you creating a rainwater harvesting system and a water back up system in 1. Top

25:10 Can I switch from rainwater to municipal water manually for my tanks?

Emmanuel: I understand, oh, that’s very interesting. Jonathan assuming now the rainwater has run out and now I need municipal water is this something that I have to walk out and manually switch, when I realise there’s no water over from [um] the one medium to the other medium? Is it manual or how does that work?

Jonathan: Yeah, well there’s a couple of options [um] obviously if you go old school and put a tank under a downpipe when its empty its empty, that’s a very feasible or cheap way of harvesting water. But as soon as you start looking at it in a professional manner and you start plumbing up toilets and laundry and irrigation, a lot of things around the house you need a more professional solution so obviously as soon as the tank is empty you need water to run to the toilets, you can’t in the middle of the night at 11 o clock go outside and switch over to municipal manually in order to fill the toilet so [um] again different strokes for different folks, if this is what you want to do then for sure but we do have an option of an automatic switch over device so basically what happens is if the tank is empty the pump switches off and there’s no constant pressure from the pump. In case of a power outage when there’s no power to pump it will switch over to municipal supply so even during power outages, pump failures or empty tanks you will have the backup supply of the municipal and that automatically happens that’s an automatic switch over. Top

27:06 Summary of above vs underground tanks.

Emmanuel: Yeah, that makes it very convenient. [um] Jonathan so is there anything else that you would like to tell us about the that we haven’t covered now anything else anything further that you would like to tell us about rainwater harvesting?

Jonathan: Yeah, the one thing that crosses my mind now thinking about it just back to the above ground and underground we know that obviously the above ground is a little bit cheaper to implement. Underground is more practical in terms of collecting from the roof. Advantages for the underground tank is obviously aesthetics you save space in the garden, also your water when stored underground you can keep it for longer periods because there’s no sunlight, no temperature or not high temperature and therefore very little growth or very slow growth so that’s one advantage I want to add above vs underground. And then something else that I just want to touch on as well is, we talked about making the system professional and have an automatic switch over, we also have automatic filters where the filters backwash themselves so there’s no need for you to go and clean the filters yourself. It’s on a schedule and rinses once a week or once every 2 weeks depending on how bad your contamination is and that’s a self-cleaning automatic solution.

Emmanuel: Yeah, it certainly sounds as if rainwater harvesting has caught up with all the conveniences that we need.

Jonathan: Yeah, no definitely these days it’s the norm you need to create time for family and create time for work and if you live on a farm and you have time to clean the filters and switch over water supplies then for sure but if you live in the cities and there are high demands you don’t have time for these things.

Emmanuel: Yeah, so it becomes part of the household and it just flows either from municipal or from the tank itself.

Jonathan: Yeah, that’s the intention, yes. Top

29:35 Ways to monitor the tank levels?

Emmanuel: Very interesting. Jonathan if that is the end of it then thank you very [very] much, unless you have some last-minute thoughts?

Jonathan: On that last topic on making it convenient, there’s also other tools that you can implement on this tank or this concept and it’s something like level monitoring in the tank. A lot of times the tank is outside or underground or not seen every day so you would want to know what the level is so there are simple devices that could give you like a gauge or display that shows you the level, but there’s also automation components. Just if I can touch quickly on the automation stuff so you monitor the level of the tank and then you can create graphs where you can see how frequently does it rain? How much did the tank increase in terms of percentage of approximate litre value? You can also then see from your graphs if your filters are actually clean or is your pump actually pumping and you can also set schedules or priorities so if your tank increased by x % you could run the toilets or the irrigation I mean, in drier seasons you could reduce the irrigation cycles and it just gives you a little more flexibility and control through that, through a tool like that. Top

31:09 Wrap Up

Emmauel: Definitely and that makes it even more convenient. [um] thank you Jonathan. So that concludes our discussion with Jonathan Heck of Kyasol Green Building Solutions. Please note that where we interview or run adverts, the content is not necessarily endorsed by Radio Live Green Smart. I am Emmanuel your host and over to the music. Top


End of Transcript Top


Green Smart Home is Profitable, Really

Green Smart Home is Profitable, Really

In a green smart home, photo-voltaic solar panels may be used. When using photovoltaic solar panels, and a grid-tied system with back-up batteries, the electrical running costs are reduced by up to 95%.

And when generating more electricity than we need, we may be paid by the national supplier for feeding that excess back into the grid.

