Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2009

Chanuka: Do we need Global Warming and Environmental Destruction in our future?

Dear all It's Chanuka tonight.  The Jewish festival of lights.  Let's find a way to light up our world. We have all been reading about Global Warming recently, especially with "Copenhagen" happening at the moment. Ask questions at : Mine is: "Depending on who one listens to climate change may or may not be happening, but environmental destruction is happening at an alarming rate. It is easy to see. It effects our lives, our health, our water, our living environment, our planet. What are our world leaders doing to address this problem?" Some people I talk to say Global Warming is happening, and some people say it isn't happening.  Some say that it is a natural thing and others say that humans are contributing to it.  Some call it Global Weirding because although they say the earth will warm by 2% on average; some places will get hotter (perhaps much hotter

Hout Bay Green Faire

FLOE will be at the Hout Bay Green Faire tomorrow from 10am for the day. Join us at: Where: Kronendal Primary School, Andrews Road, Hout Bay When: 10am till late Costs: Adults R10 and kids R5 An 'eco-expo' featuring green products and services, wind and solar power, water saving devices, grey water, recycling and worm bins, Rubbels Recycle market, kids 'edutainment', info on how to grow veggie & herb seedlings, compost toilets, healing space, healthy food and juices, conscious cinema, talks, live music and more....

David in Parliament - Summary and my thoughts

Dear all Disclaimer: please note that the ideas and solutions presented below are my own and may not represent those of Free Life On Earth. After two days in Parliament and feeling very tired, I feel the need to write a summary of what transpired - in  summarised form as I have 20 pages of A5 format notes - and a huge number of handouts as well as mailings from various presenters - and lots of ideas about what can be done.  (I see that this summary is 3 pages long, so I have put especially important bits in bold.) There were about 30 presentations in Total.  We have been told that they might be available on the government web site at some point.  I'll let you know.  There were about 100 people in the Old Assembly Chamber each day and about 20 of them were MP's besides the portfolio committee chairpersons. You can see me in action on our Free Life On Earth BLOG .  Scroll down to FLOE Speaks Up in Parliament. I came away feeling happy that these events took place inside par

Free Life On Earth's Submission re the Parliamentary Hearings on Climate Change Nov 2009

Dear Ms Nyamza Thank you for asking for comment from the public on this very important topic. Although we have many ideas for changes regarding renewable energy adoption, we believe that one of the most urgent ones is the setting up of a National Grid Company enabling a "willing buyer - willing seller" or "retail wheeling" arrangement. This is outlined in the attached document. Kind Regards David Lipschitz BSc (Hons) MBA Chairperson and Cofounder: Free Life On Earth The attachment: Retail Wheeling in South Africa Written by David Lipschitz, 3rd November 2009 In preparation for the Public Hearings on the Political, Economic, Legal, Gender and Social Impacts of Climate Change, 17th to 18th November 2009 in the South African Parliament1 Objectives: (i)A new National Grid Company which owns and operates South Africa's electricity grid infrastructure; (ii)Private electricity producers which directly sell electricity to private elec

Climate Change Hearings; NERSA Feed In Tariffs; Electricity Price Hikes

Dear all 1) Government Climate Change Hearings Please read the call for public comment document and have your say. Your submission must be in by 6th November. The hearings are on the 17th and 18th November. 2) NERSA's Feed In Tariff's Phase 2 Please see Engineering News for information about NERSA's phase 2 Feed In Tariffs. They have added Photovoltaic energy production, but it is still only for systems bigger than 1MW thus excluding private houses and small and medium sized businesses. The rate is R3.94 per kwh. 3) Electricity Price Hikes More information here . Regards David

NERSA's REFIT phase 2

Dear all Please see Engineering News for information about NERSA's phase 2 Feed In Tariffs. They have added Photovoltaic energy production, but it is still only for systems bigger than 1MW thus excluding private houses and small and medium sized businesses. The rate is R3.94 per kwh. Regards David


