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Seven Mistakes that Cost Comfort!

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The Seven Mistakes That Make

Your Home Feel

Less Than Wonderful And

What You Can Do About It

If you’re like most of our clients, you want your home to be a pleasant place to be and to enjoy – not only for yourself but also for the people you love and care about.

My name is Ed Bishop, President of Enhanced Living in Troy and for the last 35 years I’ve been working with select homeowners whose homes don’t feel as good as they look.

One thing I know for sure is. . .

There are some big mistakes that are being made by many home professionals and these mistakes cause problems that make living in your home less than wonderful.

Some of these problems are:

  • They feel too hot one minute and too cold the next – it’s a blast of heat, then nothing –constantly play with the thermostat
  • The air is too dry
  • The air is too stuffy
  • Some rooms are warmer or cooler than the others
  • My heating system is just too loud
  • Their furnace boiler or air conditioner is old and they don’t trust it
  • They run out of hot water in the middle of a shower or bath
  • It seems like it takes forever for hot water to come out of the faucet
  • Their bathroom has mold or mildew
  • Their heating bills appear to be too high
  • They have a radiant heat system that doesn’t work the way it should
  • There are icicles hanging off their roof in the winter
  • Their indoor environment is Ok, but I know it can be better

Worse yet, these professionals don’t even know they are making these mistakes because they are too focused on throwing their products at your problems.

Some truly believe that the products they sell are the solution.

There’s a saying. . .

“When All You Have Is a Hammer,

Everything Looks Like a Nail”

  • A window company will tell you that windows are your answer
  • A heating company will tell you that a furnace or boiler or humidifier is your answer
  • An insulation company will tell you that insulation is your answer

Why is this so?

First of all professionals rely on information about products and technology from manufacturers, suppliers, trade associations and colleagues.

Most of this information is very good but the problem is that it gets distributed in bits and pieces, like a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Some companies look at all the pieces and never complete the puzzle – but it’s not their fault. . .

  1. Some don’t know where to start
  1. Some are getting the wrong information
  1. Some are intimidated and don’t want to move out of their comfort zone
  1. Some don’t bother to take the time because they’re just too busy trying to make a living

They practice what we call “Seat-Of-The-Pants-Engineering” and unfortunately the consumer who thinks they are making a safe and smart investment  ends up with the opposite result.

This doesn’t have to happen to you if you are aware of these mistakes. . .

MISTAKE #1: Installing improperly sized 90% +  high efficiency furnaces on inferior, poorly designed duct systems - Furnace and air conditioning manufacturers rate the efficiency of their equipment assuming they are installed under ideal conditions.

The National Comfort Institute found that more than 50% of systems that were tested, put out less than 60% of the required air flow of the heating/cooling appliance.

This not only decreases the manufacturer’s efficiency rating but also decreases the rated output.  It leads to homeowner complaints such as lack of comfort and higher than expected energy bills.

Also, installing furnaces that are too large will cause room to room temperature variances.

MISTAKE #2:  Connecting  95% high efficiency boilers to systems that make the boiler operate at only 88% efficiency –The dirty little secret” that is withheld from consumers about high efficiency (condensing) boilers is the fact that they are designed to operate at low water temperatures (135 degrees and lower) in order to be rated at 95% efficiency.

Unfortunately many condensing boilers are running at temperatures that often exceed 180 degrees.

MISTAKE #3: Recommending and installing a central humidifier without investigating the reason why the home is dry.

  • Homes constructed with large wood mass such as some timber frames and log homes can absorb a large amount of moisture from the house air.
  • Homes that have a high infiltration rate allow moisture to escape and dry air to enter.
  • Lifestyle also comes into play - for instance, if only one or two people occupy a home, they don’t take as many showers, do as much laundry or cooking such as a household of 4 or 5 people that creates quite a bit of moisture from these activities.

Failure to understand these facts can cause more of a problem than the one you are trying to fix.

 Here are three examples - - -

  1. Installing a humidifier in a leaky house can cause the humid air that is formed by the humidifier to find its way into the attic, depositing the moisture on the underside of the roof deck, causing mold and severe water damage.
  1. Bacteria can grow in some central humidifiers, allowing the bacteria to become airborne and enter the living area when the fan turns on.
  1.  Introducing moisture into a dirty duct system invites allergens such as mold and dust mites.

MISTAKE #4: Many indoor air quality systems are being installed that have little or no effect. People who are susceptible and sensitive to inferior indoor air are unfortunately paying for systems that don’t do what they are suppose to do

Often overlooked when air filtration and air purifier systems are installed is the actual amount of time they are being used.

The only time most operate is when there is a call for heating or cooling and for those of us who live in the northeast part of the U.S. will only get the benefits of the device only 30% of the time.

MISTAKE #5: Assuming lots of insulation will make a house energy efficient - There is no question that good insulation practices will lead to lower energy bills.

However, a variable that is often overlooked is air infiltration. Air infiltration is the movement of air into and out of a house.

Infiltration can account for up to 60% of the heating bill for a home if not kept in check and can moves through fiberglass insulation, reducing effectiveness.

Tests at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy revealed R-value of fiberglass that is rated as R-19 can end up having an R-value of only13.7.

MISTAKE #6: Improper installation of bathroom fans that have little or no chance to exhaust moisture and odors – There are four common errors that are often made when bathroom exhaust fans are installed;

  1. Improper sizing of the fan
  2. The fan is exhausted directly into the attic instead of outdoors
  3. The use of flexible, plastic duct
  4. Not using a timer to operate the fan

All of these errors create problems such as; mold and mildew on the walls and ceiling, mold and moisture on the under-side of the roof, water damage and lingering odors.

MISTAKE #7: “Failing to adopt “The Whole House Approach”even the best chain will fail if it has a weak link - your home is no different.

It’s necessary to understand how each home component is connected and how one affects the other.

The sum of all system components of a home

 determines the final result

  • If a house is not properly sealed and insulated there is a good chance the heating or cooling system will not live up to expectations
  • A furnace or boiler will not give expected energy savings if they’re installed on inferior distribution systems
  • Humidifiers can damage your home and endanger your health
  • Air filters and purifiers can be a large waste of money

What’s The Answer?

One important term that I learned over the last 35 years is - - -

“Diagnosis before Prescription.”