Additionally, when the green home is resold, the initial outlay for green features is fully recouped.

Other ways in which money is saved and profits are increased in a green home are by:

  • Using energy-efficient lighting, heating and air-conditioning systems.
  • Conserving and managing the use of water, using smart technology.
  • Using natural light and air by rethinking the placement of doors, windows, and other openings.
  • Using building materials that provide efficient insulation.
  • Using sensors to control lighting and air-conditioning.


The Ultimate #LiveGreenSmart Step Is Living in a Green Smart Home

The Ultimate #LiveGreenSmart Step Is Living in a Green Smart Home

Being green conscious, we may recycle, reuse, reduce and repurpose.

The next and ultimate step is to live in a green smart home.

A green smart home blends green features with smart home technology.  Smart technology is used to manage and further improve on the efficiency and costs of running a green home.  Energy-and-water-efficiency – and comfort are maximised.

From monitoring the water level in the rainwater harvesting tank to adjusting one of the zone temperatures within the hydronics radiant heating and cooling system, smart technology makes living green, easier.

Schedules are set up to run the green features automatically.  We balance comfort and efficiency while doing our part for Mother Earth.  And homeowners who move from traditional homes to green homes are aware that they’ll save on monthly running costs.

Green Smart Homes & Offices &  Cities & Cars originate from Recycling 1 plastic bottle

Green Smart Homes & Offices & Cities & Cars originate from Recycling 1 plastic bottle

“A circular economy is one that builds economic, natural and social capital” (

Plastic bottles are valuable and aren’t actually waste.  In modern times, packaging is necessary to get the product to the consumer, but once it has served its purpose, packaging is considered dirty and unwanted.

As an example of how recycled plastic is used, Isotherm is an insulating material that’s made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.

Traditional homes usually have ceiling insulation that’s made from fibre glass or asbestos, which isn’t environmentally friendly at all. Isotherm is an eco-friendly and effective alternative.

Isotherm is dust and water resistant, non-toxic, without associated health risks, non-flammable and lasts longer than most other insulating materials.

The humble plastic bottle is humble no more.

Is it then farfetched to Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and ending up living in a green smart home, driving a green smart car, working in a green smart office, and living in a green smart city?

Eco-living In Comfort, Really

Eco-living In Comfort, Really

In a green smart home, one is able to monitor and control every aspect.

At a glance, we see what our electricity usage is and take steps to reduce usage without sacrificing convenience or comfort.

Hot water is always on tap.

With water tanks being used to collect and store rainwater, the water level is checked at a glance, using the smart monitoring system.

The green smart home works with the environment.  A full weather report including the temperature and humidity levels is always available on the app.

And with hydronics radiant heating and cooling, and with comprehensive insulation being in place, one walks barefoot and in a t-shirt in winter.

Green Smart Homes

Green Smart Homes

Many are realising that green living has great financial benefits.  And smart home automation systems also help with saving on monthly costs, as well as adding to comfort and convenience.

As an example, smart lighting systems are used.

A sensor in every room automatically switches lights on and off when movement is detected.  This is a luxurious way to live.  At night, when everyone else in the house is sleeping, there is no need to look for light switches in the dark when going into the kitchen or bathroom.

Lighting is one of the easiest areas in which to save energy.

As another example, heat pumps heat water using less electricity than a geyser.  The energy consumption of the heat pump is monitored by the smart home automation system – and it is possible to adjust the water temperature via a smartphone app or computer, adding convenience to one’s lifestyle.

Combining green features and smart technology in eco-friendly homes

Combining green features and smart technology in eco-friendly homes

More South Africans are starting to express an interest in living in eco-friendly homes. Once considered to be the preserve of the eco-conscious, more people are realising that green living has serious financial benefits. The same could be said about smart home automation systems. Although they’re not common in this country, as the technology develops, they are becoming more popular and have a number of benefits when used in green homes. In this article we’ll look at some of the ways smart home technology is used in eco-friendly houses.

Smart home automation for temperature control

The first thing to know about green homes is that they are properly insulated. Unlike traditional homes, green home developers understand that complete insulation makes it easier to manage the temperature inside the home. As the seasons change, homes that are well-insulated are easily adjusted to the temperature fluctuations. Insulation inside the walls, the floor and the ceiling, combined with double-glazing, in the winter keeps warm air from escaping and cold air from entering, and in summer, prevents cold air from escaping and hot air from entering.

