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NSTAR "Home Energy report"

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jharkin, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    {Disregard it all, I just noticed the fine print they are comparing me with other households of similar sq ft]

    So, NSTAR gas has launched this new program where they mail us "home energy report cards" that show our gas usage relative to our neighbors. The report shows:

    • the last 12 months of our use
    • the last 12 months average use by all homes in the neighborhood
    • the last 12 months average use by "efficient" homes in the neighborhood.

    Its a good idea in theory, and might just guilt trip a few customers to make improvements and lower consumption. However in practice I find the information practically useless because the consumption is not normalized for size of home, size of household (# people) whether the household uses gas for heat, hot water, cooking or all 3? I also have no idea what the area is that's counted in the "neighborhood" or how they are deciding what an "efficient" household is.

    Right now I score bad, 82nd worst of 100 homes. But this is for summer use, how do I know that the "efficient" house isnt a small 1 bedroom house that only uses gas for heat and is just burning 1/4 of a therm to keep the furnace pilot lit ??? Of course I'll use more making hot water for 4 people and running a gas range to cook!


    rrrrrrrrr
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I figure that's where the 12mos of usage comes in.

    As a comparison, my family of 3 uses ~22 therms per month (different bills are for different # of days) to heat water, dry clothes. I haven't swapped over the stove yet. Of the ~270 KWH I use every month 90 goes to the fridge. I imagine a good deal of what's left is the stove/oven. I'm a wall wart nazi and only have a couple of them plugged in. Some of them are on switchable outlets.

    Matt
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Oh, if I'm not running the woodstove, I use around 100 additional therms when heating the ~1400 sq ft house. I did a good amount of air sealing at the end of last winter and through the summer so that number would hopefully be lower this year.
  4. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Still dont see how a 12 month comparison of just the raw consumption tells me if I am efficient or not...

    Think of this example:
    • Household one is a family of 6 that lives in a large 2500ft2 house but its super insulated and has a 95% furnace.
    • Household two is a single guy living in a 500ft2 apartment with a 50 year old furnace and no insulation.

    In this example household one would probably use a lot more gas, but are they really "inefficient" compared to # 2 ??
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I see your point. Maybe if they made an additional line on their spreadsheet on therms per sq ft used it would be a bit more accurate. They should have square footage of the house. If not, I'm sure they could merge it from the tax records. I think it would be quite the invasion of privacy to start including how many people live in a house. I'd be ticked if they even knew that about my residence.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Ok I am an idiot!


    I looked at it again, and down the bottom there is a note that neighbors are other houses in town of similar sq footage. So maybe its good info after all.

    Looking at the 12 month report I did better than average in the winter and worse than average over the summer for DHW.
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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  8. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    For ng usage in the summer, I agree with you the dataset is probably bogus, even normed by square footage...folks with and w/o ng water heaters will mess it up. Wait for winter data.
  9. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I think the only meaningful measure will be total energy consumption per household member. Otherwise, any number will be skewed by the energy source you are using for major tasks like water heating, cooking etc. Even in the winter someone's NG usage may be low but only because they run 8 cords of green wood trough an old smoke dragon - not really what I would consider efficient.

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