January performance

Performance for our first month in the house. Updated Feb 5.

Jan 1, 2012 Feb 1, 2012
Utility Meter NET 97,095 kWh 97,599 kWh
Solar PV meter 5,054 kWh 5,423 kWh
Solar PV generation 369 kWh
Monthly usage 873 kWh*
Net usage or (generation) 504 kWh

* 504 net usage + 369 generated = 873 kWh of total energy consumed. I goofed up earlier because I forgot the utility meter reading is a net value, not a supply value. Originally I subtracted the two values and got into a mess. Thanks Walter for spotting my error. This should be easier now that I have TED up and running.

Unfortunately the mild winter weather is making it difficult to assess performance for an average year. New York State publishes Heating Degree Day Information, that documents the number of Heating Degree Days per month and compares them to the previous year and 30 year average. Albany’s 30 year average is 1085 HDD for December. December 2011 recorded 955 HDD, roughly 12% lower (warmer). December 2010 was higher with 1206 HDD. I’m expecting January 2012 to also have an unusually low number of HDD.

We now have monitoring equipment in place to more accurately measure kWh usage, PV generation and indoor and outdoor temperatures and humidity readings. Looking forward to seeing how February measures up.

5 Responses to “January performance”


  1. 1 Wade Stevens 1-February-2012 at 10:03 am

    So many numbers …
    Are you cooking pasta in the kitchen, or George’s data? :-)
    I’d love to hear more about about the more subjective side of the house. You haven’t been in it long (if you’re in it yet?), but I’m sure you have formed some initial opinions.

  2. 3 Jim Merrithew 1-February-2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Jill and Larry,

    The house looks wonderful. Larry sounds quite pleased.

    I have followup questions which are similar to Wade’s.
    How has the floor plan worked out in practice?
    Is there anything you would change?
    Did you have any difficulties moving large items (bed, dressers, etc.) up the stairs?
    When you have had snow or freezing rain, how long has it taken for the PV panels to clear?

    Thanks Jim.

    • 4 Larry 1-February-2012 at 8:33 pm

      Hey Jim,

      Let’s see, things we’d do differently. Here’s the list of things on my list in no particular priority.

      – We could have used an extra 1/16 inch space on both sides of the stove. The cabinet drawers bump against the stove when opening and closing.

      – We descoped the enclosed entry area / mudroom for budget reasons. Would be really nice to have a space to take off muddy boots before coming in the house. But that’s in phase two.

      – I’d planned the second bedroom to double as a home office, but I really prefer working downstairs. Unfortunately I didn’t wire any CAT5 downstairs. I assumed I could work wirelessly from the study, but VPN seems to like a wired connection better. DSL is ok, but I really miss cable bandwidth.

      – Kitchen rocks, but Jill insists on putting the dishes we use most on the other side of the island. So I’m constantly walking around the island to get a dish, or put them away after washing. But we still haven’t figured out to use all the cabinet space.

      – We haven’t had a lot of snow this year yet. So far its been an inch or two, mostly fluffy stuff. It melts or slides off the PV panels fairly easily. Not sure if that is attributable to the steep roof pitch or lack of sticky snow. On the other hand we didn’t get a lot of sun this last month, so it may not have mattered so much whether the panels were covered in snow or not.

      – We spent so much time air sealing the house I’m resisting putting nails in the exterior walls to hold up pictures. So Jill just leans them up against the wall, hoping I’ll get over it soon. So patient.

      – Had no problems moving stuff in or up stairs. I know you like wide doors Jim, but 30 inches works just fine for interior doors.

      – Lastly, the outdoor unit of the ASHP is mounted to a section of wall that extends the full height of the house, 17 feet. The extra length means that when the fan hits a certain speed, it sounds like a helicopter is warming up next to the house. It only happens for a few seconds, but next time I’d mount it on a section of wall that is not so tall. Plus, I know the cellulose is really packed in there, but I worry about the effect the vibration may have on it over time.

  3. 5 Jim Merrithew 10-February-2012 at 10:17 am

    Larry,
    Thanks for the feedback. -Jim.


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