Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Heating and Electricity by Time

Inspired by this Stephen Wolfram (Mathematica) personal analytics, I've visualised my heating and electricity use by 15 minute periods over the last six months. The aim of these is to see when you are using most energy such that it can help you target energy reduction approaches.

This shows the heating demand reducing as the winter turns to spring. I've made a few improvements over the last few years - insulating the main flat roof; insulating the mansard roof; fitting good quality curtains and closing them at dusk; and the latest improvement was fitting the timed thermostatic radiator valve mentioned in the earlier blog.

This shows that the electricity demand remains fairly constant over the period (except for a few long weekends away). The dappled effect over night is the A++ fridge operating every so often. Our peak use is for washing that is normally done once a week on the weekend.

This shows the classic scatter plot of heat used (kWh) vs demand (Heating Degree Days). For a commercial property these can be very accurate, but for a domestic property life is much more variable with evenings out and holidays etc. By removing the holidays (black dots) I've got reasonable results, with higher heating on Wednesdays as that is my wife's day off.

These were done using the R-Project which is a useful tool for easily doing complex charts and statistical analysis. I'll convert it into JavaScript (Flot bubbles) for the OpenEnergyMonitor emoncms project.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Some new energy gadgets

Seeing as we now have a summer, I thought it was a contrary time to post my experiences with some new heating related gadgets.

Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV)
My flat has two floors that are connected by an open staircase, so I was heating both rooms all of the time. Now with one of these valves upstairs, I can heat the upstairs (breakfast room) in the morning and the main thermostat will cut off the heating when up to temperature. In the evening the upstairs radiator is turned off so that the downstairs (TV room) radiators provide all the heat letting both rooms get warm.

I got an Energenie Smart Radiator Valve. It is controlled by an infrared remote control so you have to be nearby to operate it. Although this Conrad Wireless TRV is likely to be easier to use and should be controllable using an arduino.

Thermal Leak Detector
This is an interesting tool - point it at a wall and it shows where the cold spots are.
Black & Decker TLD100

Sunday, 8 April 2012

OpenEnergyMonitor Histogram functionality

A histogram shows the energy (watt hours) by power (watts) which allows analysis of what types of devices (low / medium / high) are using the most energy.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Personal experiences of saving 42% on my electricity use

I have owned an energy monitor for 3 years and using the data downloaded to my PC, can provide good evidence for my significant energy savings:
  • 2008 - Got my energy monitor (DIY Kyoto Wattson)
  • 2009 - Changed behaviours (like turning off lights) saved 2 kWh per day
  • 2010 - A new A++ Fridge saved a significant 1.4 kWh per day.
  • 2011 - Replaced most Halogen bulbs with LEDs saved another 1.3kWh per day.
    • We are starting a "Halogen Busters" campaign through Transition Towns in North London.
This has resulted in total savings of 4.8 kWh/day which is 58% of the original amount and results in savings of £245 per year.

This histogram chart below shows the distribution of power use. By replacing appliances with more efficient ones, the peaks move to the left (less instant power) and reduce in height (less overall energy). The cumulative lines show the overall savings.

This histogram chart type is going to be incorporated into the OpenEnergyMonitor emoncms by Trystan Lea.

Weather station sending data to Pachube via Arduino

Using Practical Arduino's code to decode the data from a Technoline WS2350 weather station.
Then extended to send weather data and internal temperature (using one-wire DS18B20) to Pachube.
Note the Hope 434 MHz AM receivers are currently in short supply (try www.futurlec.com).

Multi-line charts using dHunter's Pachube Google Visualization API for Pachube app:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Energy Efficiency Leaflet

With increasing energy bills, global warming and peak oil (more expensive, dirtier oil) there has never been a better time to reduce your energy use and invest in renewable generation. Things you can do and useful web sites.
Link to full Leaflet

Things that you can do

1.       Read your meters regularly
This helps you to understand your energy use and provides feedback that any changes are having an effect.
a.       Use a whole house electricity monitor – available cheaply from your energy supplier.
b.      Use a plug-in monitor for individual appliances.
2.       Change your behaviour
a.       Turn lights off when not required.
b.       Look out for stand-by guzzlers
(note, some modern devices have very low standby use).
3.       Change to new appliances
a.       “Halogen Busting” LED lights – the new 6W LEDs give the same quality of light as 50W halogens and are only £11.
That could be a 15% saving on your bill and a 1 year payback.
b.      Replace old appliances with A++ versions .
Your fridge is on all the time and uses a good proportion of your electricity. A new one can have a massive impact.
4.       Renewable power
a.       The “Feed in Tariff” (FIT) provides you with 41.3p per kW hour  generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
A 3kWh installation will cost about £10,000 and provide about 2400 kWh per year, an average over the year of 6 kWh per day.
b.      Solar Thermal can generate most of your hot water needs.
This can be difficult in our area due to routing pipes to multiple flats.
5.       The “Green Deal” law should be passed in 2012, this will provide a loan tied to the building that will paid using savings from your energy bills.


·         www.transitionbelsize.org.uk
·         Halogen Busters
o   www.brightlightz.co.uk   for a 5% discount use code “AFD458”
choose 6W warm white bulbs, GU10 or MR16 to suit  your fittings.
·         Electricity Monitors
o   www.diykyoto.com   The Wattson has a bright LED display that makes it easy to change your behaviour,  you can also download the data to your PC.
·         Meter reading
o   Meter Readings for iPhone by Graham Haley
·         Solar Panels – local feed in tariff installers
mention “Belsize Energy”

As used at the Transition Belsize Green Fair on 24th September.