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Old 01-29-17, 05:25 PM   #31
ME_Andy
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Here's a phase change material which would work. Now i need to figure out if the price is reasonable,

savENRG

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Old 01-29-17, 07:56 PM   #32
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Perhaps a cheaper option...
Phase Change Material Materials Manufacturers for Air Condition

The Alibaba sellers have minimum orders of tons.
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Old 01-29-17, 09:18 PM   #33
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To lower the temperature in your garage do it the same way you would in a house. Insulation, air sealing, and mechanical heat extraction, also a lighter color roof and/or shading the garage.
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Old 01-30-17, 08:20 AM   #34
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If you go with the fan idea, be sure the air intake is on the side of the garage that is shaded in the afternoon.
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Old 02-11-17, 12:32 PM   #35
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I appreciate the ideas, y'all. I took the first baby step today by stashing 40 gallons of water in and around the garage. This is a similar technique to what greenhouses use to regulate temperature. The attraction of this technique, for me, is that it's extremely cheap and easy. I may do a bit of research to see if 40 gallons is reasonable for a room this size.

While I was up in the attic, I saw that the garage side is not insulated at all. So I'm off to Home Depot to fill the Leaf up with insulation and take care of that. No wonder it got so hot in there.

Btw, lest you think I'm crazy with talk of phase change materials, it's something that every mechanical engineer and chem major learns. Maybe even high school chem students. Tesla's Gigafactory will have a "thermal energy storage tank" that may use the same concept.

https://electrek.co/2017/02/07/tesla...ry-production/
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Old 03-26-17, 08:56 PM   #36
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We got a Google Nest. It's fun! I like the Eco mode which is activated when the house is empty. It's set to maintain a temp between 69-79. It's also a very slick, ergo-friendly mechanical design. I haven't been very impressed with the machine learning aspects of the device, though, so the thermostat schedule was adjusted manually.



The city gave us a rebate of $85. In return, they can adjust the device at times of peak demand. There are some studies out there saying a Nest typically saves ~12% on heating/cooling.

When I look back on everything we've done in the past couple years, it's a lot. About the only things left on the eco wish list are 5 new windows and a Level 2 charger.
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Old 04-14-17, 11:51 PM   #37
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Can anybody help me out with advice/links to the requirements for a solar installation in Austin? I'm thinking about a gazebo with solar in the back yard. I'm not sure if that's going to require a structural analysis, etc.
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Old 12-30-17, 12:34 AM   #38
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Default A new house!

It's been awhile, but here's a little update. We sold our starter house to a friend, no realtor involved, and moved to a bigger, new house that's a bit closer to work. I wanted to get even closer but prices within the city of Austin get crazy.

How does it look? ~2000 sq. ft. and a joy to come home to every day.


https://imgur.com/a/SDye7 (link in case the image doesn't show)

It has a HERS score of 70, which I understand to be good but not great. Can anybody put that HERS score in more perspective? Not many ecomods yet except some easy things: turn down the thermostat, drapes, and efficient appliances.

I do miss the old house and the days of renting out a room. We had practically zero housing costs but the 1.5h commute was a killer.

We've saved a lot of money in the past couple years. Soon I will stop worrying about saving so much and focus on some fun things, like solar for the house. A Google Nest will be installed soon, too.

A development called "Whisper Valley" is opening nearby, and claims to be one of the first zero-energy capable, large developments on Earth. At first I was sad we missed out on it, but I realized that an equivalent Whisper Valley home costs about $40k more. I'm happy to take the home I have and put that $40k towards improvements here. The Whisper Valley commute also would have been more difficult.
Whisper Valley, Austins first EcoSmart, ZeroEnergy Community

Long term, we would like to build something like an earthship on a larger plot.

Some other lifestyle changes are helping us out: eating less meat and more staples, and recently switched my wife to Republic Wireless instead of Verizon. Her bill dropped from $88/mo to $35/mo! I'm also experimenting with a 10k+ mile oil change on my car. We're still spending about $600/mo on food and a ridiculous figure on travel... I would like to cut both of those figures.

The Nissan Leaf finally required a bit of maintenance. Its lead-acid aux battery died on a cold winter day. $120/3 years of driving... Not bad. Actually, my Chevy Cruze has been even better, with zero issues in 4 years.
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Old 01-02-18, 05:21 PM   #39
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After I finished the build of our second solar array and getting the two of them grid-tied, I had an energy audit done on our home in the Spring of 2013 {I can't seem to pull it up now, but that's another story} in order to correctly size a new heat pump. I knew my old one was oversized and had to prove it in order to keep from being oversized again by lazy HVAC contractors.

The baseline {IIRC} of 100 is for a well-constructed home to 2006 standards. They did a blower door test, duct leakage tests and a number of other calculations. At the end of the tests, a report was drawn up and my house scored a 28. I was rechecked when my auditor was being audited. Between the 1st (official) and 2nd (unofficial) audit, I had replaced the old unit with a SEER 19 HVAC unit along with an added 10" of cellulose blown in and a couple of can lights sealed up. The unofficial figure my original auditor gave me was 13. The house was built with open cell spray foam in the 2x4 walls, 3.5" on the top of the ceiling sheetrock and 2" closed cell under the floor. All cfl's at the time, the microwave and all electronics on power strips. Stuff like that.

FWIW, an energy audit should have a report. Review the report if you can gain access to it and it should show where the best areas of improvement for the money are. I'd check the house carefully for air sealing....around doors, windows, exterior wall electrical outlets, etc. Then, if I couldn't put my hands on a copy of the claimed audit, I'd have an audit of my own run so I could see where I stood and what would be the best place to start spending effort / money.
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Old 07-08-18, 05:17 PM   #40
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I did a little $5 upgrade today... Insulation in the outlets in the external walls, then plugging them with child safety plugs.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Duck-Bran...3=3169&veh=sem

https://www.target.com/p/safety-1st-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

We signed with Tesla to install a baby, 3.66kW solar system. It's not much compared to some of you but we don't use much electricity. That should cover 80% of our usage.

The cost is ~$11,200 before tax credits ($3.06/W). Considering the tax credit and the included Google Nest, the cost drops to $2.10/W. That's a good price, I think. The local electric rate is ~$11/kWh. The payback period will be about 15 years... Not great, but good enough, and I'm happy to support Tesla. I'll post pics when it's installed.

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