Devices for home energy saving

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Devices for home energy saving

Postby tristanwilson » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:39 pm

Heya mates,

I'm looking to improve the way in which I save energy.
So far I've done the whole insulation, windows upgrading, and I have a small wind turbine installed. Well, it's still not enough and I've seen there are plenty of energy saving devices out there? Any advice on where to buy the best priced ones and what models/types I should go for?

I'm interested in something for the overall house as well as for specific items, e.g. computer energy saving.
Some ideas would be most welcome, guys.

Cheers,

Tristan
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:11 pm

Hi Tristan, are you off-grid and charging batteries with that WTG or is it grid connected?

Seriously, the best energy saver on electrical devices is the off switch :) Some appliances may need to be turned off at the power point too, since they waste power on "standby". My wife's stereo actually uses more power when it is turned off - on standby, than when it is in use! so it's always off at the power point when not in use.
There are remote control units available that can turn everything plugged into one or multiple power points off at once, avoiding the need to climb around/under an appliance to get at the power point.

Just buying a bew device to replace a perfectly good working one to save a few watts is not an environmentally sound action to take, the resources and energy involved in the manufacturing are unlikely ever to be offset if the original working appliance is thrown out or even recycled.

The forum sponsor EM, sells a number of power use monitors that might be useful for you to determine what applinces use the most power.
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby BundyzBitz » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:03 pm

Hi Tristan

The best way I found to reduce you energy use is simply to know exactly what items use ( I ended up writing a program to keep track & calculate costs for me).By knowing what's worth turning off, you can save without loosing you lifestyle.

I found , like Gordon, some devices using abnormally larger amounts of power on standby, Mainly the A/C (105W standby) and a Sony stereo (40W standby) both hardly get used so their off at the switch now.

I started of using a simple $17 plug in type energy meter and a mates clip-on multimeter(for the A/C,Stove etc).

The only 'Energy saving' device I use Is Master/Slave Powerboard on the TV (to turn the set-top box,PlayStation,stereo,DVD on and off)saved around 35-40W on standby

My last bill was around $950 (without solar) the next one should be around $350(without solar) , just from checking each item out.(I have in the past had a couple of "Energy Audits" done, none saved me a cent, some even gave very questionable advice)

Every watt you don't use, is a watt you don't have to generate or pay for.

My program is available at http://energyaudit.sourceforge.net/, there's also a "meters" page on different types of meters
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby disenchant@solar » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:20 pm

Hi
Start with heating and cooling needs first, your insulation will be helping,if they are not efficient
then you need to fix them first,ways of passive heating and cooling could be looked at. Solar hot water.
At same time i would install an efergy or centameter energy monitor and monitor your electricity usage to train you in whats using watt and when and fix any over usage on anything that heats up,cools down, drives or stay on. I still would replace an old appliance say oven or a/c you could buy a good used unit, built energy not such a prob then.
Then look at the lighting for incandescents, downlights the worst and fix them i would'nt personally have a recessed fitting in my ceiling it is totally self defeating, light loss,heat/cool loss.
lastly I would look at the number and use of tv sets.
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby davidriley » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:57 pm

Most of the energy saving devices simply tell you how much it is costing to run an appliance and help education wise. I would be a little dubious about anything that reduces the amount of power an appliance uses as dropping your voltage (like what happens in a brown out) can damage appliances.

My advice, if you want to reduce your consumption turn things off and don't use items if you don't need to. Get an energy auditor out to your home to advise on how to make your home more energy efficient (and not the type that hand out shower heads and light bulbs :mrgreen: )
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby witzl » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:33 pm

In reality, there is no such device that is "energy saving" on it's own.
However, there are devices that:

- replace another appliance, to do the same job but using much less energy (ie. does it more efficiently)
- indicate how much energy your appliances use, thus educating you on where you may be able to further save energy
- turn other appliances off when in stand-by (aka, standby killers)

Personally, i've used the first two in my home, and brought my power bill down by around $50/qtr.
I replaced the halogen downlights in my most commonly used areas (living room and bedroom) with LED versions that use 1/10th the power, but still produce same amount of light (yes - they do exist now!!), have fitted energy saver lamps in all regular lamp locations, and have stopped using the 2nd fridge in the garage (unless we're throwing a party and i temporarily need the fridge space).

As well as that I got myself a Watts Clever wireless power monitor - this little guy has a sensor/transmitter dealy that just clips over the main active line in my meter box, and wirelessly transmits the live power useage to the inside display. By regularly checking the display, i was able to see where the largest power consumers were in my home. For example, I found that my HiFi amplifer was pulling 100W on STANDBY... so by turning it off when not using it, i was able to save around 1.8kWh PER DAY!! (thats $35/quarter).


