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bragging: lower energy footprint

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I am just a few days away from moving. 

My friend David went to Mexico for four months and I stayed at his place in Seattle for that time. 

David does a lot of things to keep his power bill low and always thought of himself as a low footprint guy.  When we talk, I think he is using a lot less power than most folks.

In Seattle, the power bills come every two months.  David has lived here for seven years and has never seen a power bill less than $100.  The two most recent power bills (reflecting my stay) were each around $30. 

...... just felt the need to strut a bit ....

Oh - and by the way, the first thing I did was replace all the fluorescent light bulbs with incandescent.   Which is the opposite of what most frugal folks do.






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Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
tee hee hee... you showed him! 

I love fall........I haven't had to do hardly anything to heat or cool the house for a month or more.  I tend to turn on the gas heater in the bathroom when I am bathing  and that is it. days in the 60-70* range and cool nights in the 40-50's.....perfect..... 


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"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 961
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  11
Well, I definitely won't be able to get cudos for this. We have three transformers at the main office, one 10 KW for our home and nursery,  one 35 KW for the furniture factory, and another 10KW we share with the name for the office and mechanic's shop.

But, power here is mainly hydro, and in on plantation, we are putting up wind.


Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
well sounds like you are doing a bit better than we are here..iknow if we had to we could reduce more..but we do enjoy a few niceties..

do feel good about not having our propane tank filled more than one time this year and it is still 43 %


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
it is maybe necessary to do with less but if you want clean energy the fred morgan way of thinkiijng lots of energy but clean is a good idea because you want to pull all the world on board not just the crazy i can do with nothign lot. if you want something you want to pull homer simpson on baord too.
  i have a big complaint about homer simpson that i might have mentioned already.  Girls who want get up and go are going to marry lounge potatoes thinking they will be like Homer Simpson all action. This is a calamity, the program should come with a health warning, "girls, in real li9fe lounge potatoes are lounge potatoes".  agri rose macaskie
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I think I remember somebody trying to tell homer about the environment and he replies "what kind of mint?"

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
really i like the paul wheaton idea too about gettign down to much less electrcity but i want to know what he did. i nlike working the thing from both fronts.

  if you want a full modern gaget mans green answers look up hydrogen home michael strizki in youtube.
      That man is incredbible, you have never seen so many machines in your life, cars,hydrogen powered ones, boats, computers, bateries, converters, ten, thousand galleon hydrogen tanks, electrolylsers,  purification system, that does reverse osmosis and de-ionisation, with a filter and fuel, fuel cel stack, hydrogen fuel cell. All this to store his solar energy. in his batteries and as hydrogen.
      For geo thermal energy using the heat in the soil, a mile of thick copper tubing buried in his yard, heat exchanger, to extract the thermal heat and another doublwalled heat exchanger in order to use the heat extracted to make cold air for the air conditioning, he uses it to heat his bath water and water to wash so two tanks to store the water for those ends. A glimpse through to the drawing room shows his home to be as full of femenin things as his yard and cellar is of masculine ones. The modern man has changed his stone arrowheads for other masculine bits and peices except for those who just hang washing in their kitchen. I am forgetting the chunky gadgets in the farm in order to squash poor paul wheaton a bit. agri rose macaskie.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Really the idea of paul wheaton saving so much energy makes me green with envy, i feel totaly inadequate to copy a feat like that. rose.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Well, I think the keys are (in order):

1)  I dried my clothes on a rack instead of using the dryer.  I think I might have used the dryer twice.  David never used drying racks.

2)  When it got a little chilly, I wore something warmer or put on another blanket rather than turn on the electric heat.  I know that David is much quicker to turn on a bit of heat.

3)  Hot water:  showers were brief, and I do the dishes in a way that uses very little water.  David's showers are longer and he uses much more water than I do when doing the dishes.

4)  I'm a big fan of LED night lights.  David used just one incandescent night light and he had a fluorescent light that he kept on 24x7.

