I won’t be buying any more CFLs (compact fluorescent light-bulbs). Time for LEDs!
1. CFLs apparently often leak UV!!! — 2013 NIH report: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/120-a387/
2. CFLs usually don’t last NEARLY as long as claimed (in my experience) especially in down-facing applications where they get especially hot
3. Cleanup of broken ones is a pain (worrying about mercury)
So that’s enough for me to jump ship to LEDs now that they are starting to be almost reasonably priced.
Excellent: Philips 409904 / 423343 Dimmable AmbientLED 12.5-Watt A19 Light Bulb (good Amazon availability)
Also excellent is a similar one from CREE. Not sure Amazon has a good stock of them, but I think HomeDepot has them.
We’re moving soon to a “normal house” built in 1958, and that means beginning to ponder what heating-system, insulation and air-sealing projects to embark on.
My go-to blogger will be Marc Rosenbaum:
Here’s what we will be working with. The house is a split-level with 4 different living levels all separated by half-flights.
My first thought is that the way to go is to get a pellet-stove installed in the main living area. There’s a good central spot for one. The house is currently heated with a forced-hot-air (FHA) furnace with smallish “high-velocity” ductwork. But my guess is that in the winter it probably heats up the basement level like crazy, which is a waste since we won’t use that much. So like with our pellet stove in our previous Shutesbury, MA house** (and with Marc in his post above), getting point-source heat (a pellet stove) directly on the living floor will make a lot of sense. It will effectively limit the amount of space we are heating.
(**Our basement in Shutesbury definitely got down to at least 45 if not 40 sometimes. And we still ran the FHA occasionally. Nice.)
Other obvious things will be to improve the insulation on the 3 attic hatches. (as in… add insulation and air sealing. There is none now!)
And generally go nuts with cellulose in the attic.
And ponder what to do about the rooms above the 1 car garage since there is probably no insulation in those floors. Or basically none.
Payback will be an important consideration.
“Our oil problem is not that “we’re running out.” Our oil problem is that we’re producing so much of the stuff that we are changing the planet’s climate.”
– David Frum, ‘Peak oil’ doomsayers proved wrong
True on climate, but the commenters at the article have it right:
“[W]e are extraordinarily blessed with a moment of respite to temporarily postpone the extremely difficult economic environment brought on by the decline of abundant oil….but it is only temporary, and we would be wise to use this moment to prepare ourselves.”
My comments: Keep bringing on the bikes, insulation, and solar.
“The DCSD [Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty] cited The Skeptical Environmentalist (book by Bjorn Lomborg) for:
-Fabrication of data;
-Selective discarding of unwanted results (selective citation);
-Deliberately misleading use of statistical methods;
-Distorted interpretation of conclusions;
-Deliberate misinterpretation of others’ results.”
“On February 13, 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint against the DCSD’s decision with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MSTI), which oversees the group.”
And they overturned it. And then:
“A Dutch think tank, Heidelberg Appeal, published a report in which it claimed 25 out of 27 accusations against Lomborg to be unsubstantiated or not pertinent. A group of related scientists also published an article in 2005 in the Journal of Information Ethics, in which they concluded that most criticism against Lomborg was unjustified, and that the scientific community had misused their authority to suppress the author.”
And now a website with a page-by-page critique of the book. http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/
It pains me to say it, but our house is for sale.
We love love love this place, but the daily carpool/commute to our kid’s school in N Framingham is killing us. It’s 17*4 = 68 minutes in a car. When it could obviously be 5 or 10 if we lived closer.
So inquire quickly if you are interested! It’s been on MLS for only a day and we’ve already had several pings. google: 147 N Shore Dr, Stow MA 01775
The basic ideas of the house is:
- IAQ (indoor air quality)
- Comfort (living with no drafts and even air temps is an amazing experience)
- Daylighting. All of our rooms (including our bathrooms and basement) have nice daylighting.
- *Insanely* energy efficient (we EARN over net $1100 on our utility bills due to solar SRECs)
- Durable (little or no maintenance needed… hardiplank siding, hardwood floors, etc)
- “Passive Survivability” (I like that we can lose power and not worry about the house getting too cold very quickly or pipes bursting)
- Someday… homestead. There is a LOT of space in the front (S) of the house for a suburban vegetable “victory garden”. If we were more ambitious, I assume we could easily grow all our veggies.
I’ll follow up soon with some photos…
“[People claim] that rich countries are better environmental stewards than poor countries. The widely cited Environmental Performance Index published annually by Yale and Columbia universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum show this claim to be false. … Ecuador sits in 31st place, ahead of Canada (37th) and the United States (49th). Four other relatively poor Latin American nations outperform Canada, including Costa Rica, Brazil and Colombia. Indeed most of the nations ranked ahead of Canada are less wealthy in economic terms.”
