New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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In considering how to replace a furnace diagnosed with a cracked (thus
dangerous) heat exchanger last week, I discovered that this month, by my
calculations, and in my case, the cost of incremental electrical energy for
home heating ( $0.0506 per kWh) fell below the cost for heating by natural
gas($1.52 per 100 cubic feet ~ $1.48 per therm).  
 
http://www.cinergyulhp.com/pdfs/Rate_RS_gas.pdf
http://www.cinergyulhp.com/pdfs/Rate_RS.pdf

Even assuming an extremely efficient furnace/boiler with an Annual Fuel
Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 96%, and an efficiency of 99% for electrical
resistance heating, 1 million net BTUs of heat cost me $15.42 (gas) and $14.98
(resistance electrical). (The electrical power used by the blower is the same
in each case.)

Using electricity to power an air-source heat pump during periods when outside
air temperature is appropriate cuts the cost in half ($7.44).

This should give folks interested in home automation and control pause for
thought. (Environmental considerations add yet another dimension to ponder.)

For example, leaving lights turned on 24x7 and the fridge door open both have
the potential of _reducing_ my total bill from my utility during the heating
season.

And the additional cost of a gas burner compared to a electrical resistance
heating element is _never_ amortized by the lower price of gas.

And so on.

Lotsa balls in the air at the same time.

... Marc (still lookin for the 'rithmetic mistake ...)
Marc_F_Hult
www.EControl.org

Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
Marc F Hult wrote:
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Leaving the fridge door open does what? Causes the compressor to
run constantly and food to spoil? You are using the compressor to
generate heat, colder on the shelf side of the fridge, hotter
on the back and top.  A big toaster does it better
and doesn't have expensive parts to wear out.

Leaving the lights on is exactly the same as running a
resistance heater or as the heat pump folks call it
"emergency heat". Except that the light bulbs burn out
and all the lights help keep you up at night and fade
colors.

Use a well to provide heat to your heat pump year round.
Well established technology.

Assuming you can tolerate the luke warm air that a heat
pump puts out.

On topic, zoning is probably a useful area for home automation.


--
Pat



Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
Pat,

I think Marc was just trying to be humorous!  With the energy cost situation
*temporarily* upside down, the spill heat from from leaving something like
the fridge door open is likely to reduce the demand for more expensive gas
or oil because the open door and ever-running compressor  would help to heat
the house via cheaper electricity.  As you point out, there are other,
hidden costs.

With gas and oil as pricey as they are, it's almost an economic certainty
the price of electricity will rise.

It does give rise to an interesting question:  Does it pay to have two types
of heating systems if there's a tremendous flux in availability of fuel
sources?  How would that be manageable from an HA standpoint?

--
Bobby G.




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the



Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
Why not just rule out the cost side and pay for it up front with today's
dollars and not tomorrows.

Many live well on alternative energy.  Solar with home automation is a great
way to go.  Many states have subsidies to help defray the costs.  If you
plan to live in your home for more than 6-8 years, it will pay for itself.

The best setup I have seen is a zero energy home.  It produces more energy
during the day and the meter spins backwards, at night you use more than you
generate, so it spins forward.  Ideally at the end of the month the end
result is zero change.  I have seen some home make money from the electric
company. Works better in Florida than Fairbanks in the winter, but even in
Seattle it is a viable source.  My mother lives this way 1 hour outside of
Seattle.

Pair this with a well programmed home automation system, florescent lights
and a electric based heating system and you are doing well.  In addition get
a 30 gallon tank for the roof, with a on demand heater for back up and your
covered, conserving all around.

But there is that pesky price tag up front....

--
Brett Griffin, Co-Founder
Architechtronics
providing unique home technology solutions

*Home of "fidoh" for HAI/OnQ/Aegis
http://www.architechtronics.com/fidoh.html

X-10 to UPB, Two-Way Translation
http://www.architechtronics.com/chameleoplc.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
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That's a hard choice for many people.  You need to be in a house for a long
time to recoup but you need to be able to move around the country to move up
in most companies.  Where do you make that cut?  Ideally, the government
should make sure that whoever does the work gets compensated for it fairly
with tax credits and other stimulants.