Here is a message from FLOE, Free Life On Earth. I am the chairperson of this Non Profit Organisation. Ninette, our vice chairperson has written this for us. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLIMATE ACTION Firstly, just a reminder about International Day of Climate Action taking place this Saturday. So far, 4227 actions are planned to take place in 170 countries across the world. Footage will be taken to the world leaders at Copenhagen in December. THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR LIFE ON EARTH! Find an action near you, here on . CALLING ALL CAPETONIANS!!! FLOE is endorsing two specific "350" actions which will take place in Cape Town this Saturday: 1. Human 350 to be Filmed From Air on Table Mountain [see ]; and 2. Cape Town City 350 Celebration [see: ] (paint yourself red and walk from Parliamen

Genetically Modified Foods

This is from the Planting Season emails. Written by Scott Cundill. What are GMO's? Genetics are the software that determine how living things grow. It is the blueprint for our existence and, as such, it is almost as complicated as we are. We have two strands of DNA. These strands come together in the middle like rungs of a ladder to create a sequence of what are called base pairs. There are about 3 billion base pairs in the human body. A group of these base pairs is a gene - some contain a few dozen base pairs, some a few hundred. There are about 60,000 genes in the human body - some are turned on and some off and nobody has the faintest idea what most of them actually do. We do know that each gene within a living organism has a specific function. So, when a scientists discovers which gene in a glow worm is responsible for making it glow, they can then "splice" (or merge) this gene into that of a goldfish. The result - a goldfish that glows in the dark. If you thin

Josephine Mill - talk on growing sprouts

In case you don't know about these regular talks at Josephine Mill in Newlands (next to the SAB Brewery), here is info on the one tomorrow night. See Regards David Lipschitz Time: August 11, 2009 from 7:30pm to 9pm Location: Josephine's Mill Organized By: Peter Becker Event Description: Sprouts are the ultimate self-sufficient garden for anyone desiring a reliable supply of pesticide-free, high-fibre, vitamin, mineral and enzyme-rich energising fresh food. Joseph Feigelson will share his knowledge about sprouting and how it brings the power of Mother Nature straight to the kitchen. No soil, no chemicals and no green thumbs required, only minutes per day. Joseph has studied agronomy and horticulture, has been involved in reforestation of indigenous species in Hawaii and worked as a Botanical Research Consultant on Maui. He has extensive knowledge of the nutritional value of sprouts and is dedicated to informing people about the benefits of t

Stress Reduction - emails, etc

Dear all I have decided to commit to reading emails at least once per day assuming that I am "in my office", i.e. not on holiday. This will usually happen first thing in the morning so any emails you send during the day may only be read the next work day morning. My automatic requests for emails to be delivered every 15 minutes have therefore been switched off. The reasons I have made this decision are: 1) to keep my stress levels down; 2) to limit interruptions. I have been trying this for the past week and it has been working wonders. One of the things I have noticed is that I now have mini-meditations and tea breaks! For example, in the past, when I was waiting for the computer to do something, or if I needed a break, I would read emails. This often messed up my concentration - and actually didn't speed up my work. It meant my mind was always "active" and never had a break. IMHO, interruptions from phone, cell phones, Skype, Facebook, emails, etc, a

Free Life On Earth - A Registered Non Profit Organisation

Dear all I think most of you are aware that I am part of a Non Profit Organisation called Free Life On Earth (FLOE). We are a group of like-minded individuals passionate about promoting the leading of lifestyles more in tune with our natural environment. We promote the use of renewable energy, recycling, reusing, reducing, stopping wastage, conserving natural resources and living "off grids". Support South Africa in its efforts to go green and free life on Earth by joining FLOE. At the moment the only way to join FLOE is via our FaceBook Group . We will add other methods of joining FLOE in the near future. FLOE stands for "Free Life on Earth". This signifies our two tenets: 1. Life is energy, by harnessing sustainable renewable energy to meet our energy needs, we are freeing life on Earth; 2. Modern living has necessitated us placing a cost on living. We would like to show that it is possible to reduce one's cost of living, at no cost to the well-being of l

