Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LED bulbs at my home.

Well the other day I was at the Home Depot here in TC and I was walking through the light bulb section. I noticed that they were now carrying LED bulbs. But the problem was they were very expensive, $30 - $50 each. So yesterday I was in Menard's and they had LED bulbs too and they were much cheaper, $14. So I purchased two and put them in the hall recessed can lights.
Currently we have compact fluorescent, CFLs, lights in all our recessed cans. But because I am trying to reduce my energy usage before I install solar, I am looking for additional ways to cut that energy usage. Keep in mind I am looking at a PAR 30 flood bulb which is typically used in recessed can lights.

So after installing them in the hall we were very disappointed in how they were not very bright. They don't have the lumen s that the CFLs have. So I went to the Feit's website to try and find out how many lumen s the bulbs that I have purchased were. But they had nothing listed about them. Only that they were for accenting things. Well that made since because of how dim they are. So I noticed that I should be using their Performance LED bulbs.Well here is the problem with using the Performance LED bulb, it uses 13 watts not any change in power usage between a CFLs which is the same wattage. So really there is no savings in changing the bulbs to LED. Until they get the wattage down then I will continue to use CFLs. I follow a company on Twitter and they make LED lamps in Pennsylvania and their bulbs were 14 watts, actually a little larger. I am going to take the bulbs back sense they really are not going to work in my application.

But the positive side to the LEDs was they were instant on. There was no warm-up time like the CFLs. The LED's color wasn't that bad either. It was a typical bright white like some car lights. The bulbs that I have are 3 watts which is good for energy savings and they also had a 30000 hr rating that is a long time. But if you can not see what you are doing where is the savings.

So after my little test over-night I am going to say wait before running right out to buy these LED bulbs. The technology has not caught up yet. If they are the same wattage as CFLs there is no energy savings.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not just talking about being "Green". But we're doing it.

I have been pecking away at getting our house's energy cost under control. I want to get everyone up to speed. So far these are the items things that I have done.

1) I did the light bulb thing. Changed at least 95% of our light fixtures now have CFLs in them. I was at Home Depot the other day and saw that they now have LED bulbs but they were at least $30 - $50 each not quite in my budget. But that will be the next item we will be using. I will give it a few more months and they will be cheaper.
2) We replaced all the windows except the two in the basement which we will probably have them done in the Spring.
3) I replaced all the toilets with Dual Flush toilet flush controls. This serves to purposes first we cut down on water usage and second the well doesn't run as much saving power.
4) We had an energy audit done. Which once I am done with everything I will have him come back to do the inferred camera again.
5) I just went through the attic and foamed all the regular fixture boxes and exhaust fans. The recessed can lights I built foam boxes around them.
6) Installed a new attic hatch that I bought from Advanced Insulation Systems here in Traverse City. Which this alone made a huge difference.
7) I will be insulating the area above the shower which has little or no insulation.
8) I installed the new wires for the solar panels and then sealed up the chimney chase which was wide open all the way to the basement.
8) I will also be installing a new door coming in from the garage. Since the old one has a huge gap at the top.

At this point I have only spent less then $650.00 if that, to get all this done, not counting the solar panels and windows.
Here is a list of costs:
Steel Door. $100.00
Insulation (roll and foam). $38.00
Insulated attic hatch cover. $200.00
Light bulbs. $100.00
Material to make the recessed can covers. $75.00
Toilet Dual Flush. $125.00
My time and the willingness to make a better home for my family and help us save money. Priceless

So that is where I am at with this whole process. I have the solar panels in the garage ready to be mounted on the garage. Just waiting for the rack to show up. I also need to make some aluminium brackets to mount them on. Which I will be picking up the aluminium later today to do that.

