I've been on a tear of late to eliminate or minimize standby loads. This arises from data revealing that during spring and fall, when HVAC use is minimal, standby loads comprise 25%, 5 kwh / day of our home's total usage.

5 kwh / day exceeds the total usage of our entire kitchen - fridge, chest freezer, range, dishwasher, etc.

At national average electric rates of $0.11 / kwh, each Watt of standby usage works out to a buck a year, so the sneaky little loads add up fast.

An early victory came in the form of learning that the starting battery trickle charger on our standby genny consumes 30-35 Watts. A $40, 10 Watt PV panel from Amazon has allowed me to kill that load while still maintaining the genny's cranking battery.

We have 3 garage door openers, specifically Overhead Door Phantoms. They are quiet and have been relatively trouble-free. Imagine my shock at learning each uses 14.5 Watts while sitting and doing nothing.

Doing the math, the three (aptly named) Phantoms have cost us $200 in standby power since we built the house in early 2008.

Thoughts, anyone?

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There is nothing in my comment that is shaming unless the receiver feels shame upon reading the very objective and accurate words, and that's a good thing. We began as a society in which public shame and feeling ashamed was all that was needed to maintain order.

If we felt more shame we wouldn't need so many laws (or so much religion).

So we do agree: as far as I am concerned your comments are accurate and objective and a compassionate person SHOULD feel shame at them.

My point is that I fear there are a lot of people who will not respond to shame - even when it is justified.  Therefore I try to appeal to them in different ways (when I am not so ticked off at their self-indulgence, which I too recognize as destroying the planet).

Thoughts? Yup - open the door by hand. Most "conveniences" are simply unnecessary luxuries that we've become addicted to.

Maybe you could train her (ha ha ha) to turn on the switch when she leaves & turn it off when she comes back.  Good luck with that. It would not work with my wife, i am sure of that.

Most "conveniences" are simply unnecessary luxuries that we've become addicted to.

Lol.  Yep.  

That takes us to a conversation about Energy Efficiency vs Conservation, which I feel are two very different things.  Energy Efficiency is about getting MORE from less, and Conservation is simply about less.  

One of the impediments we see when trying to get consumer engagement around EE is they're very basic gut reaction (often subconscious) is "I'm already so damn uncomfortable I can't imagine turning the thermostat any lower."  

Should probably be its own thread. 

I suspect the garage door openners power could be controlled by an occupancy sensored power controller, similar to that used in EnergyMiser controls, and assuming that its stand-by load is next to nothing.  I suspect the most difficult piece of the application would be the placement of the sensors, to be able to pick up a vehicle in the driveway, as well as seeing someone coming from inside the house, assuming that the garage is attached.


What about motion sensing adapter? I'd be curious since I have a few of these adapters and they work great. I'm not sure of the phantom load while waiting to sense something.

There are controls on the market; primarily for commercial applications, that would enable someone to put together a system that would be able to activate the power for operators in a home. 

For those interested, I recommend checking with Chamberlain first-they are the one that are always looking to bring out gadgets. 

DASMA is the industry association. There are companies that sell control systems-like commercial grade photo eyes, motion sensors, and loop detectors(those things cut into the asphalt that activate street lights). But you will need to do some engineering. Keep in mind that snow & sun can affect photo eyes. But if you go this route, you are going to get into some money, and may find that it isn't worth it.

I get what RR is saying, but in my AO there are simply nowhere near enough true environmentalists and EE fans to be able to base a business model on discomfort, deprivation, and self-denial. I'd run out of steak and then good beer, and then cheap beer, none of which is good for my environment.

For about the same time effort and dollars one can make one house zero energy or 5-10 houses use 50% less energy each, just by plucking the lower hanging fruit.

We've come a long way since the 60s in terms of clean air, clean water and EE. As I write this, the Northeast, particularly NYC, appears to be on the cusp of a very hard lesson in sea level and climate change.

My wife wants the garage door to open when she hits the button. It is up to me to make that happen in the least consumptive manner feasible...

As our environment crashes and burns around us, everyone will suddenly realize they're an environmentalist.

I agree with those advocating EE over conservation.  

It's my experience that the opportunity in conservation tends to be smaller than people imagine, and the opportunity in EE is greater.  I save people 30-70% on their energy bills, and make them agree to keep their homes comfortable.  

Saying "I'm saving 30% on energy AND love how much more comfortable my house is" is much more compelling and viral than "I'm saving 33% on energy AND still freezing my butt off".

I think it's much more important, compelling, actionable and ultimately a much greater energy savings opportunity to get people excited than to get them ashamed.  

Yes, I sell EE the same way - I know my clients will buy into the idea if their lighting costs 50% less to operate and is BETTER at doing the job but will not be excited if they saved 60% but the lighting sucks.

That having been said, I agree wholeheartedly with Robert: we are on a crash course with destiny on this one.  I too am experiencing the effects of Hurricane Sandy as my storm windows rattle and the house creaks from the gusts of wind - and I am about 30 miles inland in Mass. 


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