They say that the greenest watt is the one saved... but i rekon it's the cheapest, not the greenest!
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby disenchant@solar » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:36 pm

davidriley wrote: I would be a little dubious about anything that reduces the amount of power an appliance uses as dropping your voltage (like what happens in a brown out) can damage appliances.
Get an energy auditor out to your home to advise on how to make your home more energy efficient (and not the type that hand out shower heads and light bulbs :mrgreen: )


Not strictly true the home voltage could be high, say 250V,seen it a lot, while 230V is the standard,
it depends where you are on the power line and the transformer, quite a few appliances are even 220V, this difference can affect some appliances by power losses in them and power from ohms law being due to V squared can lead to high losses and lead to failure of the appliance. Power ntworks can sometimes alter voltage settings to a better level, it's the old case where people complain of blowing the old globes a lot.

A green electrician who knows auditing can test your place and install your monitor legally and advise you.
Paper auditors, says it all really.
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby davidriley » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:29 pm

Tristan,

This is the one I'm using: http://www.energysaver.net.au/product_i ... 3055267709 , it's really neat and it really helps you understand how much and especially where your electricity goes - basically, it's an green energy auditor in your hand :)

You might want to check other products on that website too - but, again, the best thing you can do is not to use "brown out" devices, or any devices that minimize your energy output, but rather gadgets that give you insight, information, and, best of all, control over the way you use energy.
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby Smurf1976 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:44 pm

Heating / cooling, hot water, cooking, refrigeration and standby are the big energy users for most. In some circumstances add computers left running 24/7, wasteful use of kitchen appliances and clothes dryers to the list.

Relative importance will depend on climate. For example in Tasmania it is "normal" that space heating is 50% of household energy use and hot water 25%. Go to Queensland and space heating isn't an issue.

One thing is pretty certain though. I've looked at energy consumption for plenty of people and I've never found a household situation where ordinary incandescent light bulbs were a real issue. Halogen downlights yes, TV's etc on standby yes, but not incandescent bulbs. Even if the house has wood for heating and solar hot water, the energy use by incandescent bulbs still isn't large relative to the total. Dishwashers are another one that comes to mind as not being a problem.

I'm not saying that you should have stocked up on incandescent bulbs. But replacing every working bulb in the house with a CFL doesn't really make a lot of sense either. Just how many hours per day are you really running the light in the toilet, bedroom or pantry? Worry about the lounge, kitchen etc certainly, but don't go overboard.

As for replacing appliances to save energy, very rarely does it really stack up in my opinion. Don't forget that conserving non-energy natural resources is also a pressing need, and that your new appliance has a design life that is quite likely shorter than the remaining life of the old one. With the exceptions of space heaters and water heaters, and under some circumstances fridges, you are unlikely to ever gain by replacing old appliances just to save energy.

Personally, I just buy the most efficient appliances that make sense whenever I'm buying something new and I use them efficiently. I replace when they either become obsolete (eg computers etc) or wear out. But there's no point in replacing a working toaster with a new one that is no more efficient than the old, same with many other appliances.

Of couse I turn the TV off at the wall when not in use, but when I bought it (2007) it made no sense whatsoever to choose a then quite expensive LCD over a comparatively cheap (but less energy efficient) plasma. An extra $1000 to save, with my usage, about 15 kWh per annum just didn't stack up. I could do far better financially by investing in something else, and I could save far more fossil fuel energy by spending the $1000 on solar. For the same reason I bought a top loading washing machine rather than a front loader. It just wasn't worth spending the extra money for the relatively trivial energy saving that would arise. If my objective is saving energy, then I'd be better off doing all sorts of other things instead. If my objective is to save money, then I'd be better off even just putting it in the bank.
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Re: Devices for home energy saving

Postby tristanwilson » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:21 pm

Awesome advices, guys, thanks a lot.
@ David: I got that device from energysaver.net.au, so far performs well, and it's giving me a good idea of what I'm spending and where. In case anybody is interested, there's a discount coupon code: ES351408, take it and share it ;)

Thanks for recommending the website, I got some more products from there: http://www.energysaver.net.au/product_i ... c0d2ad688b , it's a so-called ECO Button, basically a standby quick button, but it's useful when "nature calls" hehe.
Also, kids are having a blast with the weather station: http://www.energysaver.net.au/product_i ... ucts_id=23. Yeah, I have geek kids, I know :D They take after their dad, haha.
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