heat pump


Instead of investing in renewables and conservation. They fought them tooth and nail. Now they are paying the price.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/power-to-the-people

Power to the People

Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous.

     Mark and Sara Borkowski live with their two young daughters in a century-old, fifteen-hundred-square-foot house in Rutland, Vermont. Mark drives a school bus, and Sara works as a special-ed teacher; the cost of heating and cooling their house through the year consumes a large fraction of their combined income. Last summer, however, persuaded by Green Mountain Power, the main electric utility in Vermont, the Borkowskis decided to give their home an energy makeover. In the course of several days, coördinated teams of contractors stuffed the house with new insulation, put in a heat pump for the hot water, and installed two air-source heat pumps to warm the home. They also switched all the light bulbs to L.E.D.s and put a small solar array on the slate roof of the garage.

The Borkowskis paid for the improvements, but the utility financed the charges through their electric bill, which fell the very first month. Before the makeover, from October of 2013 to January of 2014, the Borkowskis used thirty-four hundred and eleven kilowatt-hours of electricity and three hundred and twenty-five gallons of fuel oil. From October of 2014 to January of 2015, they used twenty-eight hundred and fifty-six kilowatt-hours of electricity and no oil at all. President Obama has announced that by 2025 he wants the United States to reduce its total carbon footprint by up to twenty-eight per cent of 2005 levels. The Borkowskis reduced the footprint of their house by eighty-eight per cent in a matter of days, and at no net cost.

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I am really shocked by this article. The idea that residential energy consumption could change so dramatically  in only 16 years is so amazing. Its like when we shifted to coal or later when we shifted to natural gas and then electricity. Only nobody is really talking about it.

 

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10271

March 7, 2013

Heating and cooling no longer majority of U.S. home energy use

For decades, space heating and cooling (space conditioning) accounted for more than half of all residential energy consumption. Estimates from the most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), collected in 2010 and 2011 and released in 2011 and 2012, show that 48% of energy consumption in U.S. homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 58% in 1993. Factors underpinning this trend are increased adoption of more efficient equipment, better insulation, more efficient windows, and population shifts to warmer climates. The shift in how energy is consumed in homes has occurred even as per-household energy consumption has steadily declined.

While energy used for space conditioning has declined, energy consumption for appliances and electronics continues to rise. Although some appliances that are subject to federal efficiency standards, such as refrigerators and clothes washers, have become more efficient, the increased number of devices that consume energy in homes has offset these efficiency gains. Non-weather related energy use for appliances, electronics, water heating, and lighting now accounts for 52% of total consumption, up from 42% in 1993. The majority of devices in the fastest growing category of residential end-uses are powered by electricity, increasing the total amount of primary energy needed to meet residential electricity demand. As described in yesterday’s Today in Energy, increased electricity use has a disproportionate effect on the amount of total primary energy required to support site-level energy use.

Other notable trends in household energy consumption include:

  • The average U.S. household consumed 11,320 kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity in 2009, of which the largest portion (7,526 kWh) was for appliances, electronics, lighting, and miscellaneous uses.
  • On average, residents living in homes constructed in the 1980s consumed 77 million Btu of total energy at home. By comparison, those living in newer homes, built from 2000 to 2009, consumed 92 million Btu per household, which is 19% more.
  • Space heating accounted for 63% of natural gas consumed in U.S. homes in 2009; the remaining 37% was for water heating, cooking, and miscellaneous uses.

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I mean really if they are going to drop their insistence on solar panel installations as part of a retrofit then why keep the name? Are they now a software company or are they now a software and then install whatever company? Good questions with no answers. It would be like Tide if it were to stop making soap and started making dishwashers. Would they keep the name and why?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-peak-at-solarcitys-new-energy-efficiency-software?

Has SolarCity Created the Amazon 1-Click for Energy Efficiency?

 

“We believe SolarCity has the best database of residential energy use of anyone in the world.”

 

Stephen Lacey: June 28, 2013

 

After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.

 

GTM’s Eric Wesoff recently reported on SolarCity’s evolving business plan and the resulting changes that company executives say will scale residential efficiency in the same way solar services have scaled residential solar.

 

But solar is very different from efficiency. For the most part, solar is very standardized and installations are uniform from home to home. Efficiency retrofits encompass an extraordinarily broad category of activities and skills. Incentives are also quite different for efficiency, making it more complicated from a financial perspective. That’s why only a handful of U.S. solar contractors have offered efficiency as an in-house service.

 

SolarCity decided that doing the retrofit work itself was not the best way to scale. Instead, it has turned from manpower to the power of big data.

 

The secret sauce is a “simulation engine” that shows homeowners exactly how much they’re spending on energy everywhere in their house. The initial database was created using information from 16,000 home energy audits performed over the last five years. It relies on an algorithm developed at the Department of Energy that crunches 100 million calculations per home for each individual energy efficiency audit (which is still performed by SolarCity when installing solar).

 

“The simulation software looks at every component in a home in relation to one another,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive. “Every ten minutes, it thinks about what one thing is doing and about its effect on the rest of the systems within the home.”

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Good article and it just goes to show that America is always behind. We cede way to much to the powerful and pay the price. I would be willing to bet that we could half those numbers again with the proper research and development.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/06/11/europes-clothes-dryers-consume-half-as-much-energy-as-americas/?ss=business%3Aenergy

William Pentland

William Pentland, Contributor

Europe’s Clothes Dryers Consume Half As Much Energy As America’s

Like the vast majority of U.S. households, I own a clothes dryer that accounts for a non-trivial share of my electricity consumption. Like the vast majority of my fellow Americans, I would likely pay a lot less to dry my clothes if I lived in Europe.

Based on a new study by Ecova, an energy consulting firm in Spokane, WA, Europe’s embrace of new heat pump technologies is largely responsible for the transatlantic disparity in the energy efficiency of clothes dryers. Unlike Europe, heat pump technology has yet to arrive in North America.

There are 87 million residential dryers in the U.S. These clothes dryers account for 6% of residential electricity consumption, which is roughly equivalent to the electricity consumed annually by the entire state of Massachusetts (60 billion kWh per year). The annual cost of operating America‘s clothes dryers adds up to about $9 billion.

The energy efficiency of North American clothes dryers has made at most modest gains over the past two decades. By contrast, the energy attributed to washer use has decreased by about 70% since 1992.

Ecova compared the energy consumption of currently available European heat pump dryers to North American conventional electric dryers spanning a wide range of sizes, prices, features, and manufacturers.

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