residential energy efficiency


A friend of mine, Nelson Oller, lives in Mason City Illinois and is in Ameren’s service territory. They have a whole house approach to reducing their residential customers electricity consumption. This program is great. They are helping with insulation and state-of-the-art equipment. He has to spent 2 grand for 10 thousand dollars worth of stuff. One of the thinks he was telling me about was a vent fan for the bathroom that could act as a whole house plan. I had never herd of such a thing, but according to this article it has been around for several years now.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/bathroom-exhaust-fans

 

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Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Bath fans help remove odors and moisture — and can be used in some homes to satisfy whole-house ventilation requirements

Posted on Aug 7 2014 by Martin Holladay
Older homes often lack bathroom exhaust fans. In the old days, if the bathroom was smelly or steamy, you were supposed to open a window to air it out.

This isn’t a very logical ventilation method, especially when temperatures are below zero, or when the weather is 90°F and humid. Yet this time-honored method of bathroom ventilation is still enshrined in our building codes. According to the 2009 International Residential Code (sections R303.3 and M1507.3), a bathroom with an operable window does not need to have a bath exhaust fan.

Why do we need exhaust fans?

In spite of the code’s archaic loophole, builders should install an exhaust fan in every bathroom or toilet room — even when the bathroom has a window.

A bath exhaust fan can perform several functions:

  • It can exhaust smelly air, allowing fresher air to enter the bathroom.
  • It can exhaust humid air, allowing dryer air to enter the bathroom.
  • When operated for 24 hours per day or when controlled by a timer, it can act (in some cases) as the most important component of a whole-house ventilation system.
Designing an exhaust-only ventilation system is a topic unto itself, and is beyond the scope of this article. For more information on exhaust-only ventilation systems, see Designing a Good Ventilation System.

Where does the makeup air come from?

When the bathroom door is closed and the fan is operating, where is the makeup air coming from?

If the bathroom has an exterior wall, some of the makeup air is coming from the exterior — for example, through leaks around the window or baseboard.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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To Not talk about how disastrous Trump’s Presidency will be for the environment and the energy industry I decided to return to my roots in the residential market. Todays article is a bit old but its message is timeless. We have been concentrating on single devices like furnaces, refrigerators, windows seen as a whole instead of a holistic approach to a house.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-real-problem-with-energy-efficiency

We’re Doing Residential Energy Efficiency All Wrong

Utilities are now spending nearly $7 billion a year on energy-efficiency programs. It seems we have little to show for it aside from expensive consultants who will model any results you would like.

These programs tend to focus their marketing on the energy savings or money savings from the projects. Consumers don’t care. If they did, we would see geometric growth instead of a resounding “meh.”

Others focus on better financing products, slicker sales pitches, faster energy audits, higher rebates or any of a myriad of other things.

In the residential sector, none of these are the problem. The lack of sales is the problem.

Projects are not being sold and implemented in substantial numbers. We need to slow it down, build relationships with consumers and educate them, learn and think systemically about the problems they have, and arrive at solutions that fit homeowner budgets.

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Go there and read alot. It is a long article. More next week.

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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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Go there and read. More next week.

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I heard this on NPR and I just had to put it up here. I especially like that people like Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump are so out of touch with their base. But what does it say about the Democrats.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/california-republicans-are-5-times-more-likely-to-buy-solar-than-democrats

California Republicans Are 5 Times More Likely to Own Solar Than Democrats

Republican voters and elected officials are generally considered hostile toward renewable energy. That’s likely because many prominent Republicans deny humanity’s contribution to climate change and oppose subsidies for clean energy technologies, despite the fact that fossil fuel industries benefit from billions of dollars in tax breaks.

Instances like the snowball toss made by Republican Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, coupled with his record of voting against clean energy legislation, help to cement the perception that conservatives widely oppose the adoption of low-carbon technologies like solar and wind.

