has anybody compiled a list of rapid return energy saving measures?

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I am very interested in conservation, green living, living independent of the grid, etc. Has anybody compiled a list of simple energy saving measures that have a reasonable return on investment (<5 years). I'd like to start spending a couple hundred dollars a month to upgrade my house. Getting my wife's approval, and to really justify it to myself, I need to have confidence that it is a good investment. Anybody done any work on this?
I have a 1600 sq. ft. house in central Texas. Standard 2x4 construction. Gas heat, waterheat, and stove. Already switching to compact flouresents as the incandesents burn out. No programmable thermostat but that is because my wife is at home with my daughter.
I can get info for our water, electricity, and gas useage if anybody wants to lend a hand or advise.
What would really be fun is implement some improvments that will save money in the long run with minimal impact on our lifestyle. My wife will be a reluctant partner in this effort so minimal impact on our lifestyle will be essential.
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Replace lighting with CF's Where appropriate. (all our lighting is CF)
Place phantom loads (TV, Microwave, Transformers) on switched power strips.
insulate doors and windows
add rain rarrels to downspouts for lawn and garden irrigation.
low flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets.
high efficiency appliances
Steve Spence Dir., Green Trust http://www.green-trust.org
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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Hot Water Savings
The key to hot water savings... eliminate the waiting.
Every second a person spends waiting for hot water at their faucet / shower, your water heater is taking in "cold" city water. In addition to the lighting energy used while the person stands there waiting. A family of four waiting 1 minute for hot water spends around 97.3 hours every year "waiting". (Four people waiting 4 times per day, 365 days in a year, divided by 60 for total hrs) Include a lifestyle fudge factor and reduce it to 72 hours of "very cold" city water filling up your water heater needlessly. Let's pause for a moment and imagine having to stand and watch a faucet waste water down the drain for 72 hrs. . . . Or consider a home which waits only 30 seconds.... that's still 36 hours of watching water run down the drain.
Install a RedyTemp Hot Water Recirculator, no dedicated return line required, idiot proof 10 minute "self-install".
Behind the timer is a standard 3-prong wall outlet. Simply replace the timer with "The Clapper" set the clapper to the "away" mode. Now when the clapper hear's someone in the bathroom it will auto start the circulation process.
Or consider using the RedyTemp in the On-Demand mode using a wireless push-button. Simply replace the timer with a "wireless outlet control" similar to those used by the elderly when they don't want to get up to turn on/off lamps. Press the wireless remote control from anywhere in your house (range 100-150ft) for no-wait hot water throughout your home.
Return on investment estimated at two years for a family of four which waits an average of one minute for hot water.
Install a tankless water heater for "endless" hot water and a RedyTemp for "no-wait" hot water.
On Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:21:32 GMT, Steve Spence

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Crock of crap, really. While waiting for the hot water for the shower, I use the cooler water to brush my teeth or rinse my eyeglasses. No wasted time, no wasted water. Same wit dishes. A quick rinse is OK for the cooler water too.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Info@_RemoveBetweenSpaces_RedyTemp.com wrote:

