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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Yeah, I think we are all passionate about this for the same reasons.  

If we could get consumption published, we could use "all of the above" as the approach, including:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_You_Ride_Alone_You_Ride_with_bin_...

I'm often asked what temperature I recommend setting thermostats

I always reply "whatever makes YOU comfortable" My role is to cut the cost of attaining that comfort. Of course, a tighter house yields comfort at milder thermostat settings, summer and winter.

Except studies demonstrate that people still will not lower the thermostat even if they could be comfortable at a lower setting. One study in Florida, which assumed that installing ceiling fans would allow occupants to raise the AC thermostat setting, found instead that they kept it at the same place and increased overall electrical consumption with both AC and fans operating.

It is our job to educate clients about being responsible as well as comfortable. If they ask where to set the thermostat, we should suggest they try a lower in winter or higher in summer setting to see if that works for them.

That's true only if you define "opportunities" as chances to increase business. But if you define opportunities as chances to save our planet, then nothing comes close to the old Yankee adage: Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.

The Jevons Paradox became evident as early as 1865 that improvements in efficiency lead to increases in global consumption. If a resource becomes less costly to use we'll use more of it, or if we save money on one resource we'll spend it on another. Combine that with exponential population growth and we have a recipe for near-term disaster.

Curt,


First off, you have too many cars.......Second, what part of the opener or why is 14.5 watts being consumed in standby?

Why, hello Wally...fancy meeting you here...

These Overhead Door Phantom Trollbooths have 12 volt DC motors, which means each unit has a big iron transformer and rectifier to develop the 10-20 amps needed to run 12 volt motors big enough to move garage doors. From what I've gathered, the 12 Volt DC motor design is quiet, but at the expense of keeping all that transformer iron warm - hence 14.5 Watts.

Overhead apparently ignored "the memo" out about high efficiency low standby loss power supplies, likely in a quest to have these puppies hit a price point. Phooey on me for not figuring it out.

12 Vdc operation does give rise to the possibility of a battery-based solution kept charged by a small battery minder or a dedicated PV panel. The actual DC load is so shortlived - less than 1 minute per opener per day, that a very small panel combined with an AGM battery ought to be able to deal with it

Thanks Curt for getting this started. I'm embarrassed to say this is the 1st. time I have ever considered checking my GD opener. Two 60w incandescent bulbs which stay on for 3min.and 5w for stand by!  OK RR I've now unplugged the dumb thing and will open it manually from now on.

I agree that Sandy is a wake-up call for this country & the whole world. I'm so disappointed and surprised that global energy use wasn't even mentioned in the political debates....

Good luck to all of you in the North-east!

  

I have tested the standby load of dozens of garage door openers when investigating homes for the cause of their total standby loads and found that the newest models are less than 6 watts constant.  It is the ones that are more than 20 years old that can have large standby loads.  I found a Craftsman brand dated in the 80's that had 45 watts in standby and the homeowner had 2 of them. 

Placing them on a light switch is one method of reducing standby load but also a pain if not remembered to turn back on before leaving the house.  Another method is to install a remote controlled single outlet for $20, but these are not as reliable as the garage door opener remote.  That means carrying 2 remotes in the car; one for the outlet and one for the garage door opener. 

That's true only if you define "opportunities" as chances to increase business. But if you define opportunities as chances to save our planet, then nothing comes close to the old Yankee adage: Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.

 

Actually, I define Opportunities as things that have more than a snowballs chance in hell of being implemented.  When I go too extreme on people they tune me out.  If you suggest unplugging garage doors (BTW, how much gasoline will it consume now that your car is idling as you get out to open or close the door?), I think you might make air sealing the home less credible.  

So we must be careful about going over the top and having nothing implemented.  Sometimes I think it might be better to hook people, let them see it works, then get them to go deeper.  

 

The Jevons Paradox became evident as early as 1865 that improvements in efficiency lead to increases in global consumption. If a resource becomes less costly to use we'll use more of it, or if we save money on one resource we'll spend it on another.

This problem is hard to counteract without going to total cost pricing strategy on energy (good luck!).  Recovery cost pricing is always going to incentivize waste and shift cost to other on the back side.  In the meantime, cost effective EE is pretty widely recognized as our greatest available resource. 

" In the meantime, cost effective EE is pretty widely recognized as our greatest available resource."

And that's precisely the point. We have no chance in hell of saving the planet for our grandchildren if we continue to think in terms of resources (things we can consume or exploit for our own ends). Wise nations, such as Brazil, have included natural "resources" among those with rights equal to the rights of humanity in their constitution.

Bolivia enshrines natural world's rights with equal status for Moth...

So, are you doing anything about these issues?  Do you want to drive change?  

If the pendulum is swinging in the wrong direction, don't you want to change momentum?  If Energy Efficiency could start the pendulum swinging the other way, wouldn't that be the place to start?  The thing missing is accountability.  Help me change that. Advocate for accountability and transparency so EE can really get legs: http://bit.ly/gerardihpregistry 

You miss the point. Energy efficiency is merely racing in the wrong direction a bit more efficiently. It still takes us toward the abyss.

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