Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sunshine in the Rainy Season

Another beautiful dawn after another night of rain.  We could get used to this!  Especially since the rainy nights have not been stormy, rainy nights.  The music of rain during the night, or anytime really, is the music of our water vats being filled and that is lovely music, indeed.
Sublime start to the day.
We have had measurable rainfall for 21 of the first 26 days of September, for a total of more than 20 inches in September.  And the good part is that most of it has fallen at night, leaving our days nice and sunny.
It looks like a postcard when you frame the photo so that the eroded beach doesn't show!  The beach is slowly building back now that the night-time winds are from the northeast instead of due east.
September is a hot month, second only to May for high temps.  And all that sunshine seems aimed right at the solar panels on the roof of the addition.  We are awash in solar power!  Never before have we been replete with power and water at the same time.  I am almost giddy - no wait - I AM giddy!  Of course that could be giddy with heat stroke ...  The sunshine that gives us power also bakes down on the metal roof.  And that brings us to our current building project.  But first, click here to listen to "Sunshine", a great anti-war song of the 1970s that, unfortunately, remains far too relevant.

Ok, now to our project, namely roof insulation.  Dennis had the foresight to order 4 big rolls of thin foam insulation backed on both sides by reflective foil.  We are stapling it to what are locally termed "lapboards" because they are the boards over which you lap the metal roof and screw the metal down to.  You can get an idea of how in works in the photo below.
The corrugated roofing is screwed down to the "lapboards" (2x4s in this instance) that span the distance between the roofing trusses.  The flexible foil-backed foam insulation is stapled to the sides of the lapboards.  A partial roll of the insulation is visible in the lower righthand corner of the photo.
We will come back and put rigid foam insulation between the trusses. It will be mounted flat against the lapboards, giving an airspace between the foil and rigid foam that will also increase the R-value of the roof insulation.
The stack of rigid foam insulation awaiting installation.
 A high R-value is very welcomed on the south-facing roof.  I checked the temperature of the interior of the roof right at noon today.  I measured it at 4 places on the south-facing roof:  1) the bare metal; 2) bare metal covered with  the foil-backed insulation; 3) under the solar panels without insulation; and 4) under the solar panels with insulation.  The results were astounding and scary!
The south-facing roof with solar panels.
The hottest part is, of course, the bare metal without insulation which averaged 137F (58.3C).  Ouch - you could cook on that!  Next was the area under the solar panels, but without the insulation, which was 123F (50.5C).  Still uncomfortably hot to the touch.  With the insulation, but without solar panels was 93F (34C), and with insulation and solar panels was 91F (33C).  The air temp in the loft was ~91F when I made these measurements.  It will be much cooler when we get the entire roof insulated.

They will finish with the foil-back insulation next week, so we are ready for more hot, sunny days.
Lots of sunshine and clear, calm seas!
I played in the water today for the first time in ages.  It is now clear enough and I can get to the water without having to leap off a cliff.  It was delightful.  But I could see up close how the seagrass beds have suffered with those rough east winds.  In some places the grass has been scoured down to the roots and what does remain is brown (dead?) or sickly green.  I hope it will grow back from the rhizomes. The breakwater is still a work in progress and we are very happy with it so far.

14 comments:

  1. The roof underneath the solar panels was ... YIKES .. 50.5 degrees C! What is that doing to those poor solar panels. Well, actually not much. I had to go back to the performance specs for the panels and the specs for the Normal Operating Conditions and Temperature (NOCT) are measured at 48 degrees C, with about 0.45% decrease in performance for each degree C above that, or a bit over 1%. You can sweat the temp in the loft, but don't sweat the small stuff. I am more concerned about getting the beach repaired and accessible for the turtles to nest this Autumn. Cheers, Dennis.

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  2. If the panels are at 50.5C at high noon, that is probably not too bad. Let's check the temp of the panels directly tomorrow if it is sunny. The turtles could be here any day now.

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  3. What an idyllic picture that you paint to us UK types, just about to enter another wet and cold winter. Amusingly as well, you guys are insulating to keep the heat out - we do it, to keep the heat in, as you will well recall from your time in Rochester.

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    1. Good thing insulation works both ways! I grew up in the hot southeast of the US, before air conditioning was common, where I developed an appreciation for shady verandas, attic fans, and ceiling insulation. Would much rather be trying to keep the heat out than in!

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  4. From an autumnal UK, where the temperature is getting cooler by the day and winter is approaching, it all looks blissful to me Wilma.

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    1. It is pretty wonderful. We got another 3/4 inch of rain last night and today is bright and sunny.

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  5. I was in Seattle before moving to Costa Rica four years ago, so am very, very appreciative of the heat and sunshine in this part of the world. Is it common to build with wood there in Belize? Here in CR the buildings are nearly all concrete block or built with steel frames. I've never seen wood construction here other than out in the campo.

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    1. Wood construction is quite common here partly because it can be inexpensive. Concrete is more common in the larger villages and towns. We are very remote and can only reach our place by boat. So no concrete mixer trucks can get here. At first we were disappointed that concrete was out of the question for us, but we have found that the wood is much cooler and it feels "friendlier" to me than hard concrete. Looking forward to future posts from you about your experiences moving to CR. Cheers!

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  6. Congratulations on a preservation job well-done, and those solar panels. What a glorious spot!

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    1. Thanks, Mitchell. It is an amazing place to wake up to every day. I'm happy to say that after nearly 3 years of living here full-time that the rewards still outweigh the challenges.

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  7. Rain at night and sunshine in the daytime, isn't that what they call utopia Wilma.{:))

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    1. Oh! "Played in the water", any chance of Bikini shots.?{:))))

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    2. No chance. I wear an old lady swimsuit. ;-)

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