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Old 01-28-2013, 05:06 PM   #421 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
OK. Per the US EIA, average residential electric use was 11,496 kWh per year. My actual use for the last year was 3380 kWh. So the average user could do 7 years of 15% annual reduction before reaching my current (still comfortable) usage level. And I could still add solar or wind generation, solar water heat (mine's electric), LED lighting, &c to reduce my use still further.
OK - this is a very cool thing to have done and very much respect is due and happily given by me

But how was it done, and how can it be applied for most people.

What steps, what actions, what changes, what can be used by others ?

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Old 01-28-2013, 05:17 PM   #422 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
OK. Per the US EIA, average residential electric use was 11,496 kWh per year. My actual use for the last year was 3380 kWh. So the average user could do 7 years of 15% annual reduction before reaching my current (still comfortable) usage level. And I could still add solar or wind generation, solar water heat (mine's electric), LED lighting, &c to reduce my use still further.
11,496 kWh averages nearly 1,000 kWh per month. Thats at or greater than my peak in July with refrigerated air, swimming pool and heavy electronics load.

I could see dropping 10, maybe 20% from my total (gas + electric) before adding generation to offset, but to expect 3 straight years of 15% reductions with just efficiency alone seems a bit of a stretch.
 
Old 01-28-2013, 10:04 PM   #423 (permalink)
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And the worst threat of all right now is wind turbines.
That is simply a design problem. Wind power should be done indoors.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:42 PM   #424 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
OK - this is a very cool thing to have done and very much respect is due and happily given by me

But how was it done, and how can it be applied for most people.

What steps, what actions, what changes, what can be used by others ?
I have not kept detailed records, so I can't tell you exactly what cut my electric use by how much. However, I bought my house about 15 years ago. It's a '60s vintage ranch, with about zero attention paid to energy efficiency.

I live in northern Nevada, at the base of the Sierra Nevada. Temperatures here can range from 100+ on a hot summer afternoon to below zero in a winter cold snap. We also have frequent winds of 60-80 mph or more.

First step was insulation - attic to R50+, added 2" of foam around the outside (with vapor barrier & new siding), double-paned windows instead of the old single-paned aluminum ones. Also replaced the 11 ft wide, floor-to-ceiling picture window in the living room (which looks out on a couple of pine trees about 20 ft away with a more modest sized window (about 8x5). That cut heating & cooling costs dramatically. I've never run the A/C (original vintage, so I doubt it even works): open windows at night cool the house sufficiently even on hot summer days. Most of my heat comes from a small fireplace insert, or solar gain from the enclosed patio/sun porch.

I also have shade trees and other landscaping that helps moderate temperatures (and which in a good year provides apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, quince, and more).

I don't have outside "landscape" lighting burning all night - just a few self-contained solar walkway lights.

All frequently-used lights are CFLs.

Energy-efficient refrigerator & water heater.

Few vampire power-sucking appliances.

No big-screen TV. My main computer is a laptop that draws under 20 watts, and I turn that off when I'm not using it. I do have a couple of others that are major power hogs (quad core plus GPU), but those don't get run that often.
 
Old 01-29-2013, 06:22 PM   #425 (permalink)
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I'm curious what all y'all think about suspicious0bservers and 3MIN news.

They cover terrestrial, solar and space weather on an almost-daily basis. "Eyes open. No fear".

Update: OK, I'll point to this one specifically: wwwDOTyoutubeDOTcomSLASHwatch?v=_yy3YJBOw_o "Energy from Space"

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:48 PM   #426 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
OK. Per the US EIA, average residential electric use was 11,496 kWh per year. My actual use for the last year was 3380 kWh. So the average user could do 7 years of 15% annual reduction before reaching my current (still comfortable) usage level. And I could still add solar or wind generation, solar water heat (mine's electric), LED lighting, &c to reduce my use still further.
Uhhh - We use less than that. 2.500 kWh per year. Changed all lights to LED's, removed all Phantom loads. Turn off innet connection when we go to bed. Refigirator and Frezer are most effecient awaileble. Electric ceramic stowe. We cook every day. 2 PC's - not laptops.
Small 22" Flat screen TV. No electricity for heating though.

Change them bubls to LED!
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:50 PM   #427 (permalink)
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Change them bubls to LED!
I plan to, when/if the current bunch of CFLs burn out. But since my oldest ones are early '90s vintage (so old they're not even twisty), that may be a while yet.

I honestly don't think lighting is a major part of my use, though. One fairly large load I do have that you may not is a domestic water well pump, since I'm well away from urban water systems.

But you do support my contention that it's quite possible for most people to reduce their electric (and fossil fuel) consumption significantly, without adversely affecting their quality of life. I'm sure that I could (and will, as I have time) figure out even more ways to reduce my consumption, as for instance adding solar hot water.
 
Old 01-30-2013, 03:08 PM   #428 (permalink)
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All interesting posts, will read later - busy with work just now however I thought I would post this.

On a related point - The BBC has made a radio program about the German solar / renewables moves. The program is about how a town has apparently switched over completely to renewables.

It is interesting (I haven't listened yet, I mean the idea rather than the program) from a concept point of view, and also the costs and issues with reliability. It will also be interesting (from the program point of view) if they cover that aspect.

The program is here (you might need a proxy which pretends you are in the UK to listen) - I have a downloaded MP3 version.

BBC iPlayer - Costing the Earth: Berlin's Big Gamble

Quote:
It's an environmental experiment on an unprecedented scale. Germany's political parties have agreed to close the country's nuclear power stations and slash its use of coal, oil and gas. But can the industrial powerhouse of Europe really continue to churn out the BMWs and Mercedes on a meagre diet of wind and solar energy?

In the first of a new series of 'Costing the Earth' Tom Heap travels to Berlin to meet the politicians of right and left who share a vision for a green Germany and the industrialists who fear that blind optimism has replaced logic at the heart of government.

Tom visits Feldheim, a tiny village that produces enough wind power to run a city and talks to the activists who plan to take over the entire electricity grid of Berlin and run the capital on alternative energy. Their enthusiasm is infectious but could the reality be power cuts and the departure of the industrial giants to the US and the Far East?

The stakes are high. If the plan they've christened the Energiewende, or energy transformation, succeeds, then Germany will have created a low-carbon model for the UK and the rest of the industrialised world. If it fails Germany could lose its place as an economic superpower.
It will also be interesting it they mention how this is supposed to power German industry (steel, aluminium, cars, trains etc.) and also whether the generating infrastructure is locally made or from China.

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:17 PM   #429 (permalink)
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But you do support my contention that it's quite possible for most people to reduce their electric (and fossil fuel) consumption significantly, without adversely affecting their quality of life.
I haven't read all the details but some people may find it harder mainly because they have less control over their own environments - either they live in flats (appartments) instead of detached houses, no land, limitations of planning regulations and so on. A lot of people also rent pretty much all of their lives instead of buying.

I'm not saying it is impossible, just more complicated. Maybe.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:59 PM   #430 (permalink)
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Solar water heating is probably the most cost-effective solar you can get, since it's simple and robust (don't know how long it will last with hard ground water, though... probably need to install some filters).

Do you use an overhead tank? That can help lower your pumping costs, I believe.

The "Do The Math" blog has some interesting data on saving electricity...

 
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