House performance tracking

This is the first post in the performance tracking category . I plan to add more sophisticated tracking devices in the future, but for the moment I’m simply tracking our monthly power meter and solar generation meter readings, as well as our total water usage.

Our readings at the beginning of January:

Meter reading 97,095 kWh
Solar PV output 5,054 kWh
Water usage 547.9 gallons

We’ve only been in for 5 days, but here’s our initial learnings. The first night we left the heat on. It was set to 68F. We generally like to sleep in cooler temperatures, however, so we started turning it down to 60F at night. The inside temperature hasn’t gone below 62F yet. We’ve had a decent amount of sun since we moved in, so the heat tends to shut down after 10am-ish. This means we’ve only been using the heat for about 4 hours a day (6am to 10am). The house has maintained it’s temperature throughout the day and dips down into the lower 60’s at night.

Today has been a bit different. It’s cloudy, snowing and 28F outside. I set the heat at 68F this morning until it reached that set point. Then I lowered it to 65F. With very little sun out today the heat has kicked on a few times. The sun really makes a difference during the day.

I’ve been tweeting our daily morning temperature readings (@uphillhouse). We had a cold snap the other night. The outside temperature got down to 3 degrees F, but the house only went down to 62F. Same for the last night. Low was 18F, but house didn’t go below 62F.

Five days in, the house interior has only had an 8 degree temperature range overnight with temps outside ranging from 3F to the lower 30’s.

We’re off to a good start.

7 Responses to “House performance tracking”

  1. 1 Lucy Foxworth 9-January-2012 at 1:21 pm

    Very impressive numbers. Sounds like you have a very comfortable house (which is often an overlooked reason to build an energy efficient structure).

    • 2 Larry 9-January-2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks Lucy. I thought we had a tough time getting this house finished, but you’ve been working on two houses. Keep up the excellent work.

  2. 3 Steve Toomey 9-January-2012 at 9:17 pm

    Appreciate the ongoing updates on the house’s performance. I’m planning to build a house with similar goals in CT this year and would be interested to get a copy of the energy calculation spreadsheet referenced back in this post:


    • 4 Larry 11-January-2012 at 8:22 pm

      Hey Steve, thanks for your comment. I can’t believe you’re going to make me dig up that old spreadsheet from almost 2 years ago. Since I saw your comment I’ve been try to clean it up and make sense of it after being away from it for a while. Just remember this was something I used as a rough learning guide. It got me going in the right direction, but more importantly it made me realize that I needed experts. If I was going to spend all this money on a high-performance home, I wanted to make sure it was going to, well you know, perform. So don’t expect any rocket surgery. I’ll forward the spreadsheet shortly, I hope you find something useful in it. And good luck with your house!

  3. 5 Rob D 9-January-2012 at 10:20 pm

    The place looks awesome! You really succeeded in creating a wonderfully cozy & inviting place. Congrats to you both on your vision and your commitment. Can’t wait to see the finished product in person!

  4. 7 Rosalie 18-January-2012 at 8:22 am

    Congratulations! I’ve been wondering how your house building has progressed. It looks and sounds like a wonderful place to be!

    I’d love to learn more about the process/cost of solar, as we may have a house soon that we will be looking to make more efficient.

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