Tuesday, September 22, 2015

August 2015 Energy Reports

I haven't been doing much stuff on my house because I am still building my little cardboard houses for the Head Start Fundraiser.

I do have my most recent energy report from Duke Power for August 2015. And John brought me his report as well. It's kind of interesting the comparison because we use almost exactly the same amount of energy. I'll talk about that in a minute.

This is my report for August. Still doing very well. We are still very much in hot summer mode, still requiring air conditioning frequently. I am very interested to see what will happen in the winter with my improved insulation though I have probably 2 months before I will use any heat.

The chart shows things better than the graphic above. You can see that I am WAY down from last August but there were 3 people living here at that time.

Ok, so here is John's report from his new highly insulated house. My house is about 2000 sq ft and I think his is about 1300 sq ft.

So why did he use almost exactly the same amount of electricity as me? Well, he keeps 3 TVs plugged in while I have none. My computer and router are on power strips that are turned off when I am not using them. But most importantly, he keeps his house at about 65 degrees all summer where I pretty much only use the AC at night to sleep and I turn it down to 74. When I am cooking I may turn on the AC for a little while, mostly to combat humidity.

Ok, so here is John's energy chart for the past year.

John did not move into his house until the middle of September 2014. We were over there a lot in August and September painting, doing the floors, but no one was actually living there so that explains why his energy usage is higher for this August and September. John asked me why his electricity usage was higher than the energy efficient homes in January through March. It took me a second to figure it out - his all electric house is being compared to NON-ELECTRIC homes for heating. We'll have to call Duke Energy and get him in the right category.

That's it for now. I finish my fundraising project in early October, then it is back to air sealing and insulating more on my house.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New blog - With Glue and Glitter

I finally decided that trying to have crafts and energy efficient posts on the same blog just doesn't work very well. I feel like my serious intent to work of energy efficiency is diminished somewhat when I post the crafts I like to make. And then the crafts that are really a lot of work seem trivial on this site. So I started a new blog for the crafty stuff - With Glue and Glitter. I think this will help me write better for each site and be less disconcerting for the you, the reader.

No posts yet on the craft site, but I will put some in the next 2-3 days.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Latest Cardboard House Finished

I know this blog is kind of schizophrenic -s ometimes heavy into energy efficiency and other times heavy duty crafting. That's just a reflection of what interests me at the moment.

My little cardboard houses are basically an artistic form of recycling that I continue to have a lot of fun with.

Here is the final product of probably a month's worth of serious crafting - the Black Hat Inn - FINISHED (except maybe a pennant or a bat or a skull at the top of the Black Hat Inn sign).

I worked really hard to come up with a way to support the spinning witches. You have to spin them with your finger, but the movement is still pretty cool. I also worked hard to make the sign curved. The spooky tree is a die cut that has been glittered with glow-in-the-dark glitter. I made the cauldron out of polymer clay. The brooms are toothpicks and unraveled sisal rope. The ghost doorman holds the sign "Welcome to the Black Hat Inn". I found the font online - it's called Lumos, similar to a Harry Potter font. Everything except the brooms are glued down. I may leave them free so people can pick them up.

Close-up of the spinning witches and the Black Hat Inn sign.

Better view of the base of the Inn.

So now I have 19 houses done for the Head Start School fundraiser. I was hoping for 50 by October 1st, but I keep getting caught up in artistic expression (which isn't likely to translate into increased donations) and that slows me down. I am having fun building these houses though. I hope at least some of you enjoy looking at them.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

July Energy Usage

I am still seeing incredible benefits to the insulation and air sealing that I did in March through May of this year.

Remember, though, that I had 3 other people here last July with 3 TVs and the computers and routers were not completely switched off.

I don't think I set the temperature lower last year because my sister and her husband got cold in the house and my brother lived in the basement where it is 10 degrees cooler. This summer has been substantially hotter than last summer. The chart  below shows some July temperature averages from the past 15 years. The lowest temperature for July 2015 was 67 degrees, the highest 98. The lowest MAXIMUM temperature was 82 while there was a day last July where the high was only 69. This year's average high temperature was 91.9 and the mean temperature was 82. Last year's mean was 77.9. It has been much hotter this year which makes the drop in energy use even more impressive.

I will continue to monitor the energy use. My brother moved into his new home in September 2014 and my sister and her husband moved away in October so I should have better comparisons for one person living in the home after that time.

Also, remember that I insulated only to about a level of R-20 just over 1/2 of the current code requirements of R-38. When the weather cools off, I will be up in the attic again making some structural changes and increasing the insulation to around R-50.