5)  I like incandescent lights, and I'm pretty good at turning off lights when not in use.  And use just enough light to get by.  David tends to light up a lot of the house and leave the lights on.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Two more:

6)  I didn't cook very often.  I'm not sure how often David cooks in comparison.

7)  David uses a stove top kettle several times a day.  I use this electric kettle once a day.

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
    I suppose Homer Simpson is not centred enough to help much agianst global warming or as a permaculturist, marge would be much better you have to potentiat women.
    It is very puritan to use a kettle just once a day.
  i dinot used to have heating, my husbande got heating in the end and it was because of pollution that i did not try to persuade him to get heating but i had a gas cylinder heater and i did sometimes heat the house leaving the oven on when we did not have heating and i dont know how that woudl all add up. madrid is cold but not as cold as London say which is humid cold.
  I am really bad at turning out lights.
  The only time in my life i have been in a house with a drier was my parents when the were retired. I think europe did not go so crazy on driers as America did. Maybe the culture of airing things and suning them was too big. The dislike of haivng a ouse full of steam and fluff is another reason for not having drriers,plus the space they take up- I think they're horrible. agri rose macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
My friend went to mexico again.  He shut off the hot water and lots of other stuff.  The only thing on was the fridge and he had some lights on timers to make it look like the house was lived in. 

The bill for a two month period in the middle:  $23.46. 

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
SO you have to learn to wash in cold water. was it winter was it cold. learn to ear jerseys.
b a friend who was pretty poor just kept on eroom in hi shouse warm, gosh it was cold going to the loo.he had i+¡his bed partitioned off in hta tlivign rooom in summer he changed rooms living room and bed room.
  Get fat it keeps you warm eat blubber. Also being fat  keeps you heart busy, it means theire is more blood and lymph to cirulate not so cool. 
    I have an idea for a cool box, a box inside a pottery box with water in between the two boxes. The outside box at anyrate being the  porous sort of pottery, biscuit fired,that keeps cool because water held in it  evaporates from it.
    In spain, builders and other workers in the great outdoors in the summer sun used to use a pottery bottle for their drinking water, with a spout to drink from and a bigger hole corked to fill up the bottle. This bottle is called a  botijo. It keeps the water cool in the desert, because the potter is porous and there is a certain amount of evaporation of the water in the bottle from the outside of the bottle.
  My cool box woudl be perfect to keep vegetabes in summer a fridge makes fruit too cold. agri rose macaskie.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
In a new place.  When I get the power bill, it compares my energy usage to the guy before me.  During the summer my usage seemed about 30% less.  But I'm pretty sure that the guy before me did his laundry somewhere else and that's a big part of the savings. 

But this place has only electric heat - so I think I'll be able to come out way ahead of him playing the heating game.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I posted this out to reddit in the frugal section and it was quickly downvoted into oblivion.  I used the title "I knocked 70%+ off of the power bill. And as part of the strategy, I replaced CFL with incandescent. That's right, I ditched fluorescent."

One person said that it was a red herring.

I think that person missed the point.  The point was that the amount of power one can save be switching to fluorescent is trivial.  The real energy savings come with other things. 

Further, I really think all this hype about fluorescent has far more to do with making money for light bulb manufacturers, than to save energy.  And when people talk about the ROI with using fluorescent, they are not taking into account the slice of their tax money that was used to subsidize fluorescent.



wardd Hatfield


Joined: Nov 13, 2010
Posts: 29
paul wheaton wrote:
I posted this out to reddit in the frugal section and it was quickly downvoted into oblivion.  I used the title "I knocked 70%+ off of the power bill. And as part of the strategy, I replaced CFL with incandescent. That's right, I ditched fluorescent."

One person said that it was a red herring.

I think that person missed the point.  The point was that the amount of power one can save be switching to fluorescent is trivial.  The real energy savings come with other things. 

