Energy Data – your path to enlightenment…

As I said in the post on water heater, I’m a numbers guy. But you probably have no idea just how much of a numbers geek I am….

A few years ago, I found Phil Malone’s amazingly cool website documenting his journey to energy efficiency building his own super-efficient home. You see, Phil is a kindred spirit, as are all the people on this page. We’ve all come to the conclusion that energy monitoring can be fun and enlightening. After all, if you don’t measure it, how do you know how much energy you’re actually using? It’s all just a bunch of theoretical mumbo-jumbo.

So with this post, I’m putting my own home’s data on-line for you to see. Isn’t that cool? It’s all my home’s energy use at a glance. From anywhere in the world, I can go to that web page and see if my ground source heat pump is running and how much energy it is using.

Using this data monitoring, I’ve been able to discover when things in my home are amiss. For example, this winter, my boiler broke down, and I was able to determine exactly when it happened and how fast my house cooled down. Why is this a big deal? Because if I wasn’t at home, I would have seen this before my pipes froze and my home was flooded. It could have saved me tens of thousands of dollars.

But on a daily level, it tells me where and how much energy I’m using. At a glance, I can see how much energy my ground source heat pump is using and how much heat it’s pumping out, which tells me if it needs servicing or if it “needs a rest” (I’ll tell you that story another time, right now my blood pressure is high enough…)

It also shows me just how much it’s costing me to have a hot tub, sitting outside in the cold, all winter long, wasting energy, just so once a month (maybe), we can sit in it and enjoy the view. This is a “luxury”, so why don’t I feel luxurious…

Plus, it shows me interesting things. If you’re observant, you’ll notice that the cold water side of my radiant floor heater is hot while the hot side is cold. What’s up with that? That’s actually intentional, because I disabled the circulator pump and am allowing the system to work passively (called thermosiphoning). This saves the energy use of the circulator, which can be substantial.

So if you’re technically inclined and really want to know what’s going on around your home, I can’t recommend Phil’s Web Energy Logger highly enough. It’s truly awesome.