Happy New Year

Shoot the breeze, chew the fat or whatever you fancy
LeeB
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Happy New Year

Post by LeeB » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:52 pm

Happy New Year to all the boards members. Hope you are not freezing in Japan.

So what's new?

Down under we are baking today in one of our typical summer days.

The temp hit a high of 42.6 here at 2:30pm.

We hit 40 degrees at around 1:30pm and it stayed above 40 degrees until around 4:40pm.

Then in typical Melbourne fashion it proceeded to fall to 25.9 degrees in an hour. The temp is still falling.

Tomorrow is supposed to be rain and a top of 19 degrees.

Does wonders for the fruit and vegetables not to mention destroying the lilies that are blooming in the front yard.

Other news....................

A real estate company is having a 'big sale' on land down south of us. For the amazing, reduced, cheap price of only A$250,00 (19 million yen or so) you can buy a whopping 350 square meters (106 tsubo) of land.

A house near where I live just went on the market for a ridiculously cheap price of about A$930 per square meter which includes the 3 bedroom house.

I doubt if the house will last more than a week once the open house scheduled next week starts. Some kind of quick 'fire sale' it appears. The RE agent selling the house didn't even use a comparison property in the neighborhood, but three properties more than 5 kilometers away. Talk about being an idiot!!

Will have to wait and see what the final price is or if there is a major problem with the house........

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by Chris64 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:05 pm

Seems that you have to be rich to move to Oz.

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by Shizuman » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:45 pm

You have to be rich to live in Aus period, grew up there, got a trade then went to uni, i saw very little chance of owning a house and agriculture is a rough game there.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Happy New Year

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:36 am

And a happy new year to you guys too.

Nights are cold here in Chiba but enjoying bright sunny day times and having the wood stove blazing during the evening. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer over there in Aus Lee

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by LeeB » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:51 am

Australia used to be cheap compared to Japan. It appears that both countries have swapped economic profiles!!!

If you bought a decent house years ago you can do okay. Or if you have a super high paying job that allows you to game the system here, or win the lottery, or marry rich....................

Yes, I miss the winters in Japan - those nice sunny days. Cold, but nice and clear. Here we have the Melbourne funk - very cool, cloudy days - sometimes for days on end. It seems to be getting worse lately. (Better than where I grew up in the States though!!!)

Unfortunately, many of the older houses here leak energy like a sieve - no insulation in the walls, no double glazed windows and no entries like in Japan that allow you to shut out the heat and cold when coming in.

It is hard to believe, but Australia has some of the highest energy prices in the world - both on a relative and absolute basis.

When I put my panels up about nice years ago electricity was 15 cents a kilowatt hour and the supply charge was IIRC $60 for three months. Now the standard rates vary quite a bit, but before I switched to a cheaper plan we were paying about 40 cents per kilowatt hour and around $1.40 a day for supply charges. Now I pay about 27 cents for peak rates and around 18 cents for off peak. Supply charge is about the same.

As I have panels, the government here 'lets' the electricity company charge me 10% MORE for electricity than someone who doesn't have panels.

Natural gas is either the same or a little more expensive than Japan.

I was thinking about putting more panels up on the house and using them for the split system A/C's inverters in winter rather than using the central heater which uses NG in order to take advantage of the new state government's solar panel subsidy, but I don't qualify as I 'wasted' my own money on a system years ago.

Here in Victoria you can get a a 'el cheapo' system for around A$5000 to $6000 for a 6 kWh system installed. Western Australia you can get one for about half of that!!!! One of the few things here that is cheaper than in Japan!!

About the only thing that has gone down in price recently are water and sewerage charges here in Victoria, but they are still way up from ten years ago. Ten years ago we were paying A$1 for 1000 liters of water. Now with the 'reduced' charges this year we pay only $2.44 per 1000 liters..........a huge increase in ten years.

And another thing that has become cheaper here is the US$/A$ exchange rate and of course the Yen/A$ exchange rate.

A few years back it cost well over 100 yen to buy one Australian dollar. Now ti will only cost you 77 - up from 75 a couple days ago.

Makes buying everything in and from Japan a lot more expensive!!

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by gonbechan » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:16 pm

LeeB wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:51 am

Unfortunately, many of the older houses here leak energy like a sieve - no insulation in the walls, no double glazed windows and no entries like in Japan that allow you to shut out the heat and cold when coming in.
not sure what universe you visited Japan in but, except for very modern houses, Japanese houses have about as much insulation as a tupperware dog kennel.

For sure the old way of building with earthen walls and thatched roofs are an exception and new houses, even though they have better insulation and double glazing, a lot of them do not have a vapor barrier in the foundation and the double glazing is pretty much useless with aluminium window sashes.

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by LeeB » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:10 am

When I lived in Japan I only had the opportunity to live in Japanese 'mansions'.

They all had big, thick, concrete walls and entrance ways that served to keep out the hot/cold. Even though Japan is much colder than where I live in Australia, I never felt 'cold' the way I do here. Of course, I'm a lot older now too!!!

