I promised I’d write more about self-sufficiency in the Philippines. even if you don’t give a care about Global Warming or you personal Carbon Footprint and IMO you should), a big part of living costs in the Philippines will involve energy costs, so whatever you can do to cut back on what you hand over to the electric company or the gas man will help balance your personal living equation.
Petroleum-based energy costs, including LPG (the most common source of cooking heat here) are of course, spiraling upward as they are in virtually every country. Commercial gas supplies, as in pipes in the street, are virtually unknown in the Philippines … Manila once had a city gas main system but it is now just a scrap metal relic.
Electricity, in populated areas, works pretty much as most of you are used to in the US, but many considering a move here don’t realize that electricity, per kilowatt hour, is second only to Japan to the most expensive in the world. Whatever you are paying in the US… figure 2 to 4 times as much for your electric bill here .. unless you practice a little difference in how you consume.
Most will realize that heating a home here is virtually never a consideration. Only a handful of places, such as Baguio even have rudimentary heat sources, such as fireplaces. Most of the time people are trying to get cool … and I’ll talk a lot about air conditioning and other forms of cooling some other time.
But one time very few of us want to be cool is when we are taking that much deserved evening shower. A lot of houses have no form of domestic hot water heating. In fact, if you have a home like mine, where our water comes from the municipal water main to a holding tank and thence into the house, you may not see a need for much water heating .. the water coming out of the tap is often quite warm. but for dishwashing and personal hygiene, most of would consider domestic hot water somewhat of a necessity … here in the Philippines the most common way is something like this unit … an electric flash heater in technical terms. You have one of these in the bathroom and one in the kitchen and when you turn on the water faucet the water (almost) instantly runs hot and it stays hot until you are done using it. Then the unit goes ‘back to sleep’ until you next decide you want hot water. Hot water heater tanks, such as most US homes use, are virtually non-existent here. these flash heaters will set you back around $100 or so, installed, and I have no idea how much they will actually add to your monthly electric bill. I currently only use the kettle on the stove method, which is not only inefficient, it’s darn inconvenient at times.
My lead photo is also a link to this article … from an old friend of mine, The Mother Earth News … a publication that was extolling energy conservation and self sufficiency long before the ear of the Kyoto protocol and $100 a barrel crude oil. If you read the article you’ll learn a lot about passive hot water heating … and one thing may strike you as it struck me … it’s much, much easier to do something like this here in the Philippines because so many of the considerations necessary in the US … freezing protection being a number one concern … are just not in the picture here … 9the fact you can hire a competent plumber for $12 or so dollars a day is a factor as well. So, I ask myself, why isn’t hot water flowing out of the shower?