Further, I really think all this hype about fluorescent has far more to do with making money for light bulb manufacturers, than to save energy.  And when people talk about the ROI with using fluorescent, they are not taking into account the slice of their tax money that was used to subsidize fluorescent.






the savings on one bulb may be small but on millions of bulbs no

and they last several times as long
hobbssamuelj Hatfield


Joined: Oct 15, 2010
Posts: 95
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
wardd wrote:
the savings on one bulb may be small but on millions of bulbs no

and they last several times as long


i switched to cfl's when we bought our house in 2008.  i was buying supplies and just starting out and just bought some.  i've replaced 4 total in an entire 1600 square foot house that is split between myself and my upstairs tenant in about 2 years.

i can't say that it's made any kind of difference in my overall energy useage.  if it has, it ain't much.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
as somebody who frequently drops and breaks things, fluorescent lights alarm me.  I don't want to have to evacuate my home if I accidentally break a light bulb.  that's happened several times.  if there comes a time when they no longer contain mercury, maybe I'll feel better about them.  addressing my own clumsiness doesn't seem to have borne much fruit.  and I just don't like buying toxic stuff.  I do understand that there is mercury involved in some forms of electricity generation, though.

does anybody have any info on embodied energy of fluorescent compared to incandescent bulbs?


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rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
tel jetson, i have  a vision of a man swinging canes around in the air or chairs or somthing when you say you might break flourescent lights, it makes me laugh.
    Flourescent lights are not very nice, they flicker, and they remind me of school, yuck. Aren't led lights set to take over shortly.  agri rose
Whisper McCoy


Joined: Oct 29, 2010
Posts: 18
We're full-time RV'rs.  We have a 1987 35ft long, 8ft wide (no slide outs)unit.  Honestly, it seems that the words "insulation" and "energy efficient" weren't even considered when they built this thing! If it's 50 degrees outside, it'll be 51 degrees inside about 5 minutes later! We're in Fla, and when the cold days come, (yup, we have some cold days here a few times each winter season) I have to run two small 110v ceramic type (for safety) heaters full blast to keep warm.  Heaters like that put out 1500watts max on high each. They sometimes run non-stop on the coldest days.
    The one thing I've done with amazing results was to paint my roof-solid aluminum sheet-with a product that has NASA backed technology in it in the form of microscopic ceramics.  The ceramics stop heat transfer.  Before, in the summer, placing my hand on the ceiling, it would be downright hot.  After, it stayed cool!  This stuff is way more than just white paint.  Do a search on ceramic paint additive to find out.  If anyone is getting ready to paint their house, putting this on should produce substantial energy savings, among other benefits, too. I'd like to hear from anyone who's done this, too.
Storm V Spooner


Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 144
Whisper, you are right about those ceramic beads. I've been using them on customers' projects for years and love them. I've used them in attic spaces to reduce the heat created in the space in the summer, which also increases the life of the roof. I have also used them on traditional siding to help prevent solar gain (most of my uses have been in the south so heat gain is more of a concern than heat loss).

They are amazing but also simple. These are very tiny beads, smaller than sand, which have a empty (vacuum) space inside which prevents heat from transferring through them. Add these to paint and go to town.


To love the world is to want to know it. To know the world we must accept it. To accept it we use reason to understand it. Never should we shun reason or condemn it.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
I browsed the Hy-Tech website for a while just now reading about this ceramic additive.  would that stuff be suitable for painting on stove parts and wall shields to allow less space between the two?
Whisper McCoy


Joined: Oct 29, 2010
Posts: 18
I couldn't say, Tel but I'd be mighty tempted to use it on the inside of any outside facing wall I was going to build a rocket stove on if I wasn't going to paint the whole wall.  And oh, how I wished I had put this down on my RV sub floor when we took up the old carpet and put down laminate! And I would definitely use it on those solar window heaters I've seen on youtube where they put aluminum cans in rows.  It would be a great reflector for the back and sides of those units.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
Whisper, did you buy this stuff locally or online?
Whisper McCoy


Joined: Oct 29, 2010
Posts: 18
Got it from a dealer in Orlando that I met.  I don't know if it's available at retail stores or not.  I haven't looked.
Storm V Spooner


Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 144
Tel, I would not use regular paint with the additive for that purpose, but if you could get ahold of some high heat paint, that might just work. The regular (whether latex or alkyd) would fail and pull the ceramic beads down with it I believe.

