OK, so about 2 years ago, my recent building work was well under way, the bigger ‘construction’ part was complete, we were at the first-fix stage.
This has been an opportunity to apply some modern thinking (within the cost constraints we set ourselves).
I had opted to use good quality wall / floor and ceiling insulations that exceeded Local building control guidance.
(I would want to measure any benefit)
We of course needed electricity for various appliances in the reworked rooms, but I also considered that many appliances we currently use/needed are lower voltage DC equipment. I added a separate 12v DC circuit that could be used in the future when connected to Solar PV (for now connected to a transformer from the AC mains. The only immediate use would be for phone charging points so I installed some 5v USB wall sockets, on this DC circuit with the relevant regulators and left blanking plates for the 12v points.
My main concern was the ability to record the effects of these changes on our energy use.
Sure – if my bills go down, I am saving (am I not!) – why record then…..
Well, prices for electricity/gas/water go up and down, as does your usage. You need the ‘usage’ data to work out if you have made savings, and what the effect of those savings have been and possibly could be in the future – regardless of the amount you get billed….your usage on those bills may not be granular enough for you to have an understanding of what is causing usage.
Hence my previous post about the CurrentCost devices as they gather data very regularly, and I can annotate the data where obvious things have happened, like when I ran a Jack Hammer over the weekend to break up old foundations (I can smooth this aspect out of my usage trends so it does not skew my overall results).
On a related note (to insulation):
If you/your house gets cold, you heat it up, this increases your energy use. If you have a good central heating system ‘it’ decides that it should supply heat until a point where its warm ‘enough’ and turns the heat off. The problem is that in the UK at least, most houses that are ‘mainly’ centrally heated, use radiators in each room. These radiators get heated by hot water from a ‘boiler’ and radiate the heat into the room they are in. Valves are used to attempt to regulate this heat so that some radiators can be turned down/off in unused rooms and some turned on/up in often occupied rooms.
Most new houses (of which ours is not) are fitted with semi-autonomous temperature regulated valves, these work to a degree (when they are new) but can be very ‘erratic’ in how they actually regulate this temperature. Anyhow – the nett effect is that in a lot of houses the ‘thermostat’ is constantly changed by the house inhabitants to fit their needs as it does not offer the control they are looking for when combined with the radiators they use.
This is often caused by an incorrect heating setup….my next target – but I wanted to measure any results.
I needed to go a step further than gather my usage information. I needed some environmental data. Internal room temperature of the main rooms seemed a minimum, outside temp was also important.
My search for a cost effective environmental monitoring system began.
Time is moving on in this set of catchup posts. The next post picks up another 6 months on.