Renewables Global Status Report - and Funding and Sharing Request

I thought you might all be interested in the latest status about renewable energy worldwide. Please see the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report: Energy Transformation Continues Despite Economic Slowdown. See Here are some of the facts: * Global power capacity from new renewable energy (RE) sources (excluding large hydro) reached 280,000 MW (280 GW) in 2008 - a 16% rise from 2007 and three times the capacity of the United States nuclear sector * 73 countries now have RE policies * the US will invest over $150 billion over 10 years in RE * RE investment in 2008 was $120 billion, up 16% over 2007 * Wind energy capacity grew by 29% in 2008 to reach 121 GW. (South Africa's total electricity capacity is 44 GW.) * Grid-connected solar PV grew at 70% to reach 13GW * Solar hot water in Germany (which has less sun than South Africa) set record growth in 2008, with over 200,000 systems installed. (South Africa installed a few hundred i

Part 8: Renewable Energy System Design - "DIY Sizing"

Let's get around to looking at some calculations. I suggest that you sit down with a piece of paper and a pen so that you can work through this example with me. The problem: During a 4 hour Eskom power failure, you want to run your computer for 4 hours and it uses 300 Watts (per hour); you also want to run 4 lights for 4 hours. Each light draws 8 Watts. You don't want to use a noisy, smelly and pollution generating generator. You want to build a system yourself and one day add a solar panel or solar array to it. You are prepared to spend a bit extra to make that "start" in Renewable Energy. Renewable Energy "Thinking" Notes: Eskom energy is still much cheaper than generator energy, so we'll start with charging the battery using Eskom energy. Eskom energy isn't clean, but we need a starting point. We can add solar and other technologies to this system later. My Eskom energy (electricity) at the moment is about 70 cents per kwh. This in May

Designing your own electricity system - part 7 (fridges)

Here are some specifications regarding energy saving fridges. Tafelberg sell some of the Ardo range of fridges. The Ardo rating is: 130KWH rating per year. Even if it really uses 165KWH per year, that will be amazing as an A++ energy star fridge is rated at 380KWH per year and a normal fridge much higher than that. My normal fridge (which I still need to replace) uses approximately 660 kwh per year which at 70 cents per kwh (my rate) is about R40 per month. Note that this is only based on one day's usage. After a few months, I will have a more accurate number. The Ardo fridge uses about 40Watts when it is on and is so quiet that a friend on mind has it in his passage outside two of the bedrooms. At 165kwh per year , the Ardo fridge costs R10 per month. A normal fridge is about R2000 and an Ardo fridge is about R8000. The difference is R6000, so R6000 / R30 (saving) = 200 months = 17 years. Not a very good payback period, but remember what I said in an earlier part of this

Designing your own electricity system - part 6 (energy efficiency)

See for my initial efficiency saving list. Here are some more notes: 1) Turn off everything at the wall when the appliances are off so that nothing runs on standby. 2) Don't leave computers on when they aren't needed. 3) Try to use laptops where possible. 4) Playstations use a lot of electricity and should not be left on standby. 5) Is your house properly insulated. Are there gaps between windows and doors where hot or cold air can escape? 6) Use CFL lights instead of incandescent (normal) lights. Incandescent lights were designed 100 years ago by Edison and Tesla. CFL globes do contain mercury, but so do fluorescent globes. And the fillings in our teeth. All need to be disposed of properly. 7) If you have an airconditioner on and you need to put on a jersey, then you are wasting resources. Turn up the airconditioner. A minimum setting of 21 degrees should be cold enough. 8) If it i

Designing your own electricity system - part 5 (where to find money for an RE system)

1) Once you have purchased an RE system, inflation is locked in. The more you use the system during daylight (sunny) hours or during windy house (if you have a wind turbine), the cheaper the cost is per kwh. 2) If you take your pension money and use if for an RE system, you are making a better investment than otherwise. This is my believe. It has not been proven. 3) Your house will be more valuable if you reduce its reliance on Eskom. If there is a power failure you might not even notice! 4) Many countries have 30% rebates on these kinds of systems. South Africa should have this kind of rebate program as well. It has been determined that a fossil fueled power station costs 30% of the cost of an RE power station and therefore the government would have spent this in any case to give you power and therefore should pay this back to you. 5) South Africa implemented feed in tariffs on 31st March 2009, but they don't include electricity made from Photovoltaic panels and someone has

Designing your own electricity system - part 4 (how much electricity are you using?)

