residential energy efficiency


I saw this article on Digg.com a couple of weeks and tried to post it. When I went back to Digg to get the article and I could not find it, so I put up an older example. But then I put into Google “recent energy efficiency in the residential market” and there it was. So here it is.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/alternative-power-sources/water-house-slashes-energy-needs-150209.htm

 

‘Water-house’ Slashes Energy Needs

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As UN climate negotiators gather in Geneva this week, one Japan-inspired Hungarian inventor believes he has found a revolutionary and inexpensive way to construct buildings that could slash humanity’s energy needs.

And the magic ingredient for Matyas Gutai’s invention is simple: water. It was launched after a long process of testing and patenting and a decade of research and development at a Japanese university.

“Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water,” the 34-year-old told AFP.

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Public Art Generates Renewable Energy, Beautifully

Play Video
While fossil fuel energy represents the most common class of power generation, solar power just made a big leap forward, hitting 46 percent efficiency.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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We Americans created sprawl and with it a massive amount of energy consumption. Could this be one of the answers?

http://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-micro-apartments-under-construction-2015-2

New York City’s first ‘micro apartments’ are coming this spring — here’s what they’ll look like

In 2013, a project called My Micro NY won a design competition for the New York’s first “micro apartments” sponsored by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Intended to create affordable housing for singles in New York City, those promised prefabricated affordable units are finally being assembled in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be unveiled this spring in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, according to The New York Times.

The city’s first “micro” building will have 55 rental apartments, all ranging from 260- to 360-square-feet with big windows, ample storage space, and Juliet balconies.

Because the architects believed amenities are important to micro-unit dwellers, the building will also have a public meeting space, café, and common rooftop garden for residents, as well as a laundry room, residential storage space, a bike room, and fitness space.

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This is the course I have set for the next few weeks, so bear with me,

 

http://en.vorweggehen.de/energy-efficiency/top-five-energy-saving-tips-for-the-bathroom/

The top five energy-saving tips for the bathroom!

Electric razors or toothbrushes, a long soak in a bubble bath and an on-demand water heater can all affect energy consumption in the bathroom. Read our energy-saving tips for the bathroom to find out how you can save energy without having to do without modern technology.

Energy-saving tips for the bathroom – tip #1: Save water

A dripping tap is not only a nuisance, – it also increases your water consumption. Up to 20 litres can disappear down the plughole unused over the course of a day. Getting it repaired promptly will pay off. You can save more water with this first one of our energy-saving tips for the bathroom: use only as much as water as you really need. Don’t leave the tap running while you are brushing your teeth and use the toilet’s low flush button.

Energy-saving tips for the bathroom – tip #2: Avoid battery-powered devices

From hairdryers and razors to electric toothbrushes, we consume power even in the bathroom. Avoid using battery-powered devices because they use up more electricity than mains-operated appliances. If you cannot do without battery-powered devices, make sure that you charge them properly. Remove the plug after charging, allow the battery to run down completely every now and again and dispose of it properly.

Energy-saving tips for the bathroom – tip #3: Ventilate and heat correctly

It does no harm to turn up the heating in your bathroom every now and again, as a warm bathroom reduces the risk of mold and mildew. When you shower, steam is created, which then forms condensation on walls and windows. If it is too cold in your bathroom, the moisture cannot evaporate and it soaks into the plaster and wallpaper, thus creating the ideal breeding ground for mould and mildew. Make sure when you ventilate your bathroom that the doors to less heated rooms are closed – otherwise the steam from your bathroom will condense on the walls of those rooms and bring their temperature down even further. Open all the windows and doors in your bathroom and turn the heating down. During winter months it is sufficient to ventilate intensively for three to four minutes. This is more efficient than leaving a window half open all day long.

Note: As with so many of these “Ways to save” topics there is so much on the web that you should probably do your own search. There are literally 1000s of articles laying around. This is just a place to get started if you need a reminder.

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To be followed by the living room, the dining room and what the bedroom? I can think of many ways to save energy there.

http://www.resnet.us/library/kitchen/

Kitchen

August 5, 2012

There are a variety of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen, starting with the way you use your appliances to home sealing and replacing your light fixtures.

Floor Vents/Radiators

  • Ensure vent connections and registers are well sealed at floors, walls and ceilings, which are all common areas for disconnected ducts and leakage.
  • Make sure all floor vents and air registers are clear of furniture, allowing air to flow freely.
  • Install heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to reflect heat back into the room instead of onto walls.