This year’s GOP platform states, “We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy sources — wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, geothermal and tidal energy — by private capital.” However, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly bashed the clean energy sector, called climate change a hoax created by the Chinese, and recently called the solar industry “a disaster.”

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Go there and read. Mores next week. Oh and Happy Holidays everybody.

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Yes, I am writing this to avoid writing about the worst piece of Illinois energy legislation in my lifetime. But it is true that this is a great way to save energy and extend the life of your equipment. In addition the site has other useful cleaning tips.

http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/worst-cleaning-jobs-made-easy/cleaning-behind-under-refrigerator

The Worst Cleaning Jobs Made Easy

Dirty Job No. 7: Cleaning Behind and Under the Refrigerator

Time it takes: 20 to 30 minutes.

Why it matters: Lots of dust on the coils can cause a refrigerator to run inefficiently. And dust under the refrigerator can mix with moisture from the air to gum up the finish on your floor.

Step 1: Pull out the refrigerator by grasping both sides and gently wiggling it toward you; some are on wheels, so this may be easier than you think. When you can, reach behind and pull the plug (your food will survive for the short time it takes to clean). If you have an ice maker, shut off the water supply first, just in case the hose comes loose.

Step 2: To dislodge dust around the condenser coils (the wriggly apparatus in back), use a long, thin tool known as a refrigerator-coil brush (Rubbermaid, $9, acehardware.com), then gently vacuum with a brush attachment. Some refrigerators have their condenser coils behind a removable grille in the front. If yours does, snap off or unscrew the grille and clean the coils, as above.

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Go there, read and get clean. More next week.

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There are some that say yes. There are some they say no. But if you read to the end the Europeans window are better.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/qa-spotlight/do-europeans-make-better-windows-we-do

Do Europeans Make Better Windows Than We Do?

Differences in testing protocols yield different U-factors, but do European manufacturers have a ‘secret sauce’?

Posted on Oct 15 2012 by Scott Gibson
It should come as no surprise that Europe, home of the Passivhaus standard, produces some outstanding windows. Some builders of high-efficiency houses in North America turn to European window manufacturers for their glazing, even though some U.S. and Canadian producers also offer high-performance products of their own.Is there a way to compare the performance data on windows from these two sources? That’s what Steve Young, now planning a Passive House in Climate Zone 5, would like to know.

“I have read many blogs and Q&A pages from this web site and I am still somewhat confused about European windows,” Young writes in Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Yes I am a Headline Whore. But this is a very real nitty gritty get your hands dirty post. Most of the posts here are about environmental theories, or solar power writ large. But many environmental issues involve a compost pile and turning them, or washing off crud from recyclables. In this case if you have grass, and live in town you have to cut it. That means you have maintenance things to attend to. So here they are.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/automotive/lawn-mower-repair/lawn-tractor-maintenance-tips/view-all

The Family Handyman

Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tips

Professional tips that prevent expensive repairs

Following the lawn tractor maintenance advice in your tractor’s manual is the best way to keep it humming along smoothly. But owner’s manuals usually only tell you basically what to do and when to do it—they seldom include the tips and real-world wisdom gained through experience. So we asked veteran mechanics which steps are the most important and how to make lawn tractor maintenance and tubeless tire repair faster and easier.

You’ll save too. Dealers typically charge more than $200 for routine maintenance that includes an oil change and new spark plugs and filters. But you can do all these things—and more—in just a few hours. A lawn tractor maintenance kit from your dealer (less than $75) might cost a few bucks more than buying parts separately but ensures that you get all the right stuff. And new tubes for a tubeless tire repair cost from $5 – $15.

Clean the mower deck

Remove the belt guards and blow off the debris that wrecks belts and pulleys. Scrape away any debris buildup under the pulleys with a screwdriver.

(thus it starts)

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Go there and read a heck of a lot. More next week.