You wouldn’t get a drug prescription without first going to a doctor to find out what’s wrong with you and your home is no different

It takes proper diagnostic tools, accurate information and a good process in order to make your home safe, healthy and comfortable.

A good contractor will. . .

  • Spend time with you to listen to you and evaluate your situation and offer solutions NOT just products
  • Perform  industry-standard Manual J heat loss and heat gain calculations in order to specify the correct sized furnace, boiler or air conditioner
  • Measure the duct work and perform a duct static pressure test
  • Perform a blower test before specifying a humidifier or whole-house ventilation system
  • Size and install  bathroom exhaust fans according to “The Home Ventilation Institute” guidelines
  • Commission all installations at start up to be sure they operate according to the manufacturers specifications
  • Provide a strong warranty if ever a problem should occur
  • Provide you with the results of the calculations and testing

 Don’t assume that every contractor will do these things because many of them won’t.

Don’t Settle For Less

Now that you’re armed with this valuable information - you won’t fall victim to the 7 mistakes.

You’ll know how a professional should approach your project and you’ll know if you are talking to the right contractor by simply asking what their procedures are and what kind of testing they will do before and after the installation.

If you don’t get the right answers, you’re not talking to the right contractor.

If you. . .

  • Live in a home that has an indoor environment you aren’t happy about
  • You are in the process of remodeling or upgrading your home or heating/cooling equipment
  • Are in the planning stages of building a new home you

And - - -

If you would like some help, we invite you to take a Consultation Session.

Please, don’t worry – it’s “NOT a glorified sales pitch!”

All we want to do is give you important information that’s delivered relaxed and pressure-free to help you make an informed decision.

During your consultation we’ll:

  •  Evaluate your current situation
  • Find out what matters most to you
  • Explore possibilities you never knew existed
  • Present facts that are based on science and physics – NOT sales hype

But the real payoff comes when. . .

  It’s a bone chilling 5 degrees below zero in winter or a sweltering 95 degrees during the “dog days of summer,”  you’ll be able to say. . .

“It Feels So Good To Be Home”

Isn’t that the way it should be?

Please call Ed today at (518) 235-0311 to make an appointment.  You’ll most likely get our voice mail, so please leave your name, phone number and the best time to reach you and I’ll return your call or you can also e-mail me at http://www.heating-and-air-conditioning-guide.com/.

We schedule all appointments Monday through Friday – you can pick a time between the hours of 8 AM and 2 PM.

 Let us help you create an “Inviting, Peace-of-Mind Home That Feels As Good As It Looks where you, your family and friends can enjoy a better life and enhanced lifestyle.

Reserve your spot today!


Enhanced Living, Inc.

868 8th Ave

Troy, NY 12182

Phone – 518-235-0311


Comments on "Seven Mistakes that Cost Comfort!"

  1. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson September 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    A am looking forward to learning more. I love the picture of your garden. Dan

  2. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson September 23, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    What a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. OEIC default avatar rwsimon October 01, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    There are a number of companies that offer plug-in conversions for hybrids (mostly for Prius) that offer more electric-mode range than the forthcoming Toyota version.  Depending on the product, ranges from 20 to 30 miles are available.  Some of the better-known providers are Hymotion (www.Hymotion.com) and 3prongpower (www.3prongpower.com).  Both of these companies have small networks of installers around the country.  The conversions are pricey ($5-10,000), but not particularly more than the differential cost of the Toyota plug-in option for the Prius.  I know of at least one of these that someone in the Albany area has had for a few years.  On the other hand, I have been watching the market for these conversions for several years and see no sign of it growing.

  4. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 04, 2011 at 12:20 pm


    Thank you for the information and comment. Many of our members have a Prius, maybe a local conversion will help them reduce the use of gas! As for the new offering, perhaps Toyota is responding to the aftermarket or as they imply it is just a stopgap until batteries are improved sufficiently to offer longer range, full electric vehicles. In either case, it is a dealer option and may be an option that will be just the ticket for some. As for me, I’m still looking… Cheers, Dan

  5. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 04, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Very interesting article David. On a sunny day, do the panels keep up with the motor? Can you send a picture of Sol? Thanks for sharing. Dan

  6. OEIC default avatar M Connor October 05, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    “I would like to read Tom’s book!” Thanks for letting us know about this book. You audited my home in Schenectady 3 years ago. The improvements were tremendous. I’m always looking for further ways to reduce my energy usage as well as costs. Thanks Dan  

  7. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 05, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    The book is yours; it will be in the mail directly. Thank you for the kind words and for reading and participating in our Community website.

  8. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 06, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you Cheryl for the overview of resources and strategies. And thanks to your practical husband for a great initial goal that I might be able to achieve. Dan

  9. OEIC default avatar Bill October 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I would have liked a copy. Are they still in print? Good article. Thanks

  10. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Perfect timing Tamara, just as our late summer turns to fall. I’m amazed how many ingredients are in Pumpkin cookies. Thank you for the recipe.

  11. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

    For too long we have been making the wrong statements with the car we drive - me among them. Not only can we buy a car that doesn’t send boys to war we can buy American. The Volt is a pretty interesting option. Thanks.

  12. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Very practical. And very timely - today we cleaned out our refrigerator. Yes we sent some to the dump. Judy and I pledge not to do that again. Thank you Nancy.

  13. OEIC default avatar jjhixon October 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks, Dan, for sharing more info on the subject of bird mortality from wind turbines, here: http://www.sibleyguides.com/conservation/causes-of-bird-mortality/

    Here’s a provocative quote from the Sibley page: “It’s difficult for an environmentalist to come out against renewable energy like wind turbines, but as long as the electricity generated is considered a “supplement” to satisfy increasing demand, wind power will not really help the fight against global warming. Establishment of wind farms should go hand-in-hand with drastic cuts in electricity use, and there is a real need for more study of the relationship between birds and wind farms.”

