Monday, August 9, 2010

Reflections midway through the summer

We are now a good half of the way through the summer of 2010. Here in Central Texas, we've had a relatively cool June and July, with some clouds and even some rain, but August is already looking pretty rough. Our traditional summer high-pressure system has finally blanketed the state, capping any storms before they can form, and keeping high temperatures around 100 F.
It is too soon for another analysis of summertime energy performance (although my July usage was pretty darned good), but I am looking forward to the end of September when I'll have another good round of data in place for comparison. Since I haven't made any efficiency changes to the house since last summer, it might be nice to see if the "effectiveness" numbers that I've used to measure how well the house performs independently of the weather match up from last year to this year. If there's not a lot of change from the 2009 to the 2010 number, we can probably assume that "cooling effectiveness" is indeed a useful measure.
In the meantime, I am trying to think what I might do with this blog. My intention in starting it was to share some of my experiences so that other house-dwellers might learn how to, and perhaps be inspired to improve their own homes. Also, I wanted to get across a few major themes, including:
  • Very low materials-cost improvements can provide significant savings
  • Attacking heat on multiple fronts yields major synergy
  • Return On Investment for efficiency can be better than most traditional investments
I think that I have done that, and hopefully amused and entertained a few people along the way.
But this begs the question: what now? I think I've grabbed the lowest-hanging efficiency fruit already. Although more can always be done, I find it unlikely that I'll improve the house further in the near term, due to the larger cost increments that will now be involved. So what will I write about?
I suppose I'll have to start writing about whatever ends up on my mind. There is much going on in the larger world of energy efficiency, energy future, grid planning, and all manner of related topics outside the microcosm of my now less-energy-inefficient house. I may need to add my voice to the many already talking about these larger topics. If nothing else, I now know from personal experience that there is much that can easily be done in this area.
In the meantime, if you, the intrepid reader, want to examine the journey that got me to this point, I encourage you to start from the beginning (which includes an Executive Summary with links to the various posts) and learn what you can about the lore of improving that enemy of efficiency, the single-family dwelling. Until then, adieu!

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