1906bannerDaniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence guru, offers an interesting take on why engaging people to be-think-act sustainably is so difficult.  "We're engaging the wrong brain system."  Talk of carbon-footprint taps into our brain's system of threat, fear, anger, depression and focuses on what we're doing wrong.  The narratives around measuring and increasing our handprint is far more enticing, hopeful.  It engages the reward system and what we're doing right!  But what's right when there is no established best practice?

Tanglewood's solar pv system is an interesting example of a handprint that's been challenging and fun to maximise.  As pioneers, working with pioneers, it's important to ask, and ask again when the current best practice must be challenged.  Tanglewood's system not only reduces energy footprint, but contributes into the grid as well as keeping our Electric Vehicle topped up. Almost daily, we find ways to reduce our energy consumption, thereby giving even more to the grid. We're stretching out those fingers for a bigger handprint.

Pioneering sustainability efforts often takes us to that uncomfortable part of our brain system...largely due to uncertainty.  Below is a TetraMap that we hope will help you focus on the positive and grow your handprint.

Shades of Uncertainty: Tanglewood's Solar Energy in Practice

Earth

E - Best Practice
Repeat what has been proven to be effective.

Calculate the best angle for maximum energy production over a full year. (NB: that 'best' angle generates the least energy in winter when you need the most energy.)

Air

A - Logical Practice
Understand the systems and calculate what is most likely to be effective.

NIWA has calculated the average solar radiation every day of the year for a given place and solar panel angle, allowing for cloudy days and mountain shadows. For Tanglewood, 52 degrees is the best angle for the three months of winter.

Water

W - Relationship Practice
Build trust in relationships that will hopefully be effective.

When we discovered our solar system was struggling to cope with the demand from the heat pump hot water system, we persevered in questioning the wasted heat, trusted our designer and installer to come up with a solution, and they did!

Fire

F - Next Practice
Strategise next steps into the unknown, avoiding what is known to be ineffective.

Where do you install solar panels out of sight at 52 degrees with easy access for cleaning? We designed them to hang in front of the deck balustrade. The elaborate, engineer-specified, cantelevered timber structure was a time & cost issue. We found an aluminium bracket that could be attached to the balustrade posts, and potentially adjusted twice a year for summer and winter angles. Our installer adjusted them first for summer and again, more recently for winter. Next summer, we will try lifting them back up to 30 degrees ourselves... maybe.

Our Plug-In Electric Vehicle

Daniel Goleman Video

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