Utilities Use – Electricity

How to help the fact that we need light!? Solution: arrange what functions you do in houses and buildings to take advantage of natural light. A window facing south will give you light 2.5 (x) the height of the window  into the length into the room. Clerestory windows are best at the ceiling height because they bounce the light right off of your ceiling, illuminating your room. Or, install a solatube, which can tunnel light to where you need it if the only thing between you and the sun is your roof.

and at night…

Plug load of light bulbs reduce by 75% when switching to LED and CFL bulbs. CFL rebates are available as are recovery centers for all bulbs.

Installing occupancy light sensors may be the best option in commercial settings, when no one person in in charge of turning off, say, the conference room lights when not in use. Wattstopper has a power strip that senses people and turns plugs on just like light sensors do. See the strip here and others from Smart Home USA. Light Occupancy Sensor Resources are listed in the book: Evecto GreenGate Levitron Lutron Sensor Switch , or take a look at WattStopper’s Energy Saving Calculator.

Sometimes the easiest way to understanding consumption of energy is to determine what you use. Like eating less when you count calories, a Kill a Watt may be plugged in an outlet like a power strip, and will display the power usage that anything you plug into it may be pulling.

“You can calculate your electrical expenses by the day, week, month, even an entire year. Also check the quality of your power by monitoring Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Now you´ll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is still saving you money.” From P3 International.

Begin by analyzing your home room by room. Look at your dryer and think of how often you use it. Most of us spend 10% of our energy bills on the dryer. It could be a good time to visit the Urban Clothesline site.

Look at the setting in your refrigerator, or just keep all of your cold items in a tupperware bin outside through the winter. (I’ve really wanted to do this!) You should set your temperature between 35-38 degrees, and keep the freezer at 0. Green $ense referred to: Absocold   ConServ Equator MicroFridge    Summit Compact Refrgerators, Sun Frost as models to reference.

Dishwashers:  Ariston   Asko   Bosch   Danby   Miele

Oh, and lets not forget hot to get rid of old appliances… Energy Star Refrigerator Recycling program Recycle.. it’s the perfect ending.

I’ve recently gotten cash for my electronics through BoneYard.

Do you know that in Rhode Island several communities have adopted a Pay-As-You-Throw program to manage the excessive waste of trash? You have to pay for the bright orange trash bags for trash disposal. The program aims to reduce waste and increase recycling. It allows residents to gauge what comes in because of the price attached to what goes out.

Energy consumption in heating and cooling the places where we live and work is astronomical! Later, when a good building envelope is discussed, we can learn how to keep our inside air in places where it should be. But, as far as how to make a comfortable environment in the first place is another story.

During the summer, when most places are hot, our home attics are extremely warm.  If your house isn’t a passive house which would direct that hot air through natural ventilation, you may consider a few natural ways to let the hot air out by letting it rise. The book discusses solar powered attic fans by Sunrise Solar and I’ve seen them by SolaStar as well. A whole house fan is another option, and Green $ense offered one by Jet Fan USA.

A programmable thermostat is a great idea to consider. In Ohio right now Columbia gas is offering in home Audits for $50. With that a programmable thermostat is offered in the package. This allows you to have heat when you need it most. Not when you aren’t at home, and not when you are under the covers. If you are thinking about building a new home, imagine your house broken into temperature zones. Places where you have a lot of southern light will be warmer, and tend to need different air conditions than do the shady Northern facing rooms. A good architect 😉 can make sure your temperature zones are ducted to properly. See more at the future House Warming post.

The book discussed a fireplace heat exchanger upgrade or and EPA certified insert which I looked up on E How to try to understand a bit better. The idea is that you can insert a new energy-efficient unit into your existing hearth and allow the heat generated by the fire to help generate heat into your home through a blower door.

Inserts for wood-burning fireplaces improve the safety and efficiency of the unit. An insert is a metal firebox, often with a glass door for visible flames, which fits within the fireplace opening, allowing the smoke to be vented through the existing fireplace chimney.-E How

The next idea after lowering consumption is to consider creating your own power using the sun, a local stream, or passing wind.

The hubbub about Solar Panels: Think of them as an appliance you can move with you. the DSIRE is a great website source that offers the most up to date incentives for renewable energies.

Micro-hydropower uses a water to be a generator of energy.

Micro-hydro power systems use an intake box to divert water from the stream and prevent debris from flowing into the system. The water moves through a pipe that is connected to a turbine. The pressure of the water rushing through the turbine causes it to move, which generates electricity. Excess energy is then stored in batteries or diverted to a dump load. –Acreage Anywhere

You must contact several authorities before doing this, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (here), the Army Corps of Engineers, the local county engineers office,   and the system may cost between $5,000-20,000. But, before dismissing this all together, think about cost holistically. The cost of what you are paying your electric or gas company, the cost of what they are possibly doing to the air where they make your power, what is lost in translation, etc. Gauging all factors makes things a different story.

I’ve recently been introduced to the Fujitsu Mini-Split heat pump by a friend who uses the system to create a warm room in his super-insulated home. It is a ductless system that runs coils through your walls to a wall or ceiling mounted unit that heats or cools your air for comfort.

How cool! or… warm?!

Come back Monday for the next series post!

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One thought on “Utilities Use – Electricity

  1. This is the beginning of a long story that begins at the beginning of 2007.
    In view of the landscape that we had at that time for our industry, different people, professionals, universities (I + D + I), technical, etc.etc., We met and decided to give birth to a new concept of our profession :
    What had been until then it was clear he could not be leading the future, so people committed to sustainable, eco-efficiency and energy savings, we decided to light the GECOHOMEPROJECT initiative, under the following principles:
    We knew we had urbanized land too green and too fertile soil, and to follow that line (detached, semidetached, detached, etc.etc.), So we think that the most sustainable and greener was starting to recover as much and many urban sites damaged, we all go home every day for soil and full sun of rodents, so we thought we started well out there attacking.
    We seek the best specialists in green building vertical, we get together and discuss how to tackle this project, reached the following agreement.
    Mount a promoter to turn consulting that specializes in this type of vertical green building and bioclimatic liabilities under concepts, and that the market could not find anyone to solve this problem and provide a solution to solvency.
    Once we have GECOHOMEPROJECT as a project, we realize that this design concept is difficult to explain and, above all to see.So we decided to make a prototype project, which serves as a showroom and as classroom teaching experiments for universities and technical schools. At the same time thought it would be a very compelling sales tool for potential customers, first see what they can do in height and with that result, before investing a single euro.For all of this in the summer of 2007 we started to make this prototype we are presenting today almost finished.
    So this is the story I wanted to tell, people and institutions concerned with the future of their country and its industry move tab in the right direction we believe the sustainability and energy eco-efficiency, with a cutting edge innovation project technology as this video shows the pilot project.http://www.gecohomeproject.com/video.html

    Super-efficient. Cost effective. Carbon-neutrality Within Reach.Today.
    Net Zero Energy Building

    Gecohomeproject
    Gerardo Gonzalez

    Super-efficient. Cost effective. Carbon-neutrality within reach. Today.
    Net Zero Energy Building

    Gecohomeproject
    Gerardo González

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