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great

I'm not so sure.  The last time I looked, solar had an awfully long payback
time and most people said it was a labor of love of the environment more
than a love of cost saving. That was only a few years ago.  Maybe the swing
in energy costs has made solar more favorable than it was.

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you

Really?  Tell us more.  I always thought Seattle was in one of the zones
where solar was really an iffy proposition because of the number of cloudy
days a year.  What were the up-front costs?  Would it work for a
high-wattage geek as well as your mom?

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get
your

That's the lynchpin.  If the Feds were really sincere about becoming energy
independent, we would see serious assistance in the purchase and
installation of solar systems.

--
Bobby G.




Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
Economics 101:

There is enough coal to meet the world's energy needs for 800 years. All
that black smoke in the air will severely impact solar energy costs.

Plus, current coal mining methods flatten West Virginia mountaintops and
fill the valleys in preparation for selling them as beachfront property.
It's a twofer.


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Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
On Tue, 20 Dec 2005 12:07:53 GMT, nobody@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote in

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ROTFL. Good humor is a great improvement to what Dave brought to this topic
last time 'round in c.h.a  ;-)

But mountain-top removal is a reality in Dave's home state of Kentucky, not
jist in thet far-way furren land called West Virginee.

(FWIW, I am a Board member and Chair of the Issues and Policy Committee of an
environmental group that is suing the US Army Corps of Engineers in Federal
court to end this heinous practice in Kentucky.
http://www.kwalliance.org/news/nwp21casestatement2005.html )

A discussion of the Faustian bargain of low-cost electricity in exchange for
environmental and health devastation caused by irresponsible coal mining
practices can be found here:
http://www.kyrc.org/webnewspro/111817976760209.shtml
Kentucky Resources Council on "Electricity and Environmental Politics"  Posted:
June 7, 2005


... Marc
Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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for

They said:

"If we are to craft a more rational energy policy, it must fully cost and
fairly price energy by accounting for the ecological, health and safety
impacts of the production and utilization of energy."

That seems to sum it up.  The Feds are the ones to take the lead on this
because they can allocate long-term funds to underwrite the development of
solar energy.  This is where a purely "free market" model fails. IMHO.
There are some things like the interstate highway system and the broadcast
spectrum that need the backing of an agency dedicated to long-range
planning.  Too bad Sen. Stevens is so drill happy.

--
Bobby G.




Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
I told you so!

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/science/earth/22climate.html?pagewanted=all

Burn more dirty coal to generate cheap electricity and slow global warming
at the same time. And wear rose colored glasses if you don't like the
darkened sky. ;)

nobody@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote:

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Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

ROTFL. Top Dog Dave top posts and takes credit -- more than three decades
into the era of significant mathematical computations of global heat budgets
that account for the relative proportion of solar energy that is absorbed or
reflected. I'll read the hardcopy  of the journal _Nature_, in which this
article was published when it gets to my house. Lay accounts often pull out
a theme of topical interest and distort its significance for news purposes.

FWIW, As best as is now understood, the major factor in the anthropogenic
effects on climate from burning coal in modern generating plants is carbon
dioxide. About/very roughly 7% of all anthropogenic CO2 release from energy
production worldwide is from burning of coal in US.

There is real work by real people doing constructive work on these real
issues. For example, regions of the world that have sedimentary rocks from
which coal is mined also tend to have thick sedimentary rocks into which
carbon dioxide captured from the burning of coal could be injected, thus
sequestering the CO2 from the atmosphere and biosphere much as natural
geochemical deposition of the sedimentary rock limestone and dolomite does.
This the case in Kentucky where Dave and I live and where most of  the coal
that runs our computers is mined.

http://www.uky.edu/KGS/emsweb/co2/co2.html

There are significant (home automation) choices in all this that I am
personally pondering at this time (hence the thread.)

A home heating system that burns coal pellets in the back yard releases as
much CO2 as burning the coal in a modern coal-fueled power plant, but the
home system typically releases more particulate matter and sulfur. Here in
Kentucky, home use of coal and other solid fuels is making a comeback. I
know someone locally who just added a coal-pellets to their home heating
system and is thrilled with it.