The only time I wait for hot water is in the morning before I shave. And I'm not really waiting, the water is running while I'm taking a leak. And maybe I've wasted 4 gallons? At $0.005 per gallon, that's $7.30 per year in wasted water. What's my return on investment now? After the shave, the hot water is 4' away from the shower head. By the time I turn on the shower and walk around the curtain (2 seconds) to get in, it is already up to temp. So that is zero wait time for me and maybe 4 gallons of wasted water.
When I give my infant daughter a bath, I turn the water all the way to hot and rinse the tub with the cold water from the pipe. I'm done rinsing before the hot water get there but I close the stopper anyway. When the hot water finally gets to the tap, I let it run all the way hot for a few seconds to get the tub temp right and then turn the temp down and continue to fill. Then I put my daughter in. So no wasted water at all and no wasted time for my daugther's bath.
Let's say I have two school aged kids. Most likely, they are taking showers back to back so the second child starts the water with the pipes already "hot". Same situation if two adults are getting ready for a work day in a separate bathroom. So suddenly a family of 4 with 4 waits per person per day for a total of 16 "waits" is reduced to 2 "waits".
Actually I love the idea of a tankless water heater but for three very different reasons. There is basically zero savings from reduced water useage. It is calculable but negligible as I've described above. The three great things will be 1) the reduced energy bill because I'm not continually keeping 40 gallons of water hot (and stupidly using that 40 gallons to heat my Texas house or garage), 2) the reduced space requirements, and 3) the luxury of instant hot water if it can be installed close to the tap as a result of #2. What I'd like to do when I build my house is install the tankless water heater in a closet right next to the master bath. The kids and guests will have to rough it like we used to do in the old days and wait a minute for hot water. I'm the one paying the bills after all :)
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"There is basically zero savings from reduced water useage. It is calculable but negligible as I've described above. "
The issue isn't the cost of the water that's wasted, but rather the cost of heating the hot water that has to run from the water heater to the faucet every time you first need hot water. It takes quite a few gallons of water to flush out the cold water in the pipes and get the pipes warm. The longer the pipe run, the more energy that is wasted. A tankless unit saves that energy loss and it can be considerable.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

If it takes 'quite a few gallons' to flush out the cold water then you are using pipes too big, and probably metal pipes as well. If you use 1/2" plastic pipe there is little cold water to flush out and little thermal mass to heat.
--
Free men own guns, slaves don\'t
www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5357/
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Anyone ever put a neon light across the hot water heater element to actually observe when the hot water heater was operating? Whats the duty cycle with NO HOT WATER USE during the day? Is this calculatable given an R rating for the hw heater, and air and water temp?
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BobG wrote:

I don't know if your heater is elctric or gas. If it's gas, you can hear the burner kick on and off. I'm guessing you are talking about electric. In that case, they make such a thing as a Kill-a-watt meter. It's only made for 120V but it plugs into the wall between the outlet and the appliance and measures actual energy usage. I know the same sort of devices are made for 240V but they are probably all for industrial applications ($$$). I used one once to monitor the energy useage of a central AC unit. I was running an experiment on cooling the air around the outdoor unit with evaporative cooling while the unit was running. It made a significant difference in the energy useage. I was using those misters you can buy at Home Depot for cooling paios. The problem is that you need a really clean water source or the misters get fouled and you would eventually end up with scale build up on the AC coils. Not good.
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It's estimatable. A 25 ft^2 50 gallon tank with R10 insulation and 110 F water in a 70 F room needs (110-70)50ft^2/R10 = 200 Btu/h, ie 59 watts, ie a 100x59/4500 = 1.3% duty cycle with a 4500 watt heater.
Nick
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Nick Hull wrote:

That's exactly what I was thinking as I waited for two gallons of cold water to flush through my pipes this morning. They're plastic, but embedded in concrete (and I don't think they're insulated) and 3/4" - obviously, 1/2" pipe would have wasted less than half the hot water.
--
derek

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According to my calculations, a 1/2" I.D. pipe holds one gallon per 98 linear feet of pipe. So I was way off in my guess that I waste 4 gallons of water in the morning. The run from my water heater to the bathroom is no more than 40'. So I am wasting about 40% of one gallon.
Check my calcs:
1 gallon = 231 cubic inches
www.onlineconversion.com
cross sectional area of a 1/2" I.D. pipe = pi * r^2 = 3.14 * 0.25 * 0.25 0.19625 square inches
231 cubic inches / 0.19625 square inches = 1177 inches = 98 feet
A honkin' 1" pipe would be one gallon per 24.5'. Even with that huge a pipe, I'd waste less than half the volume of water I guessed in my post yesterday.
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1/2" plastic isn't code around here for source lines unless that changed very recently, and 1/2" pipe for any length gives you crap for flow rate. I'll stay with my 3/4" copper, thank you.
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Dave Hinz wrote:

3/4" I.D. is 43.5' per gallon.
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CPVC may be, for hot water.