We never used the split A/C inverter in Japan to heat up or cool down the place as much as we do in Australia either. Of course, we had the famous 'toyu' stove as a spot heater which was used mostly in the north facing room. Hokkaido - I've only been there in summer and fall so I don't how winter is there in the bigger apartment blocks.

Smaller spaces in Japan of course compared to here - one of the 'unfortunate' aspects of having a bigger house (3000 square feet/280 square meters) than in Japan. The garage is bigger than most of the places that I lived in Japan!

One of the first things I did when we bought the house was to plant a lot of trees around it. Fruit trees around the sides and in back and in front more trees. The ones in front are now big enough to help keep the place cooler as it cuts the amount of sun hitting the house and they are not natives so they drop their leaves in winter.

We don't really use the A/C that much as neither of like it so we avoid using it until as late as possible which usually means late afternoons or sometimes in the evenings if it doesn't cool off. When it hit 42.8 C the other day we had it on for about an hour or so.

If we get one of those hot spells for days on end with temps in the high 30's and low 40's it will be used late afternoons or evenings to keep the temp from going over 27 C in the house.

We never use it at night when we sleep and never heat the house at night once we hit the sack either. Don't like it and couldn't afford to do it anyway.

In winter the coldest temp I remember in the house was 9 C one morning and usually it will stay above 12C. IIRC the most common temp is about 14 C in winter. I don't like the temp much more than 18 C in winter, but the better half likes it a little warmer - 20 C so she usually turns on the heat once she gets up. I don't and just wait for her to turn it on!

We were thinking about putting in zoned heating as an add on to the central heat we currently have, but the quote was astronomical to do the refit.

Anyway, I'll wait and see if the state government comes up with any new programs for solar electricity. I'll have to sit down and pull out the bills and do some calculations to see if it would be worth going 'all electric' as I would also lose the premium amount paid to me for generated electricity and be put on a lower feed in tariff............That would also mean changing how we use electricity.

We now wait until off peak and the sun is down to wash clothes and use the dishwasher, vacuum during the weekends and that sort of thing. With more panels we would have to do all that during the day to use the electricity we generated rather than sell it at a cheap price in the mornings or early afternoons.

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by gonbechan » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:13 am


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Re: Happy New Year

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:18 am

I wonder if some sort of powerwall might suit your needs ? Whilst you get paid a premium feed in price it often makes better financial sense to sell the electricity from your panels off to the grid but once that expires then sometimes the benefits swing the other way around and it becomes more cost effective to buy a home battery. We loose the premium feed in tariff in two years time and are likely to drop down to a lower feed in rate so are thinking about either getting a powerwall or Leaf2Home that turns our car into a home battery to store the electricity from our panels for use at night. Plus nearly all of our local driving would then be powered by renewable resources as well as the house.

Out of interest, have you fitted a solar water heater ? The vacuum tube heater we fitted paid off it's cost within a couple of years and has been giving us free hot water ever since. Enough for a bath every day along with showers and hot water for washing up.

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Re: Happy New Year

Post by LeeB » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:42 am

Yes, we have gas boosted solar hot water. One of the best investments we've ever made!!

When we moved in the house had - believe it or not - a stinky small, 125 liter gas hot water tank. Ever lived with a teenager? Yeah.

So we looked around to see if we could change to one of those instant hot water heaters that most people in Japan have.

The cost was huge - not only for the system, but to put it in. So we passed on that.

(One of the 'interesting' things about living in Australia is that the trades people here - electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, etc make extremely good money. IIRC during the last RE buiding boom here in Melbourne a little over 12 years ago bricklayers were getting well over $1 per brick ($1.50 ????). They were making more than the local GP!! They are the ones with the huge houses, the ute, and the BMW's or Mercs in the driveways!!! Completely different from Japan. And they don't usually clean up after they finish a job. You have to.)

Then, the labor government here decided to 'invest' in (spend other peoples' money!!) in renewable energy/conservation. One program was to pay people to insulate their homes (roof spaces). Oooops - I'm an idiot again - spent my own money to do that. The second option was if you already had insulation was to pay for people to get rid of their electric water heaters and change over to NG. Ooooooooops again. I already had NG.

Stuffed again! Wonder when I would ever get some of that government 'free' money...........

So I guess many people complained and they came up with a third option: install a gas boosted (one of those instant natural gas water heaters) with a solar hot water system and we'll pay for part of it.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

So we put in a system and a 250 liter hot water tank. Cost for the system including installation was about $A2000 and the government paid A$3000.

The system is great. It really helps out in summer. Late spring and up until the middle of fall aren't too bad either. After we first put it in and when there were only two of us our NG bills for the middle two summer month's usage was at it lowest less than A$10. That was for hot water and cooking - $5 a month!!

Now with more people and the price of NG having gone up the bills are a lot higher. The supply charge IIRC is something like A$30 a month now even if you don't use any NG.

As winter here is often cloudy and cool, it doesn't really help much then, but if we have a sunny day in winter, yes it does make a big difference.

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