BTW I've used Hy-Tech a few times and been happy with them. FWIW.

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  I have kjust looked it up found lots of articles on this product in google with the words, microscopic ceramics insulation-, that tell of how it was developed by nasa as you all said and that it is tiny balls of glass or ceramics and as storm says, 'hi tech' has a paint of the sort.
  It seems it can be called, ceramic coating or insulation paint or thermal paint. agri rose macaskie.
Storm V Spooner


Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 144
Hy Tech also sells just the beads. I always just bought the beads because it is cheaper and I could use a higher quality of paint for the carrier.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
Storm wrote:
Tel, I would not use regular paint with the additive for that purpose, but if you could get ahold of some high heat paint, that might just work. The regular (whether latex or alkyd) would fail and pull the ceramic beads down with it I believe.

BTW I've used Hy-Tech a few times and been happy with them. FWIW.


that was the idea.  the local hardware stores carry high-temp paint.  I'm putting a stove in a pretty small space without a lot of extra room and most of the options for shields and insulation that I've seen are pretty expensive.  a small can of high-temp paint and some of these crazy NASA beads should be rather more affordable.

glad to hear about a good experience with Hy-Tech, too.
Storm V Spooner


Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 144
You might even be able to apply it directly to cementaceous board, adding even more protection.

I'd be interested in hearing how this all works out as it might allow me to change the current planned location for my RMH or wood stove..
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
I'll definitely document the whole thing.  there has already been a request for photographs, so I'll start another thread when the time comes.  earliest start would be next weekend, as a major component hasn't arrived yet.  I think I'll end up with about six inches between the stove and the wall, which is pretty tight from what I've read.

there are a couple of thin shields behind the existing heater that look like they could be something like the cementaceous board you mentioned.  they have protected the cedar walls from the electric heater just fine for thirty-five years, but I intend to generate quite a bit more heat with the new stove.  I'll paint the wall side of the stove and these shields with this stuff.
Len Ovens


Joined: Aug 26, 2010
Posts: 1238
Location: Vancouver Island
    
  14
Whisper wrote:
    The one thing I've done with amazing results was to paint my roof-solid aluminum sheet-with a product that has NASA backed technology in it in the form of microscopic ceramics.  The ceramics stop heat transfer.  Before, in the summer, placing my hand on the ceiling, it would be downright hot.  After, it stayed cool!  This stuff is way more than just white paint.  Do a search on ceramic paint additive to find out.  If anyone is getting ready to paint their house, putting this on should produce substantial energy savings, among other benefits, too. I'd like to hear from anyone who's done this, too.


For a different slant on this see:

http://renaissanceronin.wordpress.com/ceramic-insulation/

This guy turns containers into homes (lots of them), and this stuff would make lots of sense for him... He says it seems to work fine in southern US places... he would like to see some studies where it snows. A good read anyway.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
Len wrote:
For a different slant on this...


I certainly wouldn't expect this stuff to take the place of good thermal insulation for living spaces in hot and cold conditions.  the Hy-tech stuff is cheap enough that I don't mind trying it out for insulating against radiant heat from a rocket stove.

depending on how ambitious I get, I may try a layman's test of how effective it is vs. no coating at all.  I'm not really set up to get much more complicated than a thermometer and a stopwatch, though.
Andy Commons


Joined: Oct 14, 2010
Posts: 27
Hi Paul,
I just had an energy audit done on my home as a way to find where I could make improvements.
I mentioned to the auditor the idea of drying clothes on an indoor line. he was quite appalled at the idea, due to the increased moisture the drying process would add to the home. This in turn could create mold and other moisture problems. His comment was, "You might as well just point the dryer vent into your home. The increase in moisture would be the same".
Seems scientifically accurate, but I suppose if this excess moisture was alloted for (running an exhaust fan, or if your home had an air exchange system) it might not be a problem.