  14. OEIC default avatar smorton October 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Coincidentally, I installed (West Sand Lake, NY) a 2 panel solar hot water system back in the early 1980’s that in spite of my best efforts I considered a failure. I want to provide some details, so I posted it in the Renewable Energy Forum - Solar Domestic Hot Water. http://www.oeic.us/community_forums/viewthread/9/

  15. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I’m all for an electric car and as soon as I can afford one that will meet my needs I’ll buy it. My motivation is both environmental and economic. I expect we will want to keep the car at least 15 years (the few new cars we bought were kept 12+ and I expect to drive it less than in the past, so 15 seems reasonable). My main concern then becomes the cost of a replacement battery. I can’t get any reasonable answer from Nissan. If the battery costs $20,000 as I’ve heard, then the car is a throw-away in 10 years (its range will be so diminished that won’t be of much use). Environmentally, I’m not sure this is a good investment in embedded energy? And I’m not sure how the $/mile will work out with the battery factored in! If Nissan or other car company would provide some battery replacement cost provisions, this would take a huge uncertainty factor out of the equation for me. Any insight into battery expectations in 10 years?

  16. OEIC default avatar pcpc21 October 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Given the annual usage of 360 kWh to heat water, the most you could save would be $36, which has a very long pay back period. I estimate my hot water usage to be 4220 kWh based on 12 therms of natural gas usage in the hottest summer month.  At an average cost of $1.59/therm, my potential savings is $228/year.  A 10 year pay back time requires the system to cost $2280 or less.  All this assumes that there is enough heat collected at the right times to offset all natural gas heating of hot water.  From the original post and smorton’s story, it seems like that’s not the case.

  17. OEIC default avatar rwsimon October 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    It seems to me that being an earlier adopter carries some early obsolescence risks.  The current cost (and performance, for that matter) of EV batteries is untenable for the long-term success of the industry.  Everyone acknowledges this.  So the likelihood and fervent hope is that electric cars a decade from now will have much cheaper batteries and much greater range.  So unfortunately, a 2011 Nissan Leaf is not going to be a very sensible car to own in 2021.  I don’t see a way around this issue.  With technology, it always seems to be the case that down the road there will be cheaper and better products.  If everybody waited for them, no current products would ever succeed.  Without early adopters, new technology would be impossible.

  18. OEIC default avatar rwsimon October 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

    There was an eye-opening article in the New York Times in recent days— www.tinyurl.com/oeicoil —that provides a pretty persuasive argument that peak oil is simply not going to happen.  There appear be multiple and abundant new sources of fossil fuels - both conventional and novel - being found around the world.  The net result could well be a significant improvement in the geopolitical balance in the world (at least from our perspective) but, equally likely, potentially disastrous environmental consequences.  Many people are spending a lot of time and energy worrying about what will happen if we run out of oil; perhaps we really have to worry about what will happen if we don’t!

  19. OEIC default avatar Bill Lasher October 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I use about 2/3 of the electricty produced by my 4 yearl old PV system.  I researched solar hot water options because my hot water was heated by an oil-fired furnace year round.  To use more of my surplus electricty and save fuel oil, I installed a “hybrid” electric hot water heater and since December, 2010 have used it only in the eheat pump mode.  I still send surplus electricity going to the grid and the fuel oil saved should pay for the hybrid heater in two years.

  20. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Nancy,
    Would you mind sharing how much gas and wood you use to heat your home? Also, if you can let me know how much of the gas is used for heating water. I’d like to calculate your Home Heating Index (HHI), a very interesting and useful number that allows homeowners to get a sense for how energy effective their homes are for heating. Thanks, Dan

  21. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson October 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    That is what I was afraid you were going to say. Now, I’ve bought a screw gun that by the time I needed a new battery they didn’t sell them, but I’ve never bought a car like that. This is going to take some getting used to. Thanks.

  22. OEIC default avatar rwsimon October 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I would expect that these electric cars won’t be like screw guns.  If the automakers are really in it for the long haul, they will support the vehicles over the long term.  The issue is whether you will want the support if you will be able to do much better with a newer product.  It could be like fixing a 7-year-old plasma TV that originally cost $6,000.  You can probably do it but it would be crazy since a brand-new one runs less than a thousand.  In the best outcome for electric vehicle technology, that will be the situation.

  23. OEIC default avatar Ed Bishop October 31, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Good one, Dan.

    I never realized the impact food has on energy.

  24. OEIC default avatar Michael Cellini October 31, 2011 at 10:07 am

    As a voluntary simplicity practitioner and someone who produces 100% of my energy (PV, solar thermal and growing trees for wood heat) I’d like to correct:

    1) A SHW system for 2 people in NY costs less than $3,000 not $6,500

    2) The AVERAGE 2-person HH will use over 14,000 gallons of hot water per year not 3,000.

    Folks (the authors) who VS or live a conscious lifestyle tend to forget we are a deep minority. In a Utopian society we would all be using 1/10 of the energy we use.

    Both David and Howard (authors) are friends of mine but they are not mainstream and their study is not geared to mainstream lifestyles.

    Solar thermal is a totally viable and economical solution to hot water needs.

    I ask that readers actually read the entire study and think about it. A SHW system lasts 30 years and produces FREE energy.

    Do you know what the rest of the world is doing? I’ve posted more to (http://allurasolar.com/?p=378) showing world usage for SHW.

  25. OEIC default avatar moagman October 31, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I believe coal is the least expensive way to heat a home and we should roll back fuel economy standards to 1950 or so. I think we should certainly advocate the use of electricity in greater qauntity because there are several lakes that have not been ruined by acid rain yet-Seriously?
    Solar water heating removes about 2 tons of carbon annually from our atmosphere. On that basis alone it deserves to be an option for customers who want to make a difference. We know carbon once combusted never leaves our atmosphere and interferes with long wave radiation getting back out to space. The less fossil fuels we consume the better. I am sure the oil & coal lobby would love to get a copy of this article. I think we should promote sustainable fuel choices—My 2 cents….

  26. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson November 04, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you for sharing what you have learned about local meat. It is great that we have the capability to grow such a diverse diet here in the Capital Region. Have you come across anything about the different energy content in farm raised vs. stockyard meat? On our farm, we raised an Angus every couple of years. That cow went to pasture with everybody else and was given only modest grain until toward the end. I’m sure there is a lot less fossil fuel in that way of life versus life in a pen, where all the food - mostly grain and corn - is brought from miles away.

  27. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson November 06, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you Nancy! This is a much better view of gardening than I developed over the years - weed, weed, weed… I’m looking forward to trying this better way.