In addition to insulation, many green homes use a Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system. This consists of a network of pipes connected to the hot water tank and the heat pump. Warm or cold water is pumped through the pipes to change the temperature in different rooms. It’s an energy-efficient system that provides consistent results. And has the ability to have different temperatures set for different rooms. That means concentrating on rooms which are occupied without using energy on rooms that aren’t occupied.

The pipes used in the Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system are covered by a thick screed which acts as a conductor of the required temperature from the network of water pipes. The entire construction of the system is designed to be energy efficient. And this is only one area where smart home automation increases the energy-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the system.

Smart home automation systems make use of  apps that are accessible via a smartphone or computer: To monitor, manage and adjust the temperature settings for each area in the home. This smart home automation system certainly is convenient to adjust the temperature, though it’s not the main thing about the smart technology.

The real advantage of the smart home system lies in the amount of information it gathers regarding the heating and cooling energy consumption. At a glance it’s possible to know how much energy the system is using to maintain the required temperatures, and enables taking immediate steps to reduce the electricity consumption by adjusting the temperature by a degree this way or that way, without sacrificing comfort. Over time, patterns and trends are available to budget accordingly. Or, adding new technologies to further reduce power consumption and measuring their effectiveness.

The system enables supporting a number of handy home automation systems, and is used most effectively to maximise energy-efficiency in the areas that use the most power. Installing smart technology infrastructure enables the monitoring and managing of the home’s power consumption, and even to improve the energy-efficiency.

Smart home automation for smart lighting solutions

A sensor in each room detects movement and automatically switches the lights on and off. While committed to greener living, this type of automation does make life more luxurious. When waking during the night no need to fumble for the light switch while on the way to the kitchen or bathroom. Who wouldn’t want to move about their home with lights turning on and off like magic?

Once again, the benefits of the system go far beyond making life more comfortable and convenient. Though lighting is one area that uses energy, it’s one of the modern conveniences that’s impossible to live without. And it’s one of the easiest places to save energy.

With a smart home automation system, no need to remember switching lights off when leaving the room. The sensor responds to motion, and does it automatically. Even saving a small amount of energy by switching off the lights in unoccupied rooms saves money. And as the cost of electricity increases, so will the savings.

Once again, the power consumption is visible with the smart home app. At any time, over days, weeks and months. This helps to budget for monthly running costs and enables bringing costs down. Green living is a balance between comfort, luxury, saving on running costs, lowering our carbon footprint, saving on resources, the environment and the planet.

Smart home automation to monitor your heat pump

Heating the water for daily needs takes a significant amount of energy. Once again, eco-friendly homes use energy-efficient heat pumps or solar water heaters to reduce the costs of heating water. Also available are linked-loop systems, so hot water is available within seconds of turning on a tap. It’s one of the ways green living is more luxurious than living in a traditional home. No need to wait for the water to heat up before stepping into the shower, or when washing hands in winter.

And that luxury all comes at a reduced cost. Heat pumps take the heat out of the air and use it to heat water using less electricity than a conventional geyser. In a green home the pipes are insulated which helps to maintain the temperature of the hot water [and cold water] and saves more electricity. As with any green home, every element has been designed to maximise energy-efficiency.

The power consumption of the heat pump is included in the data gathered by the smart home automation system. Not only does this make it easier for homeowners to get a clear picture of their energy usage, it is possible to adjust the temperature of the water via the smartphone app or computer.

Turning down the temperature for the hot water tank, even by a few degrees, makes a big difference to the monthly electricity bill. It’s never been convenient to climb into your roof simply for the sake of turning down the thermostat. In a green smart home, everything is straightforward and easy to access, simply make the adjustment on the smartphone or computer.

And because it’s possible to monitor the effects of temperature changes, tweaking the temperature to find balance and efficiency is easy. Living greener does not require giving up a comfortable lifestyle. In fact, it makes running a home easier, more cost-effective and even fun. Hot water is one of moderns life’s necessities, and now it’s possible to contain energy and costs. By combining green technology with smart home automation, it easy to maximise the heat pump’s energy-efficiency.

Smart home automation to monitor rainwater tank levels

Electricity isn’t the only precious resource used in our homes. Water is essential for daily cooking, cleaning and bathing. Given our current drought situation, saving every drop is a habit we’ll all benefit from. That’s why many green homes include rainwater harvesting tanks. Collecting rainwater which is used for garden irrigation, flushing the toilets and for the washing machine is the ideal way to reduce the strain on the municipal water supply, oh, and our pockets.

