In another guest article Peter Tout of Castlepeake and Sustainable Harvest Gro, offers a different perspective to Robert, who is on holidays.

Public awareness grows daily of the need to conserve our precious resources of water and energy. After more than a year of advertising and developing our new water and solar businesses we are sorry to say that the worst take up of our offer to the Sydney market is in Mosman and Woollahra municipalities, the two richest, best educated areas in Sydney. Why is this so? We have our theories that we will leave for another day, but what follows is a short summary of what you can do in your Mosman house to contribute to the solution to our water and energy woes.

We must accept that Sydney has to move to a situation where clean fresh drinking water from Warragamba Dam is used for that purpose only, drinking and washing. All other water uses in our lives including gardening, washing cars, flushing toilets, industrial uses, irrigation, air conditioning and cooling towers must be from harvested rainwater falling free from the sky or recycled water. We then would not have a water crisis in Australia.

So here are the suggestions:

Collect the free rainwater that lands on your roof (one metre of water a year ), store it and then use it to water the garden, top up the pool, wash your car and flush the toilets.

Replace your old inefficient and energy guzzling electric hot water system with a brand new evacuated tube solar hot water system, save many hundreds of dollars a year in water heating bills and qualify for a Federal Government rebate of $1000.

Add photovoltaic cells to your roof to generate your own electricity and bank the federal governments $8,000 rebate. This single measure is far more significant than John Howard has been given credit for. I have done it and I can tell you the feeling of pride it gives you reading your little digital metre in the kitchen showing how much power you have generated in a day is amazing.

Replace your gas fired pool heater with an evacuated tube pool solar pool heating system to heat your pool for next to nothing. Reduce the hours your pool filter runs in the cooler months. The colder water needs far less filtering, I have done it and the savings are significant.

Do an audit of all your electrical appliances. You will be amazed at the power consumed by them all on standby mode at 2.00am in the morning. Find ways to turn them all off before you go to bed, your savings in your electricity bill will amaze you.

Reduce water consumption in your garden. Most gardens and plants in Mosman need far less irrigation than they get from automated irrigation systems, especially in the cooler months. Remember Mosman gets one metre of rain per annum, even during the drought.

Reduce your lighting load. Mosman houses, lit up like Christmas trees at night, with vast numbers of halogen lights left on, consume vast amounts of energy. Use the dimmers, turn lights off. The new range of compact fluros and LED lights, whilst not perfected yet, will soon see the end of incandescent lights and halogen lighting and vastly reduced household energy consumption.

Turn off your air conditioning, and if building new, insist on not putting it in. Nothing consumes more energy in a house that a reverse cycle air conditioning system. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, a well designed and insulated and cross ventilated house in Mosman does not need air conditioning on the ground floor living areas, it may only need it, on 10 – 15 nights a year, in the second floor bedrooms.

Implement even some of these measures and do your bit to leave this planet in better shape for our children.

For more information on these suggestions contact : or look at the following web sites: or or or

Peter Tout

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