Professor Wasim Saman: Maximize Savings and Comfort with Home Solar | On the House #54

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Professor Wasim Saman, who is an Emeritus Professor of sustainable energy engineering at the University of South Australia

In this episode, Professor Wasim Saman passionately explains how people can all do their part to save money and the planet. He teaches homeowners simple ways to incorporate solar energy into their lives through smart design choices and appliances. 

Meet Professor Wasim Saman

Wasim Saman is an Emeritus Professor of sustainable energy engineering at the University of South Australia. For over 40 years, he has focused his career on sustainable energy education and industry-targeted research.

Professor Wasim’s research has primarily centered on solar energy utilization and storage and the sustainable use of energy in buildings. This expertise has made him a leading figure in these important areas of sustainability.

Professor Wasim’s work culminated in his leadership of the Lochiel Park Green Village project. Here, he brought together a multidisciplinary team to develop innovative design solutions that demonstrated the environmental, social, and economic benefits of near-zero energy housing.

Even in retirement, Professor Wasim remains active in his field. He continues to provide advice to industries in building and manufacturing, drawing on his extensive knowledge. Professor Wasim also mentors students and researchers around the world, sharing his wealth of experience.

About the episode

Professor Wasim shares how people can maximize their savings and comfort levels through the different solar options available, such as solar panels on the roof, basement batteries, and wall thermal batteries. In Australia, solar panels typically pay for themselves within 2-3 years due to savings on electricity bills, with the average cost of a solar panel system being several thousand dollars.

He says that some buildings already use thermal batteries that use salty water to store heat at just the right temperature. They can provide warmth or cooling on demand, so folks save a bundle of power. Wasim also suggests ways to reduce energy needs in the first place, like proper insulation, shades on the windows, and bumping up the thermostat a degree or two. 

Professor Wasim continues lending his expertise to both the industry and the politicians who pass laws. Through conferences, talks at the local community center, and mentoring students, he educates people on choosing sustainable energy sources and tackling climate change.

He emphasizes the importance of sustainable living through efficient resource use and generating renewable energy through methods like rooftop solar.

Here are some key tips and recommendations from Professor Wasim: 

  • Consider using solar panels: Consider solar panels if you own a single or double story home, as most roofs can accommodate a 10kW system that pays for itself within 2-3 years.
  • Do research: Get quotes from multiple reputable solar companies and compare warranty periods, efficiency ratings, and overall system quality.
  • Install thermal batteries: Install thermal batteries for heating/cooling to supplement or replace traditional HVAC and reduce energy costs significantly.
  • Incorporate passive solar design: Passive solar design principles like deciduous trees for shade, proper window placement, and home orientation maximize natural heating/cooling.
  • Change behaviors: Minimize energy use through behavioral changes, such as closing curtains, wearing appropriate clothing, and gathering in the coolest rooms instead of overcooling. 

In conclusion

Professor Wasim emphasizes the importance of using what you have efficiently with smart designs and appliances. He also talks about important tech like solar panels, batteries for storage, and thermal batteries that keep heat handy. He suggests easy changes people can make in their daily lives too, like gardening and composting your kitchen scraps.

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