The Hazen-Williams equation says L' of d" smooth pipe with a G gpm flow has a P = 0.0004227LG^1.852d^-4.871 psi pressure loss. L = 50' and P = 40 psi makes G = 9.5 gpm for d = 1/2" pipe.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

What's that in English? I _think_ it means I have to have over 40psi in my pipes to begin. Most well systems run about 40psi.
--
derek

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On 17 Aug 2005 12:11:59 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu

Maybe. But, I really, really don't like off-tastes in my water. I even have copper for my well piping rather than the (cheaper) plastic option.

OK, and the "personal observeations" equations show that I'm happy with my flow with 3/4" pipes until they go into the walls, the water is hot in a few seconds, and that in houses with bad flow, it's invariably 1/2" pipe. Since there's only one gallon of volume in 45' of 3/4" pipe, what problem am I really solving by choking off my flow?

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"Choking your flow" to 9.5 gpm can save a little non-recurring cost and recurring time and water and energy.
Nick
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On 17 Aug 2005 14:48:50 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu

Let's try this again. From my water heater to my primary point of hot water usage, there is 14 feet of pipe. This is not coincidence; I put the water heater directly under the shower and the washing machine for that reason. Now, if it takes 45 feet of 3/4" pipe to make one gallon of volume (someone else's number posted here, which I haven't checked myself), that means I have just about 1/3 of a gallon of water in those pipes. Even to the other end of the house, 35' away, there's only a gallon of water in the pipe between the heater and the faucet. I could calculate the thermal mass of the copper pipe, I suppose, but I don't see it making a lot of difference in practical terms.
Yes, you get _decent_ flow with 1/2" pipe. I get _better_ flow with my 3/4" pipe, and given that I never use straight hot water, running a gallon of cooler water through the hot pipes isn't a loss anyway. To me, the extra 20 bucks for pipe when I built the house is worth not having to worry about what else is happening in the house when I want to take a shower.
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wrote:

You're both assuming that the piping itself is the predominent pressure drop. In almost all cases, this just isn't so. The straight length of piping isn't the 'bottleneck'. Keep in mind that an 'average' 90 degree elbow is about the same flow resistance as a straight length of pipe that is 30 'pipe diameters' long. And a typical globe valve is about the same as 140 'pipe diameters'. So a 14 foot run of 1/2" pipe, with just five 'elbows' and one globe valve under the sink is really equivalent to 14' + (5*30 + 140)*0.5/12 = 26 feet. If it is 3/4" pipe, then the same number of elbows and globe valve is equivalent to 14' + (5*30+140)*0.75/12 = 32 feet of straight pipe.
But in both cases, the majority of the pressure drop is right in the faucet/spout. If you figure out the pressure drops through the various portions of a typical lavatory sink run with a flow of about 1.5 gpm and 40 psi source, then replace the piping with a larger 3/4" pipe, the actual flow change is very little. For a bathroom sink with a flow of 1.5 gpm, an equivalent 26 ft of 1/2 pipe only has a pressure drop of about 0.7 psi using nick's formula (Crane TP-410 shows a slightly different number, but pretty close). The rest of the pressure drop is right in the faucet. Even if you eliminated the piping completely, the flow would only increase by a factor of 1.008 (less than 1%).
About the only place 3/4 makes a big difference over 1/2 is if it is feeding several fixtures that may be used at the same time (e.g. the shower and the toilet at the same time is a classic), or when the total flow is not dominated by the faucet (those used to fill a tub comes to mind). So it does make some sense to run a larger pipe to the general area of the bathroom and to the fill spout on a large tub, then split off smaller pipe to individual fixtures.
daestrom
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