It’s as easy as..

.. watching what you use.

I’ve heard it many times recently, and was discussing with someone today, in the context of solar power, that there is no point adding any sort of solar power system if you don’t take the much easier, first step of watching what you are using.

And this is true. It became true recently, when our resident in the flat was sucking down all the hot water.

I’m still waiting on some 2.4Ghz wireless TTL chips from Hong Kong (yep, aussie retail isn’t as good as Hong Kong, with shipping, ask Gerry Harvey), to put together our Hot Water monitoring setup, so the best we could gather was an estimate by sound of pipes. The hot water was running for around 20 minutes or so, obviously a shower.

And then they’d wonder why the water wasn’t ‘heating up’. It didn’t really occur to them, that the solar system on the roof, doesn’t get hot with rain bucketing down for days in a row. It’s a 315L system too, designed for 5 – 6 people.

How long did it really need to take to wash yourself – even go so far as shave in the shower?

After they got the usual “reduce your consumption or we’ll remove it” warning, the hot water has been doing well.

And so that’s the point – watching what is used – being mindful of the bigger picture (that just turning a tap != getting hot water).

A shower timer is useless when common sense is lacking – else why wouldn’t they just set it again?

A micro controller listening on the pipe for more than 5 minutes of running, and a little DC motor rigged up to the tap, to turn the output off for 30 minutes would be somewhat entertaining, but not as effective as for them to simply be mindful that hot water is at a premium in winter.

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