In urban areas, most of the rainwater is lost. That’s why it makes sense to collect and store rainwater wherever possible. Rainwater tanks can be installed underground. This saves space and extends the lifespan of the tank as it’s not exposed to the elements. It also means that the system requires little maintenance. Yet more proof that green living is convenient.

The rainwater tank is connected to the municipal supply, so should the level in the tank be used to the lower threshold, the system automatically switches over to the municipal water. With new rains it automatically switches back to rainwater usage. One of the benefits of harvesting rainwater is that it reduces the monthly water bill. Monitoring the rainwater tank levels is useful. That’s why a sensor is installed in the rainwater tank, feeding information to the smart technology system. Once again, the level and water usage is accessible via the smartphone app and the computer.

This information is captured continuously to observe the levels over the course of days, weeks, months and years. This is where the real advantage of combining a green feature with smart home technology really shows itself. This data makes it easy to identify patterns and trends. Although it’s difficult to predict rainfall, the data provides a clear picture of how much rainwater is used in and around the home over a period of time.

With this information it’s easy to budget accordingly, or take steps to reduce water usage. The more aware we are of how much water we use, the easier it becomes to find ways to reduce our consumption. And the added benefit of living in eco-friendly homes is that savings are made without giving up the things that make modern living convenient.

Green homes are built to use resources such as power and water efficiently. All the green features that make these eco-friendly homes efficient are monitored and managed by using smart home technology. It’s not only because smart home systems make it easier to adjust settings of the Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system, or automating the lights to respond to motion. It’s because of the information you have available about the home without any extra effort, which in turn enables monitoring and managing such a home efficiently. 

Information is power and when serious about living green, it makes sense to investigate adding smart home automation to a green home. It allows you to maximise the energy-efficiency of the home and gather valuable information that helps refine every element of their green designs. It’s clear that green smart homes are setting the standard for future home developments.

Which features should we look for in a green smart home?

Which features should we look for in a green smart home?

A green smart home is one that combines both eco-friendly features and technologies with smart home technologies. The concept is still new to the South African market, and offers various benefits for savvy homebuyers. Not only is a green smart home energy efficient and cost-effective, the addition of a smart home technology system makes it easy to monitor and efficiently manage the green smart home feature’s resource consumption to maximise the monthly savings.

With only a few of these homes on the market, here are some cost-effective features making them sound investments.

Energy Efficiency

We would expect an eco-friendly home to be fitted with photovoltaic solar panels. Energy-efficiency is at the top of the list when shopping for a green home. It’s not essential for all of our power needs to be provided for by a photovoltaic solar system. Research concluded that a grid-tied system is the most practical solution. A grid-tied system provides the homeowner with a balance of energy-efficiency and energy-reliability.

Although the technology has come a long way, photovoltaic systems are still pricey. To install a fully off-the-grid system would require a hefty initial investment. That’s partly due to the fact that we would need to add either more photovoltaic panels or more batteries. Either of these require installation space. Batteries are used to store the power generated by the panels during the day to power the home at night. And also power the home when the sun is blocked out for extended periods. It’s these additional photovoltaic and specialised batteries that are pricey.

A grid-tied system is recommended. During the day, the photovoltaic solar panels provide free electricity. Once the sun sets, the system automatically switches over to the backup batteries. When the batteries reach the lower threshold, the system, again automatically switches over to the municipal supply. To make provision for when tiered electricity tariffs are introduced, the system design especially caters for using the home’s own energy during peak periods – approx. 05h00 to 08h00 and 17h30 to 19h30, so we enjoy an uninterrupted supply of power, for free, or at the lowest service provider tiered prices. Furthermore, another design feature is to feedback into the grid the excess self-generated power.

Combining a heat pump and the linked-loop hotwater system, enables you to have hot water throughout the home immediately on tap. Heat pumps are remarkably efficient. They require very little energy to heat up the water in the tank. Producing hot water is a large part of the electricity consumption. Using an alternative, such as a heat pump dramatically reduces energy consumption and thus the home’s monthly running costs.

Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling

Traditional homes rely on energy-hungry appliances to maintain the temperature inside the home at a comfortable level. In winter we drag out heaters and electric blankets while in summer we switch on air-conditioners to provide relief from the soaring temperatures. Or possibly use air-conditioners all year round. Installing a Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system consists of a network of pipes which is used to take hot or cold water to maintain desired temperatures. [The heat pump also produces the cold water.]

