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How does your home's energy usage compare?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by semipro, May 20, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I only wish England would keep their high petrol prices, classically awful food, and funny little cars. And America would stay a little less civilized with 7-liter engines under the hoods of muscle cars driven by men who look and act like Harry Callahan. I wish the Japanese still wore Kimonos, the Chinese still built magnificent temples to Buddha, and tribes in Africa still lived the way of countless generations before them. It's the differences that make this world and traveling interesting, and I wonder how the global homogenization we've seen in recent decades really helps anyone.

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  2. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I really wasn’t trying to derail the thread into a UK/US environmental/political discussion, my point was that the calculator doesn’t give enough (any?) credit for inherent decisions such as house size, only for how efficient that house is. As someone else pointed out, if you say that you live alone in a 5000sqft house, your score is somewhat relative to others also living alone in a huge house. I don’t see that house size should be included in the score at all, but possibly only used to recommend improvements.

    TE
  3. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    One little chart can't do it all for everyone. Comparing energy usage is useful because it may result in some doing things to use less energy than they did before and less than others. Some people are motivated by this comparison. Good. Others are motivated to conserve by other things, like saving money so that the money may be used for something more useful to them. Others are motivated by an ethic, etc.

    One benefit of anything that causes people to use less energy is that people have changed their behavior, and I am a strong believer that behavior shapes values more than values shape behavior. So, behaviors that result in conservation lead to an increase in conservation values, which may lead to more awareness of the benefits of conservation and help a person to be more likely to adopt other conservation behaviors to support their increased value of conservation.

    Perhaps the chart should have a "Do you want to know or do more?" link at the end. That link might include info on structure size, passive solar siting, lowering the heat and raising the cooling temperature, living closer to where a person works, walking or biking rather than using a motor vehicle, etc.

    On that last point, I wanted to make a bank deposit yesterday, weather was OK, and I decided to ride my bicycle instead. I live 14 miles from the town where the bank is, and I decided to take a little different, more scenic route, so my round-trip ride was 37 miles. No use of gasoline, healthier and fitter body, and improved state of mind. Priceless.
    Highbeam likes this.
  4. goldfishcastle

    goldfishcastle Member

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    9.9 using actual numbers. We average 100kwh/mo. We heat with gas and wood. Our budget bill is $36/mo for both gas and electric. But we are always looking for ways to save energy.

    We installed the wood stove in 2008 because my husband was tired or hearing me complain about being cold. It reduced our gas consumption 40% and my complaining 90% so it was a success. We haven't used our dryer in years. Those were our 2 biggest changes.
  5. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I wish I could convince my wife of that. <> Right now, it is usually me rushing to get the clothes out of the washer and on the drying rack before my wife gets her hands on them.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We just added to our electric bill. Sold the Prius and traded for a Volt. It's on the charger now. The solar panel input should balance this out, but it will need to be tracked for confirmation.
    Vic99 likes this.
  7. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

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    Begreen, please update on this as time goes on. I'm thinking of getting a volt as well, maybe next year. We also have a PVC system.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    A buddy at work got a Volt last year, and loves it. When I started pressing him about how much his electric bill must have gone up, he said it really didn't have much of an impact. He's driving about 20 mi./day for work, and said the hit to his electric bill is surely under $30/mo.

    16 kWh / 35 miles range = 0.457 kWh/mi = 7.3 cents/mile @ 16 cents / kWh, so the math supports his claim.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Cool! I admit that this would be a fun experimental car to test out. Seems the smartest way to go.

    I have been having excellent luck with my 100$ efergy energy monitor which would alllow you to log consumption on any one circuit as well as the home.

    Did you have to install a new charger circuit to the panel? What type of plug/circuit is the new one?
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Range varies a lot with terrain, temperature and the driver. On the Volt forum I'm reading that careful drivers are blowing away the 40 mile range. We have lots of steep hills that are part of our normal roundtrips so I don't expect to see that happen. But my first trip with the car showed that if you know how to use regen well you can definitely extend range. With electric drive, by shifting into low you don't affect any engine speed, but it really ups the deceleration and regen braking when you let up on the gas. It takes a little getting used to but works well. I went downhill on a curvy road and never hit the brakes until the stop sign at the bottom. All you do is let up on the gas and it feels like someone popped a chute out behind the car. You control the degree of 'drag' by the accelerator position. Our electric is at .10/kwh so I am not expecting a big hit at the meter, we'll see. Today I take a longer journey that will push the range limit.
    Vic99 likes this.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No 240v charger yet. I'm using the provided 120v charger. I have to wire a new circuit for the 240v charger. I'm not sure which one I am going to get yet, there are several choices. The least expensive will charge at the Volt's limit of 16 amps. But I may get a 30 amp unit for future prep. The cost is a couple hundred more. I'll plug the charger into the Kill A Watt to track consumption for tonight's charge.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I've been pulling hundreds of feet of wire in the shop over the last few weekends putting in everything from 50 amp welder and boiler circuits, 30 amp 240 air compresor circuits, and 30 amp 120 RV circuits to many 20 amp outlets. I've learned that a 30 amp circuit using 10 gauge romex is very cheap and easy to install. No more difficult than a 20 amp outlet circuit and the wire is only slightly more expensive. I've got an extra 50 feet if you want to come and get it!

    The current 16 amp inlet limit means it is designed for a 20 amp circuit using the 80% rule.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Correct. Pulling some 12/2 for a 20A/240v circuit is no big deal. It would definitely be the cheapest route. I think a full level 2 charge is 32A, so I would need a 40A breaker and to pull 8/2 for this circuit if I wanted to do it proper. The run would be about 64 ft.
  14. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    You might want to consider what it would take to run the Volt as a backup generator for the house.
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Wait, playing off my recent thread about manual transmissions... shouldn't the auto trans be programmed to optimize this, automatically?
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's been done with the Prius. Not sure how to do this on the Volt, but it has a whopping big generator (80-90Kw?). Given the cost of the car I am not going to hack it. I have a nice new inverter genset for the house emergency power. Runs on propane and is ready to go. That said I suppose one could hook up a 1KW inverter to the Volt's 12V system safely.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    My electric boiler to feed the radiant slab heat is fed with 8 gauge copper. Since I pulled it in conduit I was able to use a 50 amp breaker. They downrate 8/2 romex to 40 amps and it is very expensive to buy per foot. I was able to buy the two 8 gauge wires, plus one 10 gauge for ground, 70 feet long for 75$. Conduit is cheap and makes me feel better than stapling 8/2 romex to the wall.

    So give us the details. Was the volt new? Cost? how about the incentives from various governments? Do you anticipate a new road tax to make up for the fact that you and many others are not paying your "fair" share?
    Might be time for a new thread.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, it probably is time for a new thread. This one is getting badly hijacked. ;em 90 miles on her so far, all electric.
  20. goldfishcastle

    goldfishcastle Member

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    My husband suggests that the money saved for a few months goes to flowers or lattes or whatever will pique you wife's interest.

    (And to think I thought I was cooperative and he generous).
  21. Where2

    Where2 New Member

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    Can't wait to get my grid-tie PV array completed, so I can go back to tinkering with the automated PV drying system. I've got a 20W PV panel, and three 130CFM 5" muffin fans (6W each @ 12V). The setup has a collection of 12V 5Ah batteries, and a Morningstar charge controller, so I am not limited to drying only during daylight hours.

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