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38,323 hours of solar and usage data visualization

Solar and usage data visualization

I’ve been trying some abstract visualizations that use data we have collected at the house. The image above was composed from 38,323 hours of solar generation and total usage data. It is a heat map in the sense that hours of higher generation or higher usage are brighter in color. The columns are days. Can you tell which columns are the weekends? Which areas correspond to day and night, summer and winter?

Sol LeWitt inspired doodles

After seeing the Sol LeWitt Retrospective at Mass MoCA last weekend, I felt the need to do some computational doodling today.



Small fat curves (Holiday Microbe)

Curve receding

More curve

Loopy Doopy (inspired) in color


100 lines, none straight, some touching

I produced all images using Processing.

Entry door lock sets replaced

Pic of corroded door lock mechanism (closeup) Pic of corroded door lock mechanism

Why am I writing about our entry door locks? We’ve had problems with our entry door locks every winter. They freeze up and it’s impossible to get the key in the key hole. Now they are so corroded inside that the lock mechanism barely works the rest of the year. They are less than 3 years old. I was surprised to see the amount of corrosion inside.

I’ve spoken to a few people about our frozen door locks in the winter. The issue seems to be that the house is so tight, that warm moist air inside the house only has one place to get out, through the key holes. One other consideration. Our ERV is set by default to produce a very small increase in internal air pressure. I believe their thought is that you want to be pushing clean air out the leaks, rather than pulling unconditioned air in. But I believe this may be one of the sources of our problem.

I’ve installed new door entry sets and will be setting the ERV to fully balanced to see if this solves our problem this winter.

I haven’t seen anyone else mention this problem, so I thought I would post here and see if anyone else with a passivhaus-level tight home has had this experience.  Please comment below if you have, and what you did to fix it.

Update January 2017


The original lock sets were manufactured by Schlage. The new one are from Kwikset. I like the style better and the push button lock better than the turn mechanism. They seem to be holding up well, but as I mention in the comment below, we now have an HRV which lowers the amount of moisture in the air in the winter. We also haven’t seen the same cold temperatures that we did in the first 3 years.

We’re now

Less to type, more to love (no more ads).

Green Building Open House 2012 Reminder

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Just a reminder. The Green Building Open House Tour, sponsored by NESEA, and the National Solar Tour, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society, is October 13 this year from 10 to 4.

Last year we opened our house while still under construction. This year we’re showcasing the finished house and data that we’ve been collecting along the way.

A listing of local New York houses in the greater Albany region are listed on Our Energy Independent Community site.

Put it in your calendar. Come see us and some of the best green houses in upstate New York.

Energy Star Certificate

Energy Star Certificate

Almost forgot, we got our official Energy Star Certificate in the mail a few days ago. It was included with a packet of information to explain the EnergyStar program to the homeowner. It also included a release form that if signed and returned would allow NYSERDA (the authority that administers the EnergyStar program in New York) to access our electricity usage directly from the utility for 2 years. Creepy.

Snow Fall

Yes it snowed, twice, in October. But we were lucky, only about 3 or 4 inches both times. The roads were clear and we didn’t lose power. Many were not so lucky and are still without power.

This weekend we were also treated to a sighting of two foxes frolicking in our freshly hay mulched yard. They pounced and dined on a few mice in the process. It was a nice distraction from all the work going on inside the house.

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