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Generate hot water in your backyard

24 November 2016

Sustainable free hot showers are gaining new life in WA thanks to a decades old heating system developed by a French innovator.

The system developed by Jean Pain, who died in 1981 uses compost to harvest anaerobic energy to provide hot water, and is operating at no cost in Margaret River, Western Australia. The unit is built annually at the Fair Harvest Permaculture Farm and can provide hot water to an outdoor shower for up to 10 months.

Not bad for a collection of off-cuts and scraps!

How to create your own compost-powered outdoor shower:

1. Begin with wood chips. The chips used for this shower were harvested for fire control in the nearby area.

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2. Build the compost in layers, ensuring to compact the material as you go.

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3. Coil poly pipe through the layers of the compost as you create it. This keeps the water inside the warm pile to feed to the shower.

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4. Ensure the compost is thoroughly watered. The moisture helps to kick start the composting process.

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5. Once complete, the temperature of the compost will reach 45 degrees Celsius in two weeks, and stays that warm for up to 10 months. 

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