Range

  • Use the right sized pots with stove burners; for example, a 6? pot on an 8? burner wastes over 40% of the heat generated.
  • Cover pots and pans when cooking to keep heat in.
  • Learn more:
    • Save up to $36 annually on electric ranges or $18 on gas by simply using the right sized pots on burners.
    • Cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler by covering pots and pans.
    • Keep gas range burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency.

Range Hood

  • Install ENERGY STAR certified range hoods to control moisture and remove cooking odors.
  • Learn more:
    • On average, ENERGY STAR certified ventilation fans use 60% less energy than standard models.
    • Save more than $60 in electricity costs over the life of a fan by replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified one.
    • By using high performance motors and improved blade design, ENERGY STAR certified fans are quieter, perform better and are longer lasting than standard models.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR certified range hoods at home improvement and hardware stores, or ask for them from your HVAC or electrical contractor.

 

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Go there and read a blast from the past. More next week.

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Now the hottest things in the energy conservation world  or at least in the lighting world are LED lights. They come in all shapes and sizes. In fact I have one that I use as a flashlight, but it was intended to be a safety head light for my bicycle. It has been amazingly helpful. This is a complex subject so it will take me a few weeks to get it all posted. But here is a start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode

Light-emitting diode

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source. It is a pn-junction diode, which emits light when activated.[6] When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence, and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.

An LED is often small in area (less than 1 mm2) and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.[7]

Appearing as practical electronic components in 1962,[8] the earliest LEDs emitted low-intensity infrared light. Infrared LEDs are still frequently used as transmitting elements in remote-control circuits, such as those in remote controls for a wide variety of consumer electronics. The first visible-light LEDs were also of low intensity, and limited to red. Modern LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.

Early LEDs were often used as indicator lamps for electronic devices, replacing small incandescent bulbs. They were soon packaged into numeric readouts in the form of seven-segment displays, and were commonly seen in digital clocks.

Recent developments in LEDs permit them to be used in environmental and task lighting. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. Light-emitting diodes are now used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive headlamps, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals, and camera flashes. However, LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are still relatively expensive, and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output.

LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology.

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I know that going from commenting on falling oil prices (and they are still dropping) to talking about a range for cooking in your kitchen will produce screeching sounds from some readers. But I felt a need to get back to this blog’s roots in the residential  housing market so I will just plunge ahead. In my real life I prefer natural gas stoves because I am good with them and not so good with electric. Still if you are like my brother Mike and trapped in an all electric house then this would be the way to go.

http://ovens.reviewed.com/features/the-future-of-induction-cooking-heats-up?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=USAT%20Recirc

The Future of Induction Cooking Heats Up

Cooking with magnets keeps getting better, thanks to clever designs and new innovations.

 

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Liam F McCabe
September 07, 2013

 

The handful of induction cooktops available in the US tend to have fixed zones to fit different pots and pans. If the cookware slips out of the zone, then it won’t cook. But tons of European manufacturers, including big names like Bosch and Electrolux, showed off induction hobs with “flex” cooking areas.

 

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They take to much room, they lower land values, they don’t generate enough income, they are unnecessary, and finally they are a blight on the land. I believe that Grid upgrades are require for the use of alternative energy sources and so I say “Build Baby Build”.

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140802/News/140809877

Wind power drives demand for new transmission lines

By Tim Landis
Business Editor
Posted Aug. 2, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

A second high-voltage transmission line — this one intended for power from Kansas wind turbines — is making its way toward central Illinois.

The Grain Belt Express power line would carry electricity from wind farms in western Kansas across central Missouri and Illinois to Indiana, following the same general corridor as the Illinois Rivers power line already announced by Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois. Illinois Rivers also would carry wind-generated power west to east.

Kansas and Indiana utility regulators have approved the $2 billion Grain Belt project, www.grainbeltexpresscleanline.com, and regulators in Missouri plan to hold public hearings this week. As with the Illinois Rivers project, the Grain Belt Express has generated controversy. Proponents argue for jobs and clean energy. Opponents fear falling land values and health hazards.

Illinois is expected to be the next regulatory stop for the 750-mile power line.

“We’re taking a state-by-state approach to our regulatory process,” said Adhar Johnson, project manager for Grain Belt Express.

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There is such a thing as the cost of doing business.

http://wtax.com/news/101101-ameren-threatens-20-monthly-fee-for-no-smart-meters/

Ameren Threatens $20 Monthly Fee for No Smart Meters

Ameren Illinois says customers who refuse to have an electricity meter installed will see an additional $20 monthly fee on their bills.

Ameren says the so-called smart meters, which transmit details about power usage, enable the utility to pinpoint outage problems and fix them faster. It says the meters can be read remotely and that the $20 fee covers the cost of sending out a person to read the older analog meter.

