Feeds

When geeks turn Green: Performance tune your energy bills

How to stick up a fat two to the Big Six...

New hybrid storage solutions

Does it work?

We've roughly halved our gas for heating per degree day and for hot water, so our gas consumption is down from about 9MWh per year in 2006-2007 to well under 6MWh in 2010 (remembering the exceptionally harsh winter that that was). A typical household uses 18MWh/y of gas for central heating and hot water.

Our electricity in the same time frame is down from about 10MWh per year (10,000 'units') to about 1.5MWh in 2010, and actually paying for importing about 1MWh (ie 1/10th of where we started) after the 'free' electricity from our roof.

So we've gone from spewing the equivalent of 6 tonnes per year of CO2 to heat and light this house down to zero, while adding two small children to the household.

Look at our consumption, falling each year even as the winters have been more harsh:

3yearsenergyuse_dhd_eco_piece

Energy consumption chart (kWh/week) over recent years courtesy of imeasure.org.uk. Above: Three years' energy use.
Below: four years' energy use.

4yearsenergyuse_dhd_eco_piece

But meters are not the only fruit. I also did two rounds of thermal imaging: one myself with a borrowed camera, and one by a grown-up with his own, which helped me spot (among others) problems with our loft insulation and icy draughts where the bottom of of new front door wasn't sealing properly (taking all of five minutes to fix). Also when I had the energy performance certificate done I had the house checked for air leaks ("air pressure testing") and found that most of our unplanned ventilation (wasted heat and cold draughts) was from a supposedly-sealed old boiler flue from the kitchen; again the work of a few minutes for me to fix as it turned out.

thermal1

Thermal image showing an otherwise undetectable
gap in loft insulation above an upstairs bedroom...


thermal2

...and a slipped catch at the front door preventing the
seal from working properly, leaking in icy air.

You need to try all the tools in the box to see what works!

So, as a geeky optimiser of performance, am I done yet?

Hell no, there's carbon-negative in my sights next!

Part-way into this tweaking and tuning I'd managed to get a band B Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) such as you need before a sale: I'm aiming for band A next time and a higher selling price as and when we move.

I've insulated another room-and-a-bit with aerogel this autumn, in fact, and I am working on some other goodies: stay tuned! ®

References

  • http://www.earth.org.uk/saving-electricity.html Saving Electricity (and Gas): some of the gruesome details and monthly metering and tracking
  • http://www.earth.org.uk/thermal-imaging-survey-of-house.html Thermal Imaging Surveys on our house
  • http://www.earth.org.uk/testing-a-house-for-air-leaks.html Air-leak hunting
  • http://www.degreedays.net/ Custom Degree Day Data
  • http://www.imeasure.org.uk/ An online tool to help you accurately monitor your home energy use and carbon emissions

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.