Feeds

When geeks turn Green: Performance tune your energy bills

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.