Just as I was walking on the University of the Sunshine Coast campus today I noticed a little feature for Rain Water Management from the roof of the the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre. The Sunshine Coast is subject to severe weather systems and a lot of rain during the summer (Rain Season).
What I want you to notice is the use of chains to lead the water from the roof to the sewer. The roof of the building is fairly large, and the amount of rain would be extremely significant in case of a rain storm. This will create a massive pressure on the gutter and without the chains the water would be as a waterfall from the roof.
A great little design feature of Tropical Australian architecture.
Time is flying by and remembering for how long I have been in Australia has become a challenge. However it must have been a while, since roommates and friends are preparing to head home. The last assignments of the semester have been done, and it has become time to study for the exams, which will be on during November.
Even though work at University has taken a lot of time for the past months, there has also been time to explore this large amazing county.
I was so privileged to be able to hit the road for 10 days with three friends of mine. Our goal was the Whitsundays. A group of paradise islands located approximately 1000 km north of the Sunshine Coast, however the trip ended up being so much more than paradise.
Paradise might be wonderful however sometimes paradise can be just around the corner. On our way up the coast we stopped in Hervey Bay where we fooled around on the beach, got to do night shots and walked a freaking long bridge before we headed further up the coast for Agnes Waters, Town of 1770, where explorer James Cook first time sat foot on Australian soil. On the way to Agnes Water we experienced the production of Bundaberg Rum and enjoyed body-boarding at some nice coast town on the road. Overall a wonderful spontaneous day!
Agnes Waters were the place I had my first experience on a surfboard and I loved it. We spend 4 hours in the water and I managed to stand a few times. Gladly I have over half a year to learn it. I must take the chance to put in a warm recommendation for our Hostle in Agnes Waters by the name: `Cool Bananas´. My friends and I had an absolutely great stay. Considering it being a Hostle, I have never felt more welcome as I did at Cool Bananas.
From Agnes Waters we headed to Airlie Beach where we would board our cruise of the Whitsundays. However, we managed to fit our lunch break to be by the Capricorn Caves where we experienced an underground church located in the cave system. Quite impressive and a nice experience. Australia is a great country for road trips and the entire experience of hitting the road and stopping wherever there is something interesting to see is what makes it so great.
From Airlie Beach we sailed the Whitsundays for 3 days and we experience White Heaven Beach, some of the finest sand in the world, we went snorkelling by the corral reef and saw hundreds of fish in all colours, forms and shapes. Not to forget the rich experience of whales and dolphins in the waters. It was an absolutely amazing experience and the entire experience of the Whitsunday islands are just magnificent.
Hitting the road and drive the same way back could have been a long boring drive, however when you spend time with interesting people you are never bored.
On our way back we slept at the beach a nice place called Carmilla Beach, where we did a bonfire, slept under the stares, and watched the sunrise of the bay. It was a new experience to me, but I must say, besides literally smelling like smoked salmon, it was a very good experience. We headed to Emu Park where we got our-self a lovely shower and a good dinner. There is highly nothing to see in Emu Park, however the road there was a sight in itself.
Our last and final adventure of the trip was a visit to a crocodile farm. Crocodiles must be categorised as scary animal and seeing them up close in full size was a thrilling experience. We got to hold small crocodiles and I learned a thing that I for sure never would have figured out on my own. The biggest is not the most dangerous, because there is no one threatening it. The smaller ones though have a lot of attitude and are always in for a good fight.
Overall the road trip was an amazing experience and what started out being all about reaching paradise, ended up being about so much more. One thing is clear, it is not the things you see and do, it is about the people you do it with. I were so lucky to be with a group a people that ended up complementing each other very well, with a little craziness, a little seriousness and in general a great harmony.
Being a guest and a student in another country with a different culture, sometimes gives room for some interesting discussions. On many aspects Denmark and Australia are very similar towards the perception of the world; however I have discovered a difference that applies to a large amount of the citizens living in the subtropical Queensland of Australia.
A noticeable difference from Denmark to Queensland is the houses and the way they are constructed. I have had the argument with high educated academics, but they do not seem to see the need. What I am talking about is the need for insulation. Insulation is widely used in climates of low temperatures, because it keeps the heat in, and the cold out. This is economically as well as environmentally a good investment, because the money already spend on heating the house, is well saved because of the insulation. What is not well understood is that insulation should matter in a subtopic climate.
Let me try to explain: In subtropical climates, houses are like big refrigerators. The concept of a refrigerator is to keep a closed space cool. This is best done by an insulated cabin with a cooling system to it. If you leave the refrigerator open it will not stay cool for long, and the energy bill will rise dramatically. Houses in subtropical climates often have air-conditioning, which applies the same function as a refrigerators cooling system. When the house is not insulated, it is the same as leaving the refrigerator open. Simply all the energy consumed by the air-condition system, to cool down the house is wasted, because all the cool air is disappearing out of the walls and windows. Not insulating is not very environmentally as well as economically responsible. Even though it seems quite straight forward, the population and even academics of high education doubt the need for insulation, leaving the environment and the bank account to suffer.
The conclusion must be that whether or not you are in a warm or a cold climate, the same concept towards insulation applies. Either you seek to keep your home cool or you seek to keep it warm. I does not matter which climate you are in, you still need insulation to minimize energy consumption.