2 thoughts First, efficiency level V and VI categories already exist; most networking equipment I've seen (as an example) already comes with very efficient switching power supplies. Is this not the case in general? How do the new requirements fall along the existing efficiency level spectrum? Second, has there been any talk of standardizing on power supplies, so that new ones don't get shipped with every (ultimately disposable) device? With standard connectors and a few standard voltages/amperages, it seems that we could make some serious improvements by re-using existing adapters even as the technology devices they power become obsolete.
Posted: 09:40 am on March 16th 2016
Smarter switch Martin, I like this one from Belkin even better, it turns itself off after 30 mins, 3hours, or 6 hours; with the one above, you must remember to turn it off. ;) http://amzn.to/1pwgvVO
Posted: 10:57 am on March 17th 2016
Stall? According to InsideEVs, "U.S. Plug-In Car Sales Currently On 4th Consecutive Monthly Record (Data Through February 2016)"
Posted: 02:21 pm on April 28th 2016
Spot on I had to convince my installer to go with a 60MBTU/hr boiler, not 110, when his own heat loss calc showed 48MBTU/hr. To be fair, we have an indirect water heater attached as well. But the 60 has been fine. Setting the reset curve was definitely an issue as well; the installer left with it set to whatever default was, and it was not at all correct. With some math & monitoring, I was able to get it tuned pretty well. Speaking of monitoring, some boilers have ModBus interfaces which let you monitor them on an ongoing basis; I don't know if this would be of general use to many homeowners but attached are some fun examples from my boiler.
Posted: 12:11 am on May 26th 2016
Tweaking the curve @Dana - it sure seems like with a season's worth of data from the boiler (FWIW, heating degree days were gleaned directly from the outdoor reset temps, and heating therms were separated out from DHW therms) I should be able to set the "perfect" curve. I'll have to think about that some more in anticipation of next winter. For non-geek homeowners, though, I wonder if there's any efficient method for an installer to get a better curve than default without requiring too many visits. I don't think your article elaborated on setting up the curve; maybe another article for another day?
Posted: 12:09 pm on May 26th 2016
Efficiency is not the problem with solar today I agree w/ Nathan. Running around talking about "inefficient solar" is harmful; it dissuades people from considering solar. Today, higher efficiency panels simply translates into less space needed, and today available space for solar is not the problem. Cost per watt (or per MWh), on the other hand, is still a significant factor. It's great to keep moving forward on efficiency as well as improved materials for lower cost and environmental impact. But the "solar is not efficient" meme needs to go away, and soon.. Heck, , existing coal plants are only 32% efficient. And nobody runs around saying "oh, but coal plants are so inefficient!" @Dana, True that some rooftops are space-constrained. But my roof has room for only 12 relatively inefficient 230W panels, in snowy Minnesota, and I still produce upwards of 75% of my home's electrical use. Space-constrained homes might just need more LEDs to make solar work for them. ;)
Posted: 06:33 pm on May 26th 2016
Money Money Money Rick, I've always felt that GBA's articles about cost tradeoffs are not so much about making money for the people designing or installing energy-saving measures, as much as recognizing that most homeowners/buyers have finite financial resources, and must make tradeoffs when they choose between options. Yes, it would be great to be super-insulated and have on-site PV-powered mini-split heat. But perhaps your bank account simply can't afford that. Maybe you can super-insulate, or have on-site PV. In that case it's worth looking at bang-for-the-buck type scenarios (with "bang" being measured in avoided emissions).
Posted: 09:51 am on May 27th 2016
LEDs Ok, I was a little flippant about the LED comment; my point was that efficiency in general is far cheaper than PV. I cut my home's electricity bill in half, and then added PV. And sure, with more efficient panels I could cover my whole house usage. More still, an EV. With a pocket sized reactor I could cover the block. ;) My larger point was that what we have today for PV works, and works well. It absolutely works, and can be deployed in many situations cost-effectively - the constant chatter about "low efficiency" dissuades people from going forward with what we have available today. Covering 75% is far better than 0%, even if 100% might be available 10 years down the road.
Posted: 06:19 pm on May 28th 2016
Efficiency aside, how much energy? We opted out of a heated bathroom floor during our remodel. I couldn't find any data on how many kWh/year we could expect it to consume, not even a ballpark. Anyone know?
Posted: 11:04 am on May 14th 2018
Thanks Thanks for the detailed answers on expected energy use. ~500kWh/ year isn't too bad I guess; I was hung up on electric resistance heat as a source compared to our efficient boiler... in retrospect it might have been a good idea. I don't think I'm going to revisit this decision with my wife... :)
Posted: 12:00 pm on May 22nd 2018