Thursday, October 30, 2008
Over the years, the PUC added many "cost adjustments" to the electric bill, which watered down the off-peak savings to be had. Eventually, all customers lost interest in the whole program and it was cancelled. These cost adjustments are multiplied by the kwh usage, and now account for around 66% of a residential electric bill. It didn't matter if all the usage was off-peak, these adjustments were still there in full. So, in 1980 if you were saving 2/3 of your bill with off-peak rates, by 2008, your savings would be 2/3 of the remaining 34%, or only 22%.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Anyway, Fluidmaster now makes a new fill valve that refuses to refill if there is a slow leak. As soon as the handle is jiggled, however, it will refill. So a tenant can use it just fine with minimal inconvenience, but the normally wasted water is saved.
This may increase your callbacks in new single family construction, but it's the perfect solution for buildings with maintenance staff.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Perhaps the most surprising lesson is the poor overall system efficiency of the solar thermal DHW preheat system. It shows that these systems may be hardly worth the effort. Ongoing maintenance for a system like this will further degrade the cost/benefit ratio for this subsystem.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Here's the blurb from the tour book:
This large house (4200 square feet) was completed in 2004 and is an updated version of the “
The house is joined to the building next door, which originally contained battery storage for the Denver Tramway system. Now the building houses an office and shop area.
The house is built using SIPs (structural insulated panels). In getting the permits for the house, the
An interesting note is that three of the stained glass windows in the house were designed by a relative of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Passive Solar Features
Mass of 2” of concrete on the floor
Trees planted on the east and west for shade control
3.3 kW system
Utility bill has decreased $55 per month since installation
Thermal Envelope / Thermal Comfort
Insulated above code with SIPS
Interior and exterior shades
Evaporative cooling (unique indoor cooler)
Expanding foam insulation around windows and outlets
Night setback thermostats
Radiant floor backup heating system
Some CFL lights
Motion sensors or timers in the mudroom and garage
6” thick SIPS walls
Thermal breaks at entry doors and perimeter of entire foundation
Pre-plumbed for solar thermal collectors
Lightweight Metal shingles
Energy Star rated
Sealed combustion boiler/hot water heater
Transportation / Lifestyles
50% of all errands are done by bicycle
Light rail is used once a week
Re-Use / Salvaged Materials / Recycle
Reused existing building and converted into a home office from its original purpose
Homeowner trained in solar during the energy crisis of the 70’s
Homeowner holds patents for pneumatic fittings, valves, and a nose hair trimmer
Stained concrete floors
Reused an entire building and converted into a home office
No particle board was used
Low flush toilets (5 out of 5)
Low flow shower heads (3 out of 3)
REC’s and Windsource
On demand hot water system: “Doorbells” in each bath summon hot water without wasting it