  28. OEIC default avatar EricS1962 November 09, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting article.  You don’t mention some costs.  Here are a couple.  Coal is dug out of the ground by guys who do a job I would never do.  The health costs to them personally are terrible: black lung disease, horrible working conditions, etc.  A lot of that cost is borne by the individual miner.  Planning and conduction of power lines is largely a political process.  For example, the NY State high voltage system is largely run at 345 kv.  The original design was for 765 kv, a more efficient voltage level.  Downgrading to 345 kv contributed to the severity of the last major power failure in the North East, by restricting the flow of electricity around the state.  And don’t get me started on the nuclear power plant built and never used because it was too near to NY city.  That was $6 billion out of the taxpayer pocket!  Can you say ouch?

  29. OEIC default avatar Michael Paradis November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Way to go Vaughan Woodruff!  I completely agree with your review of the McDaniel and Borton study.  It is great how your obvious understanding of solar heating technology described the pros and cons of this study and made it evident that the authors do not enjoy this same level of knowledge.  It seems to be another unfortuneate example of how the technology gets blamed blamed for lack of performance, not the system designer or installer. I too own and operate a renewable energy business, and promote and live off of solar energy.  To declare a renewable technology to be “Not Energy Efficient or Cost Effective” based on one poor example is very bad form.

  30. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson November 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Thank you Eric for revealing even more insidious costs. Roof top PV is considered expensive because we know almost all the costs associated with it. When you start adding up the underlying, often public supported costs of the coal, oil and nuclear infrastructure and then divide by kWhs delivered these forms are not as “economical” as they are portrayed. Thank you for your comment.

  31. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 01, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Cheryl, Thank you for the farmer’s market update. I had just assumed most were closed by December. I will visit one or two this weekend and “extend” my garden season!

  32. OEIC default avatar Howard Stoner December 01, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    This is a wonderfully written article on a very timely subject, however, a subject that is not discussed or thought about much.
    Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

  33. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 01, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Howard are you OK? Not too timely, I hope!

    Thank you Liz, great way to start an important energy and sustainability discussion, but also I think an important discussion about making life more real, in considering the end game.

    I looked at www.naturalburial.coop and their list of NYS burial laws was not helpful. I tried to find something on the internet and found only a “brochure” for making arrangements. If anyone can find something more helpful, I will gladly post it as a resource.

    Thanks again Liz. Dan

  34. OEIC default avatar cdecesare December 03, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Hello - I found this link to be helpful:

    This is an important thing to consider - Thanks, Carl

  35. OEIC default avatar Michael Paradis December 06, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    McDaniel/Burton have done a great job defending their study, yet miss one key point. Woodruff did have “two major reasons” for his analysis, which all parties agreed were technically valid. Yet he also made it very clear that to state that “the fundamental conclusion of the paper still stands-evacuated tube hot water systems are not cost effective for domestic hot water heating in Oberlin-like climates” with the results and cost analysis of just ONE example, no matter what the technical circumstances are, is against the rules of making a scientific conclusion, and is academically irresponsible. Just because this ONE example matches the conclusion, does not mean you can make this conclusion for ALL domestic hot water heating systems.

    I have placed my full comment in the SDHW forum:

    Michael Paradis of Green Earth Energy
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  36. OEIC default avatar Editorial Staff December 06, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Test to see author notification.

  37. OEIC default avatar Bill December 07, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Very thorough article, and helpful.

  38. OEIC default avatar Rose C December 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Liz, Thank you for starting a conversation on a subject I think is important and practical. One aspect of Death is that our bodies are of no longer any use to us. Recycling is good, but I am planning to reuse in a sense. I’m 83 and donating organs is not very promising, but there are other opportunities. I read an article by a Harvard researcher about there not being enough brains to study mental illness. We have had some such illness in our family, so I have made arrangements for my brain to go to Harvard (I didn’t quite make the cut earlier!). The rest of my body is going to Albany Medical School for student studies. I figure there are some pretty interesting details to be found when examining a body that has served me well for so many years. Finally, I have asked a local cabinet builder to make a small, simple wooden box so my ashes can be buried next to my husband. Having made arrangements I feel comfortable continuing in the cycle of life. Rose.

  39. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    That is a very good introduction to sprouting. I was aware of sprouting and have seen sprouts growing on you counter, but never really knew how to or the benefits. The the trouble shooting is just what I’ll need as I get started. Thank you!

  40. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Paul, Thank you for a very practical approach to increasing gas mileage without buying a new car! Is the “10 Second Rule” based on a scientific study or expert “common sense?” Any idea if it applies to diesel? I can’t stop at a mail box and jump out, mail a letter and get back in in less than 13 seconds. It seems restarting for the 3 seconds would increase wear & tear but also use more fuel, BUT I’ll do it if the 10 Second Rule is true for diesels! Have a Sunny Day! Dan

  41. OEIC default avatar Paul Tick December 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm


    I am sorry that I did not include the references that did give the scientific data on this. I will try to go back and find them. My references were not about diesel so I can’t answer that question but maybe one of our readers will take a stab at it. One appoach you may want to take is to get out and get more exercise so you can cut down your time from 13 to 10 seconds!

  42. OEIC default avatar David Hauber December 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    This is very interesting.  He contends that we can reduce consumption AND improve the economy.  This make sense to me, if we invest in energy infrastructure we could reduce the amount we spend on foreign oil.  This is what other countries are doing.  When will we wake up?

  43. OEIC default avatar Paul Tick December 15, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    The author of the above went back and found the reference used for the above article. They are:

    California Energy Commission: www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html

    Slate: www.slate.com/id/2192187

    Ask your environmental questions at Slate’s Green Lantern: www.slate.com/id/2174662/landing/1

  44. OEIC default avatar Paul Tick December 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I did sprouting for a number of years and it was wonderful. Then, last year, I ran into some problems but after reading the simple trouble shooting ideas, I know what I did wrong. Thanks. And here’s another idea—I hated to send all that good rinse water down the drain and so I started to just put it in my compost bin. Then I read that you can just use it for soups or other cooking needs or just drink it—filled with nutition and no more waste.

    Paul Tick

  45. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks Paul. I’ll investigate further! As for exercise, maybe a little. Cheers, Dan

  46. OEIC default avatar Mirczt December 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm


    Do you have any info regarding refrigerators that are all refrigerator ( no freezer).  I have been told that they are even more energy efficient.  This would be a situation where you also have a stand-alone freezer.  Any thoughts ??

