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Equinox House Performance / ASHRAE Solar ZEB Article 10

ASHRAE Solar ZEB Article 11

The proof is in the pudding (or more correctly, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”), as they say. Similarly, the best way to experience the health and energy benefits of a comfortable, smart ventilated and energy efficient home is to live in one. For those readers who haven’t yet taken the plunge into a sustainably powered home, our 11th ASHRAE Journal article provides the proof. And do those same zero-plus characteristics continue to today? Read our update article! (spoiler alert...the answer is Yes!).

Our second to last ASHRAE Journal article was written after nearly a year of living in Equinox House. Energy data is compared to predicted house energy usage, and the comparison is good! Smart homes are automated homes that simplify living if the goal of “smart” is to use technology to simplify living.

Thermostat in old hotel in Williamsport PA.

It wasn’t that long ago that automated comfort control was introduced to buildings as seen in the old hotel thermostat and a plaque commemorating Warren Johnson’s (founder of Johnson Controls) pneumatic thermostat. “Warmer” and “Cooler” is all a human needs for comfort, right?

Automatic controls save human time and effort. Humans are valuable!

