Up Hill House - page 3 of 23

  • Smart water heater?

    I’ve been toying with the idea of smartening our water heater. We take showers in the morning and the water heater cranks up right away to keep the water warm all day. If we were on a time of use power plan it seems like it would make more sense to heat the water when the sun is out and the PV is cranking out kilowatts. Or if there is little sun, wait till just before we get home.

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  • We're net positive again in 2015!

    We used 7,141 kWh and generated 8,694 kWh for a net of 1,552 kWh for the year. This is our second highest net energy year after 2012. Here’s our progress for the first 4 years in the house.

    All values in kWh (except HDD which is base 65°F).
    Usage Solar PV Net usage or (surplus) Avg. daily usage HDD
    Total 28,056 34,473 (6,417) 19.1 26,530
    2012 5,601 8,856 (3,256) 15.3 5,885
    2013 7,206 8,575 (1,368) 19.7 6,810
    2014 8,108 8,348 (240) 22.2 7,063
    2015 7,141 8,694 (1,552) 19.6 6,772
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  • Ventilator Retrofit

    Zehnder ComfoAir 350
    Zehnder ComfoAir 350

    Last week our HVAC folks uninstalled our UltimateAir RecoupAerator ERV, and installed our new Zehnder HRV ComfoAir 350.

    This is part 2 of our recent ventilator struggles. Read part 1, Problems persist with our UltimateAir ERV.

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  • Problems persist with our UltimateAir ERV

    I don’t generally like to write negative reviews. I tend to do my research and pick the best technology I can afford.

    But sometimes crap happens. It might be an isolated event, like our window snafu, or it might be part of a larger occurrence such as our experience with spray foam. In the former experience, the company provided a full solution at no cost to me, in the later I was just a number in a long line.

    In the case of our ventilator, I initially leaned toward thinking this was an isolated event since at the time I hadn’t found any reports online about similar experiences. But now that we are on our second unit and continue to have problems. This tells me that the design or manufacture of the product is defective. I also found someone else that has had similar problems.

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  • Third quarter 2015 performance

    Q3 2015 summary: 38% warmer, 22% less usage and 3% more sun as compared to Q3 2014.

    Traditionally, 3rd quarters are pretty boring in the home performance category. No heating. Generally no air conditioning. No ventilator because the windows are open. At this time of year, the main job of the house is to keep the rain out, and we didn’t get much of that this quarter.

    Our most exciting finding this quarter was that we had a 1+ megawatt month. In August we produced 1.003 MW. This is only the second time we’ve produced more than a megawatt in a single month. The first was August 2012 when we produced 1.018 MW.

    Sometime in early August we became net positive for the year. We now have a surplus of 1,239 kWh heading into the final months of 2015.

    Overall, here’s how this quarter compared to 2014.

    Charts comparing Q3 usage, solar and HDD
    Charts comparing Q3 usage, solar and HDD
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  • Second quarter 2015 performance

    Q2 2015 summary: 4% cooler, 17% less usage and 2kWh more sun as compared to Q2 2014.

    It is a wet, foggy and cold July 4th at Up Hill House. Perfect weather to update our quarterly numbers! And like today, this quarter was fairly uneventful. In energy terms, however, that is not a bad thing for us.

    Overall, here’s how this quarter compared to 2014.

    Charts comparing Q2 usage, solar and HDD
    Charts comparing Q2 usage, solar and HDD
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  • A Tesla Powerwall for Up Hill House?

    I received a string of emails from friends today asking what I thought of the new Tesla Energy Powerwall. I think it is awesome of course!

    Although we may not be one of the first in line to get one (or a few of them), batteries are definitely in our future. And when I say ‘our’, I mean a lot of us. Even if you don’t buy batteries to power your home directly, there’s a pretty good chance some of the power coming to your home through the grid will come from batteries in the next 5 years.

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  • First quarter 2015 performance

    Q1 2015 summary: 7% cooler, 2% more usage and 14% less sun as compared to Q1 2014.

    Although it seemed a lot colder this winter, it was really only 7% cooler than first quarter 2014. And considering there were many nights much colder than last year, -16°F versus -8°F last year, we only used 2% more energy. The biggest difference was snow cover, specifically the snow that covered our solar panels. This resulted in 14% less energy generated this quarter compared to last year, which means we netted out using 21% more energy from the power company.

    Overall, here’s how this quarter compared to 2014.

    Chart showing usage, solar, net and hdd for Q1 2015
    Chart showing usage, solar, net and hdd for Q1 2015
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  • We're net positive again in 2014!

    We used 8,108 kWh and generated 8,348 kWh for a net of 240 kWh for the year. The combination of cold temperatures, less sun and the plug-in Prius brought us close to our net point. Here’s our progress for our first 3 years in the house.

    All values in kWh (except HDD which is base 65°F).
    Usage Solar PV Net usage or (surplus) Avg. daily usage HDD
    Total 20,914 25,779 (4,864) 19.1 19,758
    2012 5,601 8,856 (3,256) 15.3 5,885
    2013 7,206 8,575 (1,368) 19.7 6,810
    2014 8,101 8,348 (240) 22.2 7,063
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  • Detailed data finally available again

    We changed energy monitors in March and the new data format broke my database scripts, but I finally found time to update my scripts and publish* our hourly data for the period March to November. One thing I noticed immediately was that I had been sloppy in my reporting of energy use for that time period. I used the UI to select dates and didn’t realize I wasn’t getting the most accurate timeframe. As a result, I’m going to post an updated energy record at the end of January for the entire year.

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