  47. OEIC default avatar Paul Tick December 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    If it does not have a freezer than logically it would use less energy to run. But if you would then buy an additional freezer, you would need to consider; how much energy it would take to run just a freezer; how much of an environmental impact it took to create a second machine; how much of an environmental impact it will be when you finally dispose of it? Maybe however, you are buying local meat in bulk and want to store it in a deep freezer. You could save some money here, but the payback period would be long and consider (as climate change is leading to more and more crazy weather and power outages) what will be the impact if you lost the food went bad after the outage?

    Those are my thoughts, maybe others have some more thoughts.


  48. OEIC default avatar gretsch December 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I like another leap that they made in the construction of their argument.  They compared the equipment cost of a tankless electric water heater to the installed cost of solar.  A significant cost associated with installing a tankless unit is the electrical superstructure required to support the high amp draw while the system is running.  This leads to typical installed costs for electric on demand heaters being closer to $2,500 and not the $400 that they quoted. 

    Finally, with the size of the pumps installed in the system and the “average” energy draw from the pumps the system would need to be running 6 hours per day continuously to come close to that kind of parasitic load.  The only way that could happen is if the system were running to support an installed heat dump.  With that being the case their comparison becomes meaningless.

    Good review Vaughan.

  49. OEIC default avatar David Hauber December 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    This is a well written overview of the problem. However, it overstates the Peak Oil problem.  We will not “run out of” oil and natural gas, it will just become prohibitively expensive to extract. The authors correclty point out that we will need to depend more on coal if we don’t want to build many more nuclear plants. The wise choice, as the authors point out is to CONSERVE. We need to act now if we hope to save our economy.

  50. OEIC default avatar David Hauber December 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    There is a good article in the 12/2011 Scientific American, “More food, less energy”.
    It claims we spend 2% of US energy consumption on agriculture and another 2% transporting food. i.e. we spend as much transporting it as we do growing.  What is really amazing is that we spend another 6% packaging and processing.
    The author also claims we use 10 calories for every calorie of food energy produced.

  51. OEIC default avatar cdecesare December 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I am wondering how people afford this?  Are there NYSERDA or federal incentives?  Please let me know - Thanks, Carl

  52. OEIC default avatar cdecesare December 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    This is a great paper - Thank you. It sounds like Thorium is more abundant than Uranium - why didn’t we design around this fuel source from the beginning?  Please let me / us know - Thank you, Carl

  53. OEIC default avatar David Hauber December 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I am not an expert at reactor design but I believe it is a positive feedback effect.  We use QWERTY keyboards not because they are the most efficient but because they were well understood when the computer revolution took hold. This article describe Thorium reactors well: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-new-types-of-reactors-needed-for-nuclear-renaissance
    The big question is if any reactor will pass the test of public opinion after Fukushima.

  54. OEIC default avatar cdecesare December 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Important topic - thanks for sharing - I like change but this is scary - I think foraging experience / skills are important too - Thanks again, Carl

  55. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Carl,
    This initial set of houses was done as part of a study to determine what could be done and how. I believe the costs are a little skewed because this was the first time these extreme procedures were performed. I believe there is another round of houses being completed and there is another project to develop better materials and procedures. But, you are right these costs on the surface seem too high to convince others to do the same. Hopefully, the cost will move down and the results will improve!

  56. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson December 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Wow, what a lot of decisions! I’ve seen and really like the ceilings (and the rest)! Just one note for others is that tongue and grove ceilings without drywall are only practical if you have foamed the space above; otherwise, air leakage through the wood joints and then through the fiberglass or cellulose will be excessive. The author did use foam above and has a very energy efficient house. Dan

  57. OEIC default avatar gpedrick December 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

    This pilot was intended to discover the costs, pitfalls and possibilities.  It is intended that people would take this on independently in stages, i.e. they need a new roof - so instead of just getting a new roof (shingles or metal) they implement the exterior rigid insulation strategy as well. Same goes for when they need new siding, or are putting on an addition.  This is NOT cost prohibitive.  If you are planning to spend the next 15-20 years in your house and you shell out $2K - $3K for hetaing bills, you will be there, no problem.  Think of the money people spend on monthly communication plans, car payments, etc.  If people make these choices, they can afford it, and the housing stock gets greatly improved while the owner saves operational (currently throw away) money.

  58. OEIC default avatar Brian OConnor December 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Nancy gave me a tour of her home (unannounced!) a few years ago.  It is beautiful, bright, alive and airy.  I still have house envy!  Thanks Nancy!

  59. OEIC default avatar cdecesare December 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Great ideas - Thanks for sharing - The only thing I could think about after reading this was to get together as a OEIC community for a potluck meal to share more ideas - maybe we could share energy saving features of our homes while we’re at it - just a brainstorm - Thanks, Carl

  60. OEIC default avatar Carol Possin December 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    The article states that oil will be depleted (reduced markedly in quantity), not that we will run out. The first paragraph agrees that the remaining oil is becoming more and more hazardous and expensive to obtain. This is reality.

    Nuclear with U235 was developed to produce bombs during WWII. Thorium cannot be used to produce bombs.

    C&G Possin

  61. OEIC default avatar David Hauber January 03, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    This is a great article! Drying clothes indoors in the winter would also improve humidity. How much $ did/will you save?  What is the payback?

  62. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 05, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Thanks Dave. It is hard to say exactly how much we saved air drying our clothes, but I estimated 1300 kWh per year, based on the change we saw in our bills, NYSERDA/TREAT model standards, and other published clothes drying estimates. Our new, 100% Solar house, will have 8 submeters to help analyze where the electric goes; so for example, we will know exactly how much energy goes to cooking and laundry. I will then be able to put a temporary meter on the dryer (yes we will have a dryer - it is so convenient when you are in a rush) to see what that uses per use and over some period of time. Measuring does help in making decisions on where to save, but also I just like to know how much energy it cost to do whatever… Dan

  63. OEIC default avatar Trowc510226@gmail.com January 05, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Very interesting about how much biodiesel you have made. I’ve always been interested in this but never got started. Are there still sources of oil available in the Capital Region? Do you have to ask for anything specific to get the right stuff?