1) Make a summary of how many kilowatt hours (kwh) you are using per month and how much it costs you. Calculate your cost per kwh. If you have a service charge remember to include this as part of your kwh charge. 2) To find out how much electricity you are using, buy a Voltage and Current metre from me. You can plug your equipment into them and they will tell you how much watts you are using. R500 cash before despatch price each plus postage and packing. 3) This metre tells you per plug what you are using. If you'd like a metre that shows what your house is using, then I have one for about R950. It has a special plug that goes into your electricity distribution board and a wireless screen that you can have with you anywhere in the house. This allows you to see your total consumption and to look for "ghost consumption" ie consumption you don't know about. This could be a geyser that you don't know about or devices that you think aren't using electricity

Designing your own electricity system - part 3 (measuring success)

Here is my first thinking point. What is more expensive? 1) Buying a new car for R150,000 or spending the same amount of money to take part of your house off the grid? 2) Spending R20,000 on the annual family holiday or the same amount taking your TV room off the grid? (note that this R20,000 makes some assumptions - we will look into this when we get to design). How should we redefine "success" in the "green age"? Should we continue to measure success as the Rolex watch or the fancy car or should we change our measurement to "successful people live off the grid"?

Designing your own electricity system - part 2

I am heartened by the amount of correspondence that is I have received since I started this process. I have received some private emails that will be difficult to respond to individually as I do not earning anything for answering them. If anyone wishes to pay for my time to design a system for them or help them with their installation, please let me know. I am prepared to do this at R450 per hour - ex VAT. Note that this may seem like a lot, but I have put over 1200 hours of time into my learning over the past year as well as over R500,000 of investment. I am also thankful for the amount of support I am receiving, but am in the unenviable position of helping people free of charge for the past 6 months and now I need to convert that into income. I will be starting a training centre, so if anyone wants to come on a training course, please let me know? So feel free to make your general points and ask your general queries here. If you wish to pay me to do research for you or to help you

Designing your own electricity system - part 1

Dear all I have started a new business called Orbital Renewable Energy. See I would like to know if you would like me to run a thread on how you can size your own electrical systems using solar panels, wind turbines and water turbines? This would give you an idea of what you need to run either your house or your critical loads, eg loads you want to run when there is a power failure. There are lots of entry points into Renewable Energy and my company can provide you with a kit from as little as R3500 right up to full sized off grid houses in the millions. Note that we are working hard to reduce the price of our entry level kit. The kit comprises 3 LED lights, a solar panel, a battery box, and a cigarette lighter charger that has been designed to charge a cell phone, but which we are busy testing with running a laptop. Please let me know if you are interested in this? Regards

Living off grids - taking responsibility for ourselves

Dear All Believe it or not we live in a communistic (note that I define Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, differently to other people) World. It might not be "Communist" in the original sense, ie where a small group of people own everything, but today in our western world, a relatively small group owns everything. This is called centralisation and is supposed to be good and efficient. But is it? Most of us are slaves with "no free time" in a centralised world with centralised farms providing food to centralised organisations withcentralised warehouses. The centralised warehouses send their produce to centralised supermarkets and shopping centres. We get into our transport bought from centralised manufacturers and pay for fuel from centralised oil companies. We maintain our transport (cars) by using centralised (in many cases) maintenance organisations. Once we get our food, we refrigerate it and store it and pay centralised utilities for our electricity.

How South Africa can take advantage of clean energy

Dear all (I'm sorry that this blog entry got so long (it took me most of today (8th March) to write), but there is so much to report on after my trip to the USA. I have left it as it is and will try to answer any questions you may have as a result of reading this email as best I can.) Here is an index of the email: 1) Introduction 2) My Visit to the USA 3) South Africa's Goals And My Needs 4) Clean Coal (and Pea Soup Fog)? 5) Cape Town's Population Explosion 6) R1 Trillion 7) The technology is already available 8) What can we do? 9) Turning DREAMs into Reality 1) Introduction "Even if all greenhouse gases stabilised at today's levels, the global climate would change for several decades because of the presence of these gases in the atmosphere." Environment Writer; Cape Times, 4th March 2009; page 4. The government says it wants our "carbon emissions to peak between 2020 and 2025." Melanie Gosling; Cape Times, 4th March 2009; page 4. This mig