The company is set to install 780,000 of the new electricity meters in central Illinois and 468,000 upgraded gas meters, which offer similar capabilities.

The Illinois Commerce Commission, the state’s utility regulators, approved the extra charge and said the company should be compensated for meters that require a person to visit them.

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For someone like me that has been at this for so long, you get a little lazy about keeping up with the new stuff so this caught me off guard.

 

http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/the-power-monitor-top-tools-for-watching-your-home-energy-use.html

 

The Power Monitor: Top Tools for Watching Your Home Energy Use

You can reduce electricity use by 15 percent without trying. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t. For those consumers using power monitors, this these are typical reductions. Just by being aware of where and when electricity is used, you’re far more likely to off a few devices or flipping a few light switches that might have been left on before, and can make a big dent in their energy consumption. IBM just solidified this statistic with their recent smart meter pilot program, and those households who really put in the effort showed as much as a 40% reduction on energy use. When looking at ways to monitor the energy consumption in a home, power monitors fit in three big buckets: checking the consumption of single devices or appliances, monitoring the energy use of a whole house, and online dashboards that link up with utility companies as part of a smart grid. The steady advance of smart grid technologies will bring more and more user-friendly options to the table. But for now, here are the three umbrella categories, and a few of the top tools under each that are helping people shrink the amount of electricity they use.

Plug Load Power Monitors

Kill A Watt is a classic example of a plug load monitor. These are power monitors that plug into a wall outlet, and then the device is plugged into them. They monitor how much energy the device is sucking up. They’re a great way to know which devices are power sippers, and which need to be unplugged. Other examples are the Watts Up Pro, which is similar to, but bulkier than the Kill A Watt; and the Brultech ECM-1220, which can monitor not only plug-in devices but also things that are wired into the home or the plug isn’t accessible (like dishwashers or ceiling fans) thanks to a current sensor that clamps onto the cord of the device.

 

The price range is significant, from about $35 for a Kill A Watt, to about $120 for a Watts Up, to about $250 for a Brultech ECM-1120. So your investment can vary, and really depends on how involved you need your basic plug load monitor to be.

You can check out a couple of these reviewed by Jon Plowman, the former head of BBC Comedy, along with some from the next category

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So how would we build a house that consumed as much energy as possible? Well, first let us start with Neon Lighting. I am talking about the old fashioned Las Vegas style. The only lighting allowed in the house.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neon_lighting

Neon lighting

Neon lighting consists of brightly glowing, electrified glass tubes or bulbs that contain rarefied neon or other gases. Neon lights are a type of cold cathode gas-discharge light. A neon tube light is a sealed glass tube with a metal electrode at each end, filled with one of a number of gases at low pressure. A high potential of several thousand volts applied to the electrodes ionizes the gas in the tube, causing it to emit colored light by fluorescence. The color of the light depends on the gas in the tube. Neon lights were named for neon, a noble gas which gives off a popular red light, but other gases and chemicals are used to produce other colors, such as helium (yellow), carbon dioxide (white), and mercury (blue). Neon tubes can be fabricated in curving artistic shapes, to form letters or pictures. They are mainly used to make dramatic, multicolored glowing signage for advertising, called neon signs, which were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The term can also refer to the miniature neon glow lamp, developed in 1917, about seven years after neon tube lighting.[1] While neon tube lights are typically meters long, the neon lamps can be less than one centimeter in length and glow much more dimly than the tube lights. They are still in use as small indicator lights. Through the 1970s, neon glow lamps were widely used for numerical displays in electronics, for small decorative lamps, and as signal processing devices in circuity. While these lamps are now antiques, the technology of the neon glow lamp developed into contemporary plasma displays and televisions.[2][3]

Georges Claude, a French engineer and inventor, presented neon tube lighting in essentially its modern form at the Paris Motor Show from December 3–18, 1910.[4][5][6] Claude, sometimes called “the Edison of France”,[7] had a near monopoly on the new technology, which became very popular for signage and displays in the period 1920-1940. Neon lighting was an important cultural phenomenon in the United States in that era;[8] by 1940, the downtowns of nearly every city in the US were bright with neon signage, and Times Square in New York City was known worldwide for its neon extravagances.[9][10] There were 2000 shops nationwide designing and fabricating neon signs.[11][12] The popularity, intricacy, and scale of neon signage for advertising declined in the U.S. following the Second World War (1939–1945), but development continued vigorously in Japan, Iran, and some other countries.[11] In recent decades architects and artists, in addition to sign designers, have again adopted neon tube lighting as a component in their works

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