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Some of you will remember seeing a couple of diaries that I did about making changes to reduce my carbon footprint.  The first one that I will reference is I'm on the teevee. Because of DailyKos.  Although the focus of the diary was the Power Cost Monitor--a device that raises awareness of your real-time electrical usage and can help you to conserve--it was also a diary about the flow of information here at DailyKos.  

I got that device because in a diary gmoke talked about it.  I found out that our electric company offered them.  Chapter1 found out who was in charge of the pilot program at NStar, and when the program really launched he let me know.  {the pilot program has since ended, btw}

Chapter1 got serious about reducing electrical usage, and did a great diary on Negawatts "(reducing energy use through conservation) is the cleanest and often the cheapest energy source, beating wind, solar and nuclear."    

And I got serious, too.  I have been able to reduce my electrical usage to almost half of what it was.  And because of my success--and willingness to proselytize--my electric company NStar got me hooked up with the local media and we did that tee-vee thing.  They expected to sell a couple hundred of the Power Cost Monitors in this program.  They sold thousands.  

During that filming, the NStar representative asked me if I had done an energy audit.  I hadn't.  So she connected me with the folks who do the audits, I had it done, and then I got stuffed (with photos).  We insulated our house.  In that diary people wanted me to follow up and tell you how it was going.  I'm back to tell you the outcome.


I guess we could call this Negatherms.  I am using less natural gas than I used to.  I will provide the data and you can evaluate it yourself.  In fact, I will do some simple calculations--but you should feel free to evaluate it in other ways.  I am not an expert in this field nor in mathematics--so have your way with the data and offer your conclusions in the comments.  The data is provided by my gas company, screen shot directly from their analysis tools.

The insulation was performed at the end of September.  That next month we had to re-test our systems and make sure the house was drafting properly, and we had the furnace fired up and the hot water heating tested.  All was well.  And then we began to live with the insulation.

Figure 1.  Energy usage before and after cellulose insulation.  Two fairly similar months were chosen for comparison.




Figure 1 shows that in rather comparable months (as judged by heating degree days), I used fewer therms than before the insulation. Heating degree days are a measure of how much below 65 degrees the day averages--it is a way to estimate heating needs.

You could calculate the savings in a couple of different ways.  But even the more conservative estimate would show that I saved 13-17% based on my therms of natural gas.  

Ok you say--that's one month.  Have you changed your behaviors?  Are you living in a refrigerator to prove this? I don't have the actual data to show you how much more comfortable I am.  I can say that I have not pulled out as many heavy sweaters as I did last year.  It would be hard to demonstrate this--but the house feels much warmer and is much less drafty.  No more in-house wind chill.  Because of this I have been able to nudge the thermostat down a degree or two in some of the program cycles.  It is also much quieter in my house, but you can't quantitate that at all.  It is quieter from the street noise, and also because my hissy hot water radiators aren't cycling on/off nearly as much as they used to.  Comfort is much higher in several ways.

But let's examine another month to see if this persists.  This is my current bill, and it has been somewhat colder since the first one.

Figure 2.  A different month of comparison of natural gas usage before and after insulation.



It actually seems better with increased cold.  Saving therms.  Saving money.  Reproducibly.

So there's my data so far.  Your mileage may vary.  Some people might have additional benefits--for example, if your furnace has an electrical blower component, you might save electricity with fewer cycles of heating.
Because of my participation in the energy savings programs, the folks at NStar asked me to be on the teevee again.  Here is a   clip that we did for New England Cable News. This time we covered a lot more ground, I think.  And if you watch the clip you may notice a few things that other people wouldn't--I have illustrated them on the image.  A Siegel gave me one of those Uncle Sam pins which sits on my thermostat.  I have the DVD for An Inconvenient Truth right there.  And I made that sweater (that's for the WAYWOcrafters).    

We can all help make


Energy Smart.

Ask yourself:  

Are you doing your part to



Originally posted to mem from somerville on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 09:15 AM PST.

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