  64. OEIC default avatar Don White January 05, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I am concerned about an economic collapse this year and have taken a number of actions as an individual. I would like to find others in my neighborhood who have similar concerns so that we could discuss how to go about forming a local community for mutual support.
    But I don’t know how best to go about it.
    Suggestions welcome!

  65. OEIC default avatar David Hauber January 06, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    This is a great article!  T Boone Pickens has been saying this for decades.

    The article does not emphasize enough that natural gas reduces our dependence on foreign oil, is even cleaner than electric (when you consider coal fired generators, batteries, etc.), and engine life is extended.

    If I could figure out how to fill it, I would buy a CNG Honda now.

  66. OEIC default avatar David Hauber January 06, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Don’t forget that the cost of energy is rising. Payback will be much faster when oil is $5/gal.  Of course, the demand for retrofits will skyrocket also and prices will rise.  Better act now and avoid the rush!

  67. OEIC default avatar Bonnie January 07, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    If we’re promoting local, why shop at Wal-mart?  I’ve used Fedco seeds; very good, too.

  68. OEIC default avatar nancy white January 08, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Walmart carries small packets of Burpee seeds for only $1 and organic seeds for $1.50.  The selection is not huge, but perfect for the beginning gardener.  Our seeds, no matter where you buy them, locally or by catalog, come from all over the country and the world.  They are packaged and distributed by the seed company.  A truly local solution is to save your own seeds by planting heirloom varieties.  More on that throughout the season.

  69. OEIC default avatar listless January 08, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks for the great article. We live in the Berkshires in Lee, MA and are taking delivery of our Nissan LEAF next week. Making a trip in the gas-powered car today to scout out some of these stations to see if they will be what we need to get us the expected 2-3 hours of charge time needed to get the nearly 50 miles back home from Albany.

  70. OEIC default avatar Don White January 08, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    John’s attached paper (.pdf document) is one of the best I’ve read, and I’ll be recommending it to many. It is both quite readable and a detailed discussion of the downhill slope that lies ahead. Our growth economy is over, and it is unaffordably wasteful to keep trying so hard to resurrect it. Those economists advocating a steady state economy should be heard. But it’s the same old choice between near term pain and near term gain.

    I’ll just add something not appropriate for his article, namely that this downhill slope we are inextricably on is likely to have cliffs, more abrupt descents caused by trigger events. Examples of such events for us might be a Near East war, the failure of the euro, dollar losing reserve status, a US Fukishima, and more. It is critical that we take action now, - as individuals, as members of a local community, and as vocal constituents of our inattentive political ‘leaders’.

    Much of what we can do individually is toward the goals of using less energy and being more nearly self-sufficient re food. This site is a splendid resource.

  71. OEIC default avatar OEIC-Admin January 09, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    You are quite welcome! But I must let you know, I now have EV envy! I have been on the Leaf list for well over a year, but I’m having a hard time actually buying. Part is because I think an electric pickup might be better for us and part because I’m concerned about replacing the battery in 9 or 10 years. Please keep us posted on how your car works and charging or other issues. Have a Sunny Day!

  72. OEIC default avatar listless January 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I felt a personal burden to get out there and be an early-adopter even if there are a few glitches to overcome. Mainstream EVs are WAY overdue and we need this rollout to be very successful.

    As for the charging options…we need them in more logical locations.  The Shop-Rite is nice but I am not going to spend 2-3+ hours there to top off. Downtown Holiday Inn is possible on occasion, but the needs of our family (and I must assume many others) would be better suited by charging at malls, movie theaters, and other areas with restaurants and shopping (Crossgates, Colonie Ctr)—to make it easy to spend 2-3 hours topping off the battery. Excited about the plans for EV charging at downtown Northampton garage and Holyoke mall in Mass. but I know of no plans for similar well-sited charging in the capital district.

    Even without public charging—the LEAF will be a great commuter car for our needs and used 6 days a week for the same exact purposes as the ICE car that we are replacing.

  73. OEIC default avatar rwsimon January 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Excellent article.  The basic premise is spot on.  To be fair, however, the projected output for a system in the Capital Region will not be as high as mentioned here.  Insolation data for Albany predicts an average of 3.5 effective hours of sun per day.  Thus a 5 kW system in a typical year will produce 5kW x 3.5 hr/day x 365 days =  6,387 kWh.  This is the ideal case with no shading.  So probably some number more like 6,000 kWh is what would typically be observed.  My experience with a system here bears these numbers out.  All that being said, if you plug in those numbers, PV is still a great deal.

  74. OEIC default avatar Michael Cellini January 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you for your comment. NYS requires us to perform a Pathfinder Analysis or equivalent to determine system outputs. The 7,222 kWh was taken from an actual reading at a client’s home in Ballston Spa. I can send you the report if you’d like to see it. He does have a perfectly pitched roof and faces true south. But as you already pointed out, even producing 6,000 kWh still makes going solar great financial sense. The actual system is slightly over a 5kW at 5,280 watts. I rounded it off to make things easier to follow.

  75. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Thank you for the insight Listless,

    I agree about the need to get EVs on the road around here and I will as soon as I can! As for the charging stations, it seems the HVCC stations, when installed, will be great for teachers or students attending classes. But the hotel presumes you want to stay overnight. The Shop Rite stations can work for an hour probably. The bottom line is we will need and probably get a lot more in the next couple of years because of guys like you showing there is actually a need! Thanks. Dan

  76. OEIC default avatar rwsimon January 14, 2012 at 12:19 am

    The data you cited is perfectly believable.  The calculation I performed was based on average annual insolation for Albany.  If you look at the detailed data from NREL, you will see that the maximum output in the region can be about 20% higher.  So in a very sunny year (which could be a fairly local observation), a 5 kW system can certainly produce the output you measured.

  77. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 15, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Thank you Michael for sharing the current PV cost/benefit details. As you say, even if the installation is not optimal, PV investment is financially rewarding. Do you have a similar analysis for leasing?

  78. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Are there any vegetables that can grow with partial sun, say 3 hours a day? What about herbs or spices? Just curious. Thanks.