The use of pellet-like fuel for residential heating is not a new idea. Forty
years ago I lived in an apartment in Spain that heated by a system that fed
almond shells from an electrically operated  hopper to the firebox to heat
the boiler. No X-10 though ... ;-)

However dirty they may or may not be, coal and other pellet fuels are legal
(in most place in the US), available, practical and much, much cheaper than
energy sources from utilities, so -- as they say -- I'm 'conflicted' ;-)

The end is in sight for my hardwired lighting project. So the next five-year
HA effort might be to develop a HVAC system and overall energy strategy that
is low enough in cost so that I can afford to stay in the house when the
price of petroleum-based fuels doubles and redoubles again.

One of the next steps may be to build a mathematical energy budget model of
the house, as much for the challenge as for a tool for decision-making in
design and operation. This might also be a good start in graduating from an
automated house to an autonomous house.

Marc
Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

On Thu, 22 Dec 2005 15:12:49 GMT, nobody@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote

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energy


Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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Boiling down energy math to news articles. Ugg.

My personal favorite bit of info gleaned from this article was that these
scientists " work for government agencies." Always makes me skeptical.

I'm sure some hackery of a propoganda house (Something with a name like the
Global Center for Climate Research) will enjoy reading an article like this.



Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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Tsk, tsk.  Please don't be a master baiter.  You know better than to swat
the local
curmudgeon.  You're going to both have to share a new sobriquet:

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0194883 /

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"In 2002, Kentucky's coal-fired power plants emitted 87 million metric tons
of CO2 (seventh overall in the United States, EIA)."

Damn. That's a lot of CO2!

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Forty
fed

What happened to the ashes?

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legal
than

I assume adding ways to control fly ash and other particulate matter brings
that pellet fuel cost up, were an homeowner to go that route and seek to
minimize pollutant outputs.

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five-year
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that

You can count on that as long as petroleum production is cartel and not
market based.

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of
an

HAL of 2001?

Home: "Marc, I'm afraid I can't let you back into the house."

Marc: "Why not?"

Home: "Your random activity patterns make it impossible for me to operate at
peak energy efficiency.  Calculations show that with you locked out, I can
reach optimum efficiency levels."

--
Bobby G.






Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
On Sat, 24 Dec 2005 14:05:44 -0500, "Robert Green"


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There isn't much ash compared to coal. We also used coals from almond shells
in a copper brassier that was put under a round table with a wool blanket on
top. Four or five people could sit around the table at once keeping their
feet (if nothing else ;-) toasty warm. Very traditional. Very efficient.
Very social. All gone .. :-(  No X-10 involved :-)

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Last year I toured the plant of a major manufacturer of wallboard
("sheetrock") located near my house on the Ohio river. The supply of
synthetic gypsum for the wallboard is provided entirely by sludge from
sulfur-dioxide scrubbers on the very same coal-fired power plants, also on
the Ohio river, that provide the electricity to my house. This is about
2,000,000,000 pounds per year of waste that doesn't need to go to landfills,
but, rather, can become a physical part of my next energy-saving
re-insulation project ;-)

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I just built and installed a 1.5 x 3-foot aluminum and glass enclosure for
the solar cells that have been sitting in my 'junk box' for ~15 years. The
intent is to develop an entirely self-sufficient, low-power HA system
starting with environmental monitoring.

So HAL might run for a long time unless some black substance were to fall
over the earth blotting out the solar radiation to the solar cells (and thus
HAL's power supply). FWIW, this is a scenario (Black Gook Covers Earth) that
I was asked to evaluate, chalk in hand, during my PhD candidacy oral exam 40
years ago ;-) The premise in turn was probably stimulated by the interesting
nonsense in the 1950's book by Velikovsky _Worlds_In_Collision.

Lottsa ideas that seem new aren't ...

... Marc
Marc_F_Hult
www.ECONtrol.org

Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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system
shells
on
brings
landfills,

and lottsa typos made when I go too fast ;-) Make that "30 years ago".

