tedln
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:06 pm
Location: North Texas

RBG,
I think the difficulty most people experience when attempting to lower their energy consumption is to understand the terminology of the power consumed or required by different devices. The following is their meaning.

I agree about the device mentioned by applestar. It will allow you to incrementally determine power consumption for each appliance.

I hope you find some of this information helpful.

Amperage or Amps provided by an electrical service is the flow rate of "electrical current" that is available. Mathematically, Amps = Watts / Volts. (Amps = Watts divided by Volts)

Volts in an electrical system can be thought of in a manner similar to the water pressure in your faucets. If you lower the water pressure, less water will flow from your faucet. If you lower the voltage in your electrical system, less electricity measured in watts will flow into your appliances. Mathematically Volts = Watts / Amps. (Volts equals Watts divided by Amps).

Watts is a measure of the amount of electricity being used - a rate of electrical power consumption. Most people use a very simple mathematical formula to determine how many watts an electrical device requires to operate: Watts = Volts x Amps.

Common electrical devices and appliances typically have a data plate which states how many volts, amps, and’/or watts are required to power the device.

Devices like coffee pots, hair dryers, hot water heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, electric ranges and home heating systems simply are designed to convert electricity into heat. The heat is used in the manner you choose. Devices like the oven, hot water heater, home heating system, and clothes dryer can consume less electricity by maximizing their electrical efficiency with the highest rated insulation system. The insulation simply slows down the transfer or loss of the heat you are paying for from the device to the atmosphere.

Devices like air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and freezers; typically have three different rates of electrical consumption. They have starting amperage to start the compressor, running amperage to power the compressor, and operating amps or watts to run circulation fans, digital monitoring devices like thermostats, and digital programming and memory devices. The only way to determine their efficiency is to monitor total electrical consumption over a specific time like twenty four hours. These devices can also have higher efficiency ratings (lower electrical consumption) by designing them to transfer heat most efficiently.

Devices like television sets, computers, DVD players, ceiling fans, and room fans have constant consumption rates which are usually stated on a data plate somewhere on the device. Most of those devices continue to use electricity even when turned off to maintain any settings which may have been programmed into the device. They sometimes only partially shut down when turned off if they are programmed for instant on convenience. Many of them can only be totally turned off by disconnecting them from the outlet.

Lighting devices are the simplest to monitor because their consumption is usually stated in watts. By multiplying the total watts of one or all lights by the amount of time used per day, you can determine total watts used per day.

The best way to lower a carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption is to improve your home. The most efficient home will have at least R 11 up to R 24 rated insulation in the walls and ceilings. All glass doors and windows should be double paned with a constant sealed vacuum between the panes. All doors, door frames, windows, window frames, and other holes through the walls like water and electrical entries should be sealed with sealant to prevent heat loss.

Ted

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

thanks for taking the time to do this tedlin.

House has all replacement double paned windows. The attic floor is insulated to be a barrier between heated area and unheated attic. Can't do wall insulation. It's almost 100 yrs old, plaster over brick (with stucco over that for outside layer). I'm working on sealing up all the little spaces... caulking the edges of baseboard moulding, putting insulation pads in the electric outlets, door strips, etc.

tedln
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Posts: 2179
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:06 pm
Location: North Texas

RBG,

Actually, brick, stucco, and plaster make a pretty good heat sink. Ambient heat tends to remain in them. If the outside surfaces are protected from the sun, very little heat will transfer inside in the summer, yet they will retain and emit stored heat slowly in cold weather. I prefer that construction over hollow walls filled with insulation. Some people, in some climates have built adobe style homes with thick walls to retain and slowly emit heat.

You can also construct a trellis on the hottest summer time wall. Allow productive vines like cucumbers or beans to grow on the trellis in the summer to protect the wall from the sun and allow them to die back in the winter so the sun can heat the wall.

Ted

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tomf
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

My next-door neighbors are finishing up their green home. It is made from a brick that has sawdust and wood chips in it and then has a lining of fiberglass insulation. The inside and outside walls are stucco. They have in floor hot water heating and a wood stove that is a massive stonework, it radiates heat after the fire goes out for most of the day. There is an indoor swim in place pool in the house; Gorge needs it for his back.
The garage roof is made to hold a garden and they will be planting one there. I have seen some very nice green roofs; I have some photos of one I may post.



I have read that now there is a problem with indoor air pollution from homes being to tightly closed up.

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tomf
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

You power is at a fixed voltage with a tolerance of 110-120VAC and 210-220VAC. Most of you house is 120VAC and the large appliances may be 220VAC. The biggest reason for using 220VAC is you can trade volts for amps to get power so by having a larger voltage you can run a smaller size wire as the thickness of the wire has to do with the amount of current flowing through it.

There is this really cool thing called a light switch if you can teach your kids it also can be used to turn lights your doing good. Some times I think refrigerators should be made with glass doors, as kids will stand there staring into it with the door open.



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