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Old 12-16-08, 03:12 PM   #1
MetroMPG
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Default Squeezing the most from a tiny, old, uninsulated apartment

I'm staying on the Nova Scotia Atlantic coast for the winter (until March, approximately).

It's a tiny apartment - 287 square feet! (26.7 m^2.) - in an old house, maybe 100 years old.

For the challenge, I'm monitoring & trying to minimize energy consumption - but mods have to be within reason because it's a rental, and a short-term one at that.

Here's the set-up...
  • ALL electric - baseboard heat, hot water.
  • Only non-electric thing is a propane BBQ, which gets used maybe once or twice a week.
  • The little fridge (about 4 sq. feet) only uses about .4 kWh a day.
I'm not sure what the heat draws, but I'm guessing it's 2000+ watts.
  • On days where the overnight low was -7C to -10C (14-19F), total kWh for the 24 hour period has been between 19-23 kWh.
  • When the low has been between +3 to +9C (37-48F), total usage has been 10-16 kWh.
And here's what's been done so far...
  • Since it's more or less a 1-room place and I spend 95% of my time in that one room when I'm here (which is most of the time -work from home), I've closed the door to the walk in closet and hung a curtain between that room and the kitchen/bath.
  • Put clear plastic on the 2 windows (unfortunately no southern exposure - west & north).
  • Unplug all electronics when not in use (my laptop is my work/entertainment center)
  • Use a 1500w toaster oven rather than the stove, where possible
  • And of course, keep the thermostat low, dress warmly and turn it WAY down at night (15C / 59F)
Here's the old pile! (The yellow one.)



The window on the top left is my west facing one.

Heat is obviously the big energy hog here.

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Old 12-16-08, 03:20 PM   #2
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Ah, the luxurious pad I've heard so much about. Looking forward to hearing more on the subject.
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Old 12-16-08, 04:19 PM   #3
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How much of a difference in comfort / energy use has sealing the windows made?
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Old 12-16-08, 05:01 PM   #4
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I wish I could give you a number for energy use difference, but I didn't do any before/after calcs. (And I think it would be hard to gather experimentally, since the outside temps are constantly changing).

But comfort wise, it has definitely reduced drafts. The biggest bonus is that it has stopped most of the condensation forming on the inside of the outermost (non double-pane) glass. So I can see outside! When I first got here, the condensation was literally running on that glass before I put the plastic on.
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Old 12-16-08, 05:16 PM   #5
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Oh, and power here is about 9 cents per kWh, and is apparently 75% coal, 13% natural gas, the remainder being oil, hydro, wind and tidal.

It's funny. On Nova Scotia Power's web site, the order they list their generation methods is the inverse to the proportion each represents in the mix: they put the renewables at the top, and coal/oil/nat gas at the bottom.
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Old 12-19-08, 12:25 PM   #6
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Coldest night of the year (so far) last night (-10C / 14F), and not surprisingly the highest energy consumption in 24h: 24 kWh

Bummer!

24kWh would be enough to drive the electric car about 130 km / 80 mi!
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Old 12-19-08, 01:06 PM   #7
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Wow, thats a lot of juice.
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Old 12-19-08, 05:36 PM   #8
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Yeah, I'm considering building a smaller "room within the room" with the baseboard heater inside it.
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Old 12-19-08, 07:11 PM   #9
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In Japan they have a device which is basically a coffee table with blankets that hang down to the floor on the sides. attached under the table is a small heater. The idea is they let the house go cold and stay sitting on the floor with their legs under the table. Later they sleep mostly under the table. It's a far smaller area to keep warm and should use way less heat.
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Old 12-22-08, 11:19 PM   #10
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I think you need to wear more clothing. 15C is what we keep our apartment at right now and it goes to 12 C while we aren't there or sleep. A few dollars for a good hoody can go a long way!

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