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7/14, 7/15

posted Jul 20, 2010, 5:49 AM by Julie Bateman   [ updated Jul 20, 2010, 5:53 AM ]

This morning, we continued on the verandah brick columns and the architects started on their new formwork method. Our 14 pieces of formwork and brand new Makita (actually a Bosch handsaw) arrived in the early afternoon, making the architects’ work go about 10,000 times faster.

Construction here has given us all a new appreciation for energy and technology. As we have switched from manual to electric concrete/mortar mixing, from manual to electric water pumping, and now from manual sawing to electrical sawing, it is always shocking how much more in such a shorter time frame can be accomplished with our diesel generator on. We are working on some general comparison numbers, and will hopefully have those in a later blog. It is a curious position to be in as this project is focused on sustainability, and we are now proclaiming the virtues of Eduardo’s diesel generator.

This may also be a good time to explain why in the world we aren’t generating electricity with our own solar power system. Solar panels and their components (inverter(s), batteries, and charge controllers) are much more expensive in Brazil than in the US, which is why we planned on buyingeverything except the batteries (airlines wouldn’t be pleased) in the US and bringing it all with us to Brazil. Life seemed especially good when TUV Rhineland, a solar panel testing company in Arizona, generously donated twelve 200W solar panels. And then we tried to ship them. And then we thought about taking them on the airplane (each 4 ft x 5 ft, 40-Ib which fit within oversized luggage limits), and then we went back to shipping them. Long story short, transporting technology between borders is difficult – in case you were thinking of selling technology on the black market in Brazil. So currently we have three smaller solar panels on the way with Ethan’s mother, Bonnie Shirley – story to be continued. 

Oh, and don’t worry the curse continued – our Makita saw broke after one day of use. Fortunately, it worked just long enough for the architects to finish their four incredible new formwork boxes.