(How time flies when you're having fun !) ... Marc

Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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system
shells
on

That was when Generalísimo Francisco Franco wasn't "still dead" as SNL was
so fond of saying.

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brings
landfills,

The problem is that kind of recovery effort is almost never worthwhile on a
small scale.  Single homes burning coal pellets or something similar will
put out a lot more particulate, in aggregate, than a larger plant putting
out an equivalent amount of total power.  But making homes that are not
single heating fuel dependent is probably going to be a thriving industry
for a little while, at least.

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That's an interesting place to start.  I've deployed a number of wireless
thermometers in various parts of the house to study the temperature patterns
but I want to switch to something far more automatic.  What will you be
using to monitor temperatures throughout the house?  Any thoughts to measure
air flow or infiltration?

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thus
that
40
interesting

That books makes intelligent design seem highly credible!

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I saw an SD card that can fold itself into a USB plug today.  That's new, at
least!

Have you gotten your MUX on line yet?

--
Bobby G.




Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
As I was saying...

     http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=168729764&p=y6873x47x

nobody@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote:

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Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control

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I was at a conference not too long ago where one of the speakers presented
the idea that we'd run out of petrolium supply before its environmental
impact forced us to stop using it, but the environmental impact of coal
burning would force us to stop using it long before the supply runs low.

It was, at least, interesting to consider.



Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
The earth's survived years and years of darkened skies from various
mega-eruptions like Krakatoa.  I'm betting on improvements in solar
technology that at least keep up with the incremental darkening of the
skies.  I hope. :-)

--
Bobby G.

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energy



Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
There have been some big advances in solar recently including "spray on
solar panels" that work on cloudy days.

     http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/1330520/posts

My point, sardonic as it was, is that there is no energy crisis. There's
ample coal and it's used now for more than 50% of our electricity. Even in a
state like Texas where the oil industry controls nearly everything, coal
supplies more than 40% of the electricity.

It makes more economic sense to develop technology to burn (and mine) coal
cleanly than it does to continue to depend on oil and gas and the wars that
is sure to bring. China is also a big coal user with huge reserves.

As for the Hummer driving (there are big tax breaks for buying a Hummer)
pseudoenvironmentalists doing the oil companies dirty work, the U.S. Court
of Appeals has already ruled that mountain top removal is OK. I wouldn't
hold my breath waiting for that to be overturned. Anyway, most of W. VA will
be flatlands by the time the case reaches final resolution. :(

     http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10194185 /

BTW, Mother Nature's solar devices didn't fare so well in the years
following Krakatoa - crop yields were down for a few years.

I hope Santa puts coal in everyone's Christmas stockings.


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Re: New paradigm for home heating automation and control
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Neat.  I've seen a solar shingle material that doesn't look much different
from the regular variety.  It's improvements like these that will propel
solar in a big way.

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a

There *IS* an energy crisis to the poor Jane and John Homeowners who are
paying twice what they did last year to drive to work and twice what they
did last year to heat their homes.  For lots of people, that's a crisis of
incredible proportions.  It means giving up a lot, especially to people who
live close the borderline, economically speaking.

I do agree, however, it's not like we'll have to shutter America and go
dark.  There is a short-term crisis as a result of Katrina that, with the
help of some rabid journalists, Senators and newscasters, has been blown up
to incredible proportions.

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that

My read on the matter is that once upon a time we had the most voracious oil
appetite.  Now China has come into the modern world as a very big mouth to
feed, oilwise.

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will

I agree.  I recently read a piece that described how much lobbying muscle
the coal industry has.  They aren't going to be weaned from mountain-eating
very soon.  It's important that people try, though.  The mining companies
have been forced to change at least some of their ways, even if their
compliance is half-hearted, at best.

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And the weak died off, just the way She intends!  I've read that some
scientists believe our ancestors got our big break during the iridium
asteroid strike that alleged to have wiped out the dinosaurs.  The skies
stayed dark for a long, long time and only the carrion eaters made it
through - only the small ones, at that.

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One lump or two?

--
Bobby G.




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