So I am excited that thing are moving along. I will keep blogging about this experience as I move along with this project.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Important News

As of yesterday I have decided not to carry the Skystream anymore. The reason is the price continues to go up at least every three months and I believe for its size you are not getting your moneys worth. I have been finding out that most people need a wind turbine that is at least 3 to 5kw in size, not 2.4kw. I am not saying a system of this size will not work for some people, but I believe for the amount of money that you are spending you might as well go to a bigger wind turbine. If I get asked from someone that they would like one. I will be more than happy to install it for them.

I do have a new wind turbine that I maybe using to take it place soon. But before I make that announcement I will be going to take a look at it in March. I will be visiting some sites with a dealer in Illinois that has installed 4 of them. I need to see how they are doing in really world situations. So stay tune I will have an update later at the end of March.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Survey says !!! Looking for a new tag line.

I just started a new survey looking for a new tag line. There also is a place to put your own comment if you have an idea for one. Click here to take survey

Have you had your energy audit yet?

I just dropped off a quote for a new solar energy system for a couple that uses about 700kWh a month, pretty average. This person had me quote a 3 panel system mounted on the roof, no problem. This system will generate about 72 kWh a month or 1/10 of this persons power, with perfect sunny conditions. But here is the thing the guy was surprised that it was not going to produce more power then that. I told him that this would be considered a starter system, if someone doesn't have a lot of money but wanted to start somewhere so this is what you would do. Because the system is capable of being added on to in the future. This is what I have decided to do at my home. I will be installing just 2 panels and adding on from there.

Before I decided to do this I got an energy audit from Empowerment Energy Analysts first. Well I have received my report and now I am in the process of doing some of the recommendations. This weekend I started building boxes to go over the top of the recessed can lights that are in the house and I sprayed foam on the regular light fixture boxes to block any heat from escaping through the holes. So that is where I started to try and reduce our energy costs. I am looking to reduce our energy cost even further. We currently use about 500 -600 kWh a month. I need it to be around 400 -450 kWh a month which is going to be hard because we have an electric dryer and stove. But I was informed that I need to put up a clothes line in the backyard and in the Summer we won't have to run the dryer as much. So that alone will help us cut down on energy usage.
The problem is that most people are not willing to give up their luxuries or gadgets that use electricity to achieve this .

So lets take the guy that I dropped the quote off to and use his energy usage as the example. To take the same 220watt panels to get the 700kwh that he uses, you would have to install 29 panels on the roof. Now the average cost to install a system of this size is around $45000.00 roughly. Now if he were able to reduce the amount of power that he uses down to 500 kwh a month. He would need 18 panels at 220 watts. The cost to install that would be about $25000.00 roughly. As you can see by dropping just 200 kwh a month the solar system drops in price by almost 1/2. So this is why it so important to get your energy usage under control. You end up saving thousand of dollars by doing so on a renewable system.

So the moral of the story is get an energy audit, get your power usage down to a more manageable amount and then buy renewables from me. Then you will have a win, win situation every time.

Here are three companies that I know that can help you with your energy audits. (You maybe able to get yours for free or at a reduced rate from your utility company)

Empowerment Energy Analysts (231) 218-3521
Paradigm Energy Services (231) 237-9293
Northern Auditor, LLC (231) 492-5136

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grand Traverse Green 2010

If you have nothing to do Friday and Saturday. Please stop to the Hagerty Center and check out the displays there of companies that maybe able to help you with your endeavor to go green at home or business.

The doors open Friday at 5:00pm to 9:00pm and Saturday at 8:00am to 4:30pm. Cost is only $5 to get in.

My display will be setup at booth #4. I will have my windmill display setup there to view. I will have some Smart Strips there for sale for just $25, normally $28.99 on my online store. Also I will have something new that will also be available for purchase and order, is the Power Predictor, which is a do-ityourself solar and wind study test that you can purchase to see if your site right for wind or solar. Saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on expensive tests or installing a system and finding out that it does not work. The cost of the Power Predictor is $330 for the show and it is normally $350.00 on my online store.

So stop by and say hello, I saw you on your blog. I look forward to seeing you all there.