Well, it’s great that some Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil and Colombia do well vs Canada, but I think the way I would frame this is very different. If you are a rich country, you can easily do a good job (like most of Western Europe), but some countries are lame and choose to not. (US, Canada).
What else is new.
The EPI Rankings
(Song: North American Scum Lyrics By LCD Soundsystem)
It’s been cold for a change. Getting down to single digits (6F, 8F) at night.
1) When it’s 8F, that’s 33% colder than a more typical 23F.
(If you assume a 68F temp in the house. Outside temps of 23F is a differential of 45F. When it’s 8F, that’s 60F difference. And 60F is 33% more than a 45F diff.)
2) When it’s 8F, that’s similar to it being 138F.
(In both cases it’s a 60F difference vs my desired inside temp. Summer=78F, Winter=68F. Well, not exactly, since in the winter-time the electric appliances, sun and people and pets in the house are helping keep the house comfortable, and in the summer they are making things more difficult (when the house is closed up because it is very hot and humid outside. Plus our heat pump is a lot more efficient at cooling than they are at heating. I know they (even the fancy h2i hyperheat heat pumps) get down to like 2x COP/efficiency when it is cold. But when they are cooling, I believe mini-split air-source heat pumps often have SEER ratings of over 20. And SEER (EER) = COP * 3.412. So COP=6. So from the heat pump’s perspective, it’s different.)
There is sorta such a thing today. It’s called HERS. 100 is a “normal” house. 0 is a “net zero energy” house. And negative means you have even more PVs than you need. Nice. Someday websites like realtor.com, redfin.com, etc. will let you search on such things.
The best house I’ve seen is this -33 HERS of Carolyn and Kyle Cave in Hadley, MA. It’s also nice to know what a house is pre-PV to get an idea of how efficient the house and it’s occupants are. Oh, and a house in Maynard MA is -8 HERS.
Anyway, good work Caves! Your house follows the important rule of thumb I now encourage people to use — Build (or pick) your house with a lot of good roof space for PVs. Small footprint houses like ours are a little more efficient, but we don’t have nearly as much room for PVs. Dumb.
(Oh, and our house is nearly 0 HERS. I am not exactly sure what — I forgot to ask for the pre-PV score and if I recall correctly the PV offset used the wrong KW total.)
(Oh, and read about the limitations of HERS at the link at top…)
Like many/most people who have grid-tied PV solar panels…. to figure out how much electricity/energy we use each month I have to do some math. That’s because the smart meter doesn’t know how much electricity we use directly from the panels. Some electrons never even hits the electric co’s meter, which can only show numbers for 2 things: (1) the extra KWh flowing out and (2) the extra KWh we need that is coming in (at nights, clouds and cold cold weather)
That’s not enough. I also have to read (3) the total produced by our PV solar panels. And then do some math. The pain in this is that since one’s electricity bill is usually not calendar month, and our smart meter isn’t being read automatically by any device, I have to remember to “read the meter” near the beginning/end of the month. I can’t use numbers on my electricity bill.
The basic idea: IN KWh = OUT KWh
(2) ELECTRIC CO METER IN (FROM GRID) + (3) PV PRODUCED = (1) ELECTRIC CO METER OUT (TO GRID) + X (USED BY HOUSE)
Solve for X and I’ve got it.
Additionally I think it makes sense to divide by the number of occupants in your house before comparing with your friends. And maybe adjust by things like HDD and CDD (heating degree days and cooling degree days) if they live in a different part of the Earth.
So that’s KWh used per person per month. We have averaged under 800 KWh per month year round on average for 28 months. And we have 4 people here. With 8 living with us for 10(?) months in 2011.
So under 200 KWh per person per month. For everything, including heating and AC, cooking, lawn mowing and 2 home offices.
It’s hard to compare to most people in the northeast because most people don’t know their grand total since almost no one heats their house with electricity (geothermal or air-source heat pumps) like we do. So they’d need to add up their gas/propane/wood/oil BTUs used and convert to KWhs.
If you are pondering indoor air-quality in your home… I urge you to look into the issue of flame-retardants in furniture — specifically in the foam used in mattresses and couches.
Here is an upsetting recent article on the topic PBDEs and chlorinated Tris (I knew about PBDEs, but hadn’t considered that (DUH!) the replacement would probably be just as bad or worse. And that they don’t even work!)
Some good practical advice here (if you are a millionaire)