We’re able to monitor and manage the system by setting a comfortable temperature, as and when required.. Each of the home’s zone’s temperature is individually adjustable to provide their required temperature and comfort. The system is energy-efficient and effective. In winter, it’s possible to walk barefoot on the warm tiles. This simply isn’t possible in a traditional home without resorting to expensive underfloor heating or air-conditioning that uses a significant amount of electricity.

Once again, this demonstrates luxurious green living, which focusses on comfort while using resource efficiently, thereby reducing monthly running costs. Eco-friendly homes are designed to use resources efficiently. Such homes are more expensive to purchase, though over the long-term, the benefit of momentous monthly savings on power make green smart homes sound investments. This is particularly attractive when considering that prices for these basic services will continue to rise.

Water saving

With South Africa currently experiencing its worst drought in 23 years, saving water ia a priority. Having access to fresh, clean water is a large part of what makes our modern lives comfortable. Take a moment to consider how many different ways we use water in our home every day; for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning.

Eco-friendly homes use a variety of methods to reduce water consumption. This includes the use of low-flow shower heads and taps to rainwater harvesting used to flush toilets, for the washing machine, and garden irrigation. These features improve comfort or convenience.

The rainwater harvesting tanks cab be installed underground so that it doesn’t take up valuable space. The tank is well-constructed and not prone to damage or leaking. The roof gutters and slab downpipes channel water to the tank. The design maximises the collection and storing of rainfall in the area. This is an example of how eco-friendly homes work with the environment.

The tank itself requires almost no maintenance as it is equipped with self-cleaning filters. The rainwater management system is connected to the municipal supply to ensure a constant supply of water. The rainwater management system switches over automatically, from rainwater to municipal water and vice versa..

It’s always a good idea to increase water savings by completing your home with a water-wise garden. A water-wise garden is one that uses indigenous plants that are accustomed to local weather conditions. These native plants are able to withstand dry periods and local insects as opposed to foreign plants. The garden has almost no lawn, instead it contains well designed walkways, reducing the amount of water needed to maintain the garden. Aforementioned makes for a garden that is easier to maintain and to care for.

Smart home technology

While the green features are effective on their own, the addition of a smart home technology system serves to enhance them. The Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system, the heat pump, the rainwater harvesting and the water pump can be connected to the software. This provides you with two important abilities:

  • The ability to monitor consumption

Information is a powerful tool and with smart technology we have instant access to the home’s data. The system constantly collects information about power consumption and the level in the water tank. These are available at a glance – how much electricity and water is being using. This is available for right now, and back over time, for the current day, weeks, months and years

Without a smart home technology system, it is impossible to gather this type of information manually. And it provides us with an accurate, up-to-minute picture of how much electricity and rainwater we’re using. With this information, we’re able to make important decisions.

For example, though the effects of adjusting the Hydronics temperature is completed within 24-72 hours, we’ll immediately see the effect that reducing or increasing the temperature inside the home has on the power consumption. This enables us to adjust the temperature with a half or full degree to balance the comfort with the power consumption, instead of waiting for 24 – 72 hours. Imagine how useful this is when working out how much energy and money it takes to run our home? Not only does it increase our monthly savings, it also makes our home energy-efficient.

  • The ability to manage our home remotely

The beauty of the smart home technology is that it comes with an app. With the ability  to monitor and manage your home from within the home and remotely. You are able to install and run the app from your smartphones, tablets, and computers.

In an age where we’re increasingly using our smart devices and laptops, it stands to reason this convenience is extended to our homes. And with further customisation, the green smart technology is able to provide other conveniences.

It is possible to extend the system to include some of the other features too which include security and convenience. It is flexible, powerful and focused on reducing the monthly running costs. Simply being able to monitor and manage adjusting various aspects of the home makes it easy for homeowners to efficiently manage their home. As aforementioned, like having the ability to balance electricity consumption comfort and cost.

It is best to seamlessly blend the best of both green technologies and smart home technology and work with the environment to create a space that is eco-friendly and luxurious.

The grid-tied solar panels with the Hydronics Radiant heating and cooling system and the underground rainwater harvesting tank maximises the use the available resources. And the smart home technology system adds an extra layer of monitoring, managing and customisation creating a home that is eco-friendly and ahead of its time.

Investing in a green smart home provides us with instant savings on our monthly running costs and additional savings in the future as costs rise. It’s a home that increases in value as more people realise the benefit of living in a green smart home.

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.


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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