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China is such a huge country and yet they make this list. We don’t and I find this sad. Still the US has made progress and I am ever hopeful.

http://globalwarmingisreal.com/2016/02/15/infographic-worlds-most-energy-efficient-countries/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GlobalWarmingIsReal+%28Global+Warming+is+Real%29

Infographic: World’s Most Energy Efficient Countries

here is a sense of excitement in the wake of a momentous Paris Climate Agreement and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals last year. The “energy revolution” is already underway, the consequences of which are far-reaching, transforming the way we do business, build our homes and live our lives.

But there’s an even more immediate solution available to all of us, and it will not only reduce our carbon footprint, but save money as well. It’s the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency. From the largest business to the smallest household, energy efficiency is the first step in building a sustainable future.

As individuals and businesses go, so goes an entire nation. Courtesy of the home improvement experts at HalfPrice.com.au, the infographic below illustrates the most energy efficient countries in the world, based on information from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). As this infographic demonstrates, one important aspect of promoting energy efficiency is government policy and incentives:

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Go there and read. More next week.

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The November issue of National Geographic magazine is totally devoted to Climate Change. Please read the whole thing, but here is as small taste.

 

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/climate-change/germany-renewable-energy-revolution-text

How Do We Fix It?

Germany Could Be a Model for How We’ll Get Power in the Future

The European nation’s energy revolution has made it a leader in replacing nukes and fossil fuels with wind and solar technology.

By Robert Kunzig
Photographs by Luca Locatelli
Published October 15, 2015

Hamburg knew the bombs were coming, and so the prisoners of war and forced laborers had just half a year to build the giant flak bunker. By July 1943 it was finished. A windowless cube of reinforced concrete, with seven-foot-thick walls and an even thicker roof, it towered like a medieval castle above a park near the Elbe River. The guns protruding from its four turrets would sweep Allied bombers from the sky, the Nazis promised, while tens of thousands of citizens sheltered safely behind its impenetrable walls.

Coming in at night from the North Sea just weeks after the bunker was finished, British bombers steered for the spire of St. Nikolai in the center of the city. They dropped clouds of metallic foil strips to throw off German radar and flak gunners. Targeting crowded residential neighborhoods, the bombers ignited an unquenchable firestorm that destroyed half of Hamburg and killed more than 34,000 people. Towering walls of fire created winds so strong that people were blown into the flames. Church bells clanged furiously.

The spire of St. Nikolai, which somehow survived, stands today as a mahnmal—a memorial reminding Germany of the hell brought by the Nazis. The flak bunker is another mahnmal. But now it has a new meaning: An urban development agency (IBA Hamburg) and the municipal utility (Hamburg Energie) have transformed it from a powerful reminder of Germany’s shameful past into a hopeful vision for the future.

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Go there and read 1000 pages. More next week.

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A self revelation here. I started this because I was bored. Well, I am ending it because I am bored. From here on I am going to blog about what is topical and interesting TO ME. I have done this blog for 8 years and I deserve this freedom. But first, Wisconsin.

http://www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov/

 

The Wisconsin Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources provides services to Wisconsin qualified residential households with energy assistance and weatherization needs.  For more information call 1- 866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) administers the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Public Benefits Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP and its related services help approximately 230,000 Wisconsin households annually. In addition to regular heating and electric assistance, specialized services include:

  • Emergency fuel assistance,
  • Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets,
  • Pro-active co payment plans,
  • Targeted outreach services,
  • Emergency furnace repair and replacement.

Services are provided locally through:

  • County social services offices,
  • Tribal governments,
  • Private non-profit or other government agencies.

For more information on WHEAP, call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

To log in to the WHEAP System click here

To log in to the Home Energy Plus System click here

 

The Wisconsin Weatherization Assistance Program (WisWAP) uses
energy conservation techniques to reduce the cost of home energy.
Correcting health and safety hazards and potentially life-
threatening conditions is the first consideration in WAP activities.

 

To log in to the WisWAP System click here

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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