I would caution folks to consider all the effects of taking an action like drying clothes on an indoor line. You could safe money on the dryer side, but create a very expensive mold problem instead.

-Andy


paul wheaton wrote:
Well, I think the keys are (in order):

1)  I dried my clothes on a rack instead of using the dryer.   I think I might have used the dryer twice.  David never used drying racks.

...


Andy Commons
Muzhik McCoy


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
Andy, let me guess: the person doing the energy audit worked for the power company, right?

Your house should have at least 30% humidity but no more than 50%.  More than that and you get mold and mites.  Less than that and you start experiencing drying of skin and nasal passages.  During the winter time, most people WANT more moisture -- that's why they buy humidifiers to use in the winter.  Drying your clothes on a line indoors might be the healthiest thing to do in the winter.

As for "just pointing the drier vent into your home", he says that like it's a BAD thing!  The biggest problem there is lint that doesn't get caught by the drier's lint filter.  There are several products out there that can connect to your drier vent and direct the filtered output into your home.  My parents got by on using an old nylon folded on itself several times then stretched over the drier tube with a rubber band.  You've already spent good money heating the air; why throw it outside?

So long as your humidity levels in the house don't get over 50% on a continuous basis (the humidity is going to go up when you make spaghetti or boil potatoes), then don't worry!
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
On the dryer vent inside thing.... please always remember to mention this only applies to electric driers, not natural gas or propane. Those will not only add extra moisture from clothing and the combustion process, but all the other nasty byproducts of combustion as well.
Leif Kravis


Joined: Oct 03, 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Toronto Canada
With regards to Hy-tech, i have used some of their products over the last 10 years, i have used their premix insulating paint over asphalt tiles on a sunroom, it reduced summer heat gain by about 15 degrees in that room. i also have used the ceramic bead additive on outside walls of the house interior when repainting, again works well and helps both winter and summer, reduces heat gain and tends to reflect heat back into the room in winter, not huge  savings in the indoor applications, but i figure my thermostat is set at 2 degrees below what it would be otherwise, so worth it, plus its durable and washable, reduces wear from cleaning.  they also have a large product line, Tel there is a high temp paint formulated for industrial use.

Cheers
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 2980
Location: woodland, washington
    
  49
Leif wrote:
Tel there is a high temp paint formulated for industrial use.


yeah, I saw that.  I don't think it's worth paying for the shipping, though.  I bought little can of high temp paint from the local store for $12 today.  might not be quite as effective, but I'm not made of money.
Muzhik McCoy


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
don miller; MountainDon wrote:
On the dryer vent inside thing.... please always remember to mention this only applies to electric driers, not natural gas or propane. Those will not only add extra moisture from clothing and the combustion process, but all the other nasty byproducts of combustion as well.


Ahhh.  Good point.  I've only used electric driers and never considered that natural gas or propane would be different.

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
On damp in houses from drying clothes, I have read that if you seal the outside walls of your house  something some people do, then your walls no longer breath the moisture can't get through them  and you get a lot of damp in the house from cooking, baths and wet clothes. My uncle and aunt sealed their house and then complained of the damp in it. People  seal their houses to keep the damp out but it keeps the damp in.
      In some places, in England for example, damp is a problem anyway whether or not you dry clothes in the house but in others like Spain the air is very dry even in winter, so drying clothes indoors might better the air by stopping it from being too dry. agri rose macaskie.
 
 
subject: bragging: lower energy footprint
 
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