  79. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 16, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Carl, It would be exciting for all to get together and talk about energy issues. However, one of the keys of this website is that it is online without asking people to travel. Perhaps an annual Community gathering would work for some or perhaps the get together part is better left to the Neighborhoods. Certainly if there is a large enough desire for such a gathering I’d be glad to help coordinate. Thanks, Dan

  80. OEIC default avatar Don White January 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    TRANSITION TOWN NETWORK (TTN) is a wonderful activity. It tries to ease the transition from our current life style to one that will approach sustainability as our non-renewable natural resources continue inevitably to decrease in their availability. I call this the downward slope, and there is much that we as individuals and as neighborhood groups can do to ease the attendant discomfort. TTN can guide and encourage and coordinate such activities. We can’t know what the path will be or how long the trip will take, but it will certainly be a major challenge.

    I want to point out two factors which could turn this downhill slope into a cliff, both of which should provide motivation for all to start now on this effort to improve our resilience.

    First factor is the occurrence of events which could suddenly reduce our access to the remaining supplies of such dwindling natural resources, e.g., oil. War with Iran for example could tend to block the Straits of Hormuz, which would abruptly reduce the availability of oil to us. Failure of the euro would cause widespread financial turmoil, possibly reducing the acceptability of the dollar and our ability therefore to compete in the purchase of oil. Global warming is resulting in greater fluctuations in weather, and a Gulf hurricane knocking out a lot of our refining capacity would send gasoline prices skyrocketing. And more.

    Second factor is the adverse actions of government at all levels. Severe financial problems resulting from the failed assumption that growth would continue is leading to every effort possible to reestablish a growth economy. This is not possible without cheap energy, and that is gone forever. So all the stimulation programs (using borrowed money) are counterproductive. The longer this continues the greater the overshoot will be from anything like a sustainable society, and the more abrupt (if not calamitous) the correction will be. TTN has the potential to get the attention of our politicians, and maybe to make it easier for them either to learn or to get out of denial about where we are and where we’re going. Any chance to advance this objective should be seized.

    In addition, an overarching and undiscussable problem is that of the continuing growth of population. Long term, any acceptable sustainable lifestyle even at the present level of population is hard to conceive. When TTN is more firmly established hopefully it may be able to make overtures toward addressing this problem.

    In the meantime, as one finally becoming more of an activist in this challenge of developing resilience, I applaud TTN and look forward to interaction with them.

  81. OEIC default avatar Bill Lasher January 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    We installed a 5.4kw solar system in 2007 at our Galway home.  It produced 6,126kw in 2008, 6,065km in 2009, 6,172kw in 2010, and only 5,616kw in 2011 (too much rain!). Our average year usage was 4,555kw so we got $ credit towards our $16.54 a month distribution fee.  Our actual cost for electricty for the last 4 years was less than $250.  In 2010 we installed a hybred hot-water heater and now heat our water with an electric heat pump so we now have less surplus kws to sell to the Grid.  We have worked hard on conservation of our electric usage. I projected a 10 year payback and after four years we appear to be on schedule.

  82. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    These are great sun ovens. We have had one for over three years. One February afternoon we cooked banana bread on the back deck. It was a blustery 20 degrees. The cookbook said it should take 45 minutes. With the sun and Sun Oven it took 55 minutes. Best banana bread we ever had!

    My daughter Katie (was in 6th grade when she started) has cooked a lot of things with the Sun Oven. One of the advantages (besides no fossil fuels) is that it is impossible to burn anything – over cook yes, but burn no!

    We highly recommend Sun Oven! Dan

  83. OEIC default avatar erikabai January 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    What do you do if you have sun in the front but no green space? Grow tomatoes in a container, or what? I have hardly any sun in the back, where I *do* have green…

  84. OEIC default avatar David Hauber January 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    This is a good article. I disagree that those who say we are running out of oil “are in total, factual denial of the laws of physics and geological limits of resource capital”. There is in-fact plenty of oil in the earth, it’s just that it is becoming prohibitivy expensive to extract.  Prices will just continue to increase and we will continue to send more of our money to the Middle East.  We import about $1B of oil every day!
    It’s time we woke up and put our money to work at home improving our efficiency and economy at the same time.  This is precisely what this website is promoting!

  85. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson January 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Jim, Thank you for sharing the work you did and what you have accomplished. Yes indeed, you have a very energy efficient house.

  86. OEIC default avatar nancy white January 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Containers are a great way to go.  Self-watering containers are very productive and attractive.  The biggest advantage is that you control the soil.

    The only vegetables that will grow in so little sun as 3 hours are leafy things, like lettuce and kale.  Many herbs will grow there like mints, sweet woodruff, even parsley.  Many woodland herbs are edible and attractive, like sweet violets, solomon seal, sweet cicely.

  87. OEIC default avatar Ed Bishop February 04, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Good advice, Dan.

    Care should be taken when closing of heat registers in a room.

    Duct systems are comprised of supply and return ducts - shutting down one or the other without proper measures can be counter-productive.

    It can reduce air flow and make the furnace less efficient and also cause room air pressure imbalances.

    A big reason for discomfort in homes is over-sized furnaces that cause you feel too warm one minute and the next minute you feel cold.

    The furnace will go on with a big blast of hot air and then nothing until the thermostat calls for heat.

    Today’s furnaces have solved this problem using modulating technology that makes the capacity of the furnace closely match the heat loss of your home.

    Heat is piped into your home more consistent.

    This is only one of myriad reasons for home discomfort.

    If anyone would like the FREE Consumer Guide, “Why Your Home Feels Less Than Wonderful. . . And What To Do About It,” go to www.heating-and-air-conditioning-guide.com

  88. OEIC default avatar Don White February 06, 2012 at 1:58 am

    In the course of discussing available electric vehicles, this blog shows clearly that the incremental energy usage when driving an electric vehicle is less than for a gas-powered one and he notes the satisfying situation that electrical energy is not a fossil fuel and does not produce emissions as it is used.

    Total energy usage in driving would include two other factors in the comparison. First is the energy cost of generating the electricity, most probably by combustion of a fossil fuel. This is a valid question even were the electricity to come from solar panels, since they have an embedded energy and probable lifetime. Second is the embedded energy of the vehicle and its probable lifetime, particularly if that lifetime is battery-limited.

    The decision of when and which for a vehicle is very seldom made solely on the grounds of totally impersonal global economic or energy returns, however, but rather on the payback of personal pleasure and satisfaction within the constraint of affordability. An electric vehicle providing such payback to a green driver could be a wonderful investment indeed and this blog could be a good help in making the decision of which one to buy.

  89. OEIC default avatar Wally Morris II February 09, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Ok, I lost my response once already so I’m going to break up my answer this time.

    As for how much have I made: I havent kept records.  Currently I make about 100 gallons per month.  Several years ago I used to make about twice that.  So rough figure of 150 gallons per month for 12 years works out to almost 22,000 gallons or just over two tanker trucks full.  Many years ago I had an oppurtunity to take a tanker truck of used oil from a certain snack manufacturer.  I had no where to put it.  Looking back I wish I had figured out…

    As for resaurants I’m sure there are some untapped ones out there, but new ones may be a better bet if you can get there first.

  90. OEIC default avatar Wally Morris II February 09, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I generally go in and have a friendly chat with the manager.  I let them know what I want (oil) and what I have to offer (free removal).  We then discuss the details, which will follow here, and if that is aggreeable we proceed - if not I thank them for their time.

    First up, if its not good for you its not good for your car.  This is obviosuly an exageration, but makes a good rule of thumb.  Partially Hydrogenated oil is bad.  Yes, you can fuel out of it.  Yes, it has a higher energy content.  It also gels (becomes solid) at room temperature, so its only good for summer. And the yeild is less on a volume basis. 

    I prefer canola oil first and unmodified soy next.  Also, the less used the oil is the better.

  91. OEIC default avatar Wally Morris II February 09, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I ask that the place keep the jugs the oil came in and empty the fryers back into these jugs when they change the oil in the morning after the oil has cooled all night.  Then, they can put the jugs some where accesible to me to pick up at the pre-aggreed upon time frame.  Perhaps a particular day or days of the week or month.

    Those are the basics.  Generally, the higher quality the food the better the oil.

  92. OEIC default avatar cdecesare February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for coming to our class and sharing this information with our students. Multiple students checked the insulation levels in their attics and told their parents about the value of getting a home energy audit performed. Also, I showed them the results of the calculation that I made to obtain the Home Heating Index (HHI) for my house and encouraged them to try it for their house. It was a great learning experience for all.

    Thanks again,
    Carl DeCesare
    Niskayuna Central School District

  93. OEIC default avatar cdecesare February 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    In case you were wondering, the HHI that I calculated for my house was 5. In addition, I found a copy of an older utility bill before I had attic and wall insulation installed. I used those numbers to calculate my HHI and the resulting value was 8. So, I went from an HHI of 8 to an HHI of 5 because of the insulation. I also compared the heating therms directly for the two scenarios and that showed a 40% reduction in energy use for heating (natural gas). I would encourage everyone to give these calculations a try.
    Thanks, Carl

  94. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson February 24, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Hi Carl,
    Your students are exceptional and it was a pleasure meeting with them and you. I’m glad you have been able to incorporate some of the home energy aspects into your class. I think it is a real opportunity for students to learn when they get to see your examples and then look at their own homes. I’m ready to answer any questions that might come up. And yes, very nice improvement, going 8 to 5! Cheers, Dan

  95. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson February 24, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Awesome video. I think we should vote Annie for president! We live in a sick society. I’ve noticed it with my kids too. They just want more stuff and then in six months they want more. Yes I know it is a parenting problem… I’ll try harder. The only problem with not buying anything is that half our economy is based on consumer purchases. Still I think we need to adjust to buying better value or at least demanding better value. There is so much engineered obsolescence that it may take some time. Phones are a good example - no I’m not talking about cell phone which are horrible - but house phones. If they last 3 or 4 years its a miracle. Used to be 10 to 15 years easy. Well enough of this. Bottom line, I loved the video and will recommend it to my kids and many others! Cheers, Dan

  96. Dan Gibson's avatar Dan Gibson February 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I attended a very energetic Transition Troy Movie meeting tonight. The movie was TRASH it echoed much of what you and Annie talk about. Transition Troy is preparing for a citywide push to increase composting. 30-40% of our garbage is good for composting. They already have several comnposting centers set up and plan a lot more with some pick up services planned. The resulting composte will be used in city gardens to grow food! Great job Troy!

  97. OEIC default avatar PWesling February 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    You’ll be pleased to note that this week a Silicon Valley company is announcing a battery with 2X the power density (400 watt-hours per kilogram) and 1/4th the cost of the Li-ion ones used in current cars (so, may be competitive with lead-acid). It’s a new cathode design.  The Naval Labs have already done some validation on the technology. It might be 5 or 6 years before it is ready for full-scale production, and cost-effective, but new technologies will assist with some of the conservation!  See if Laughlin will factor these and other improvements (at this conference) into his projections—extrapolate it for your table.  The electricity still needs to be produced/bought, but it should be a lot less weight to drive around.
    Company is Arpia, and this is being disclosed at the ARPA-E conference this week. Ref: http://www.torquenews.com/1075/envia-systems-battery-breakthrough-affordable-300-mile-range-electric-cars
    By the way, us engineers are used to thinking in Quads ...

  98. OEIC default avatar PWesling February 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    How about attending a SF Bay Area IEEE meeting on March 13th: “So - What About Nuclear Energy?” - fission, carbon free, new orders, status, potential ...  Speaker is Bill Halsey, Associate Program Leader for Advanced Nuclear Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. link is www.e-grid.net
    Woops!  You’re in the OTHER Saratoga!
    wink  Paul

  99. OEIC default avatar David Hauber February 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Actually, this is the REAL Saratoga.  Washington won our Independence in the REAL Saratoga.  Will wee ever see independence from the tyranny of foreign oil?

    Quadrillion BTUs?  What is a quadrillion?  If we were clever we would use a system that makes sense like maybe metric.  Meanwhile in Saratoga we speak of furlongs and Troy ounces.

  100. OEIC default avatar PWesling February 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    David—Yes, I was on the battlefield there on the 4th of July two years ago—impressive. We drove along at a moderate speed (furlongs per fortnight, as I recall). But I thought it was YOUR responsibility (some years ago) to free us from the British.  So ... what’s with these BTUs?  wink

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  1. Ed Bishop's avatar Howard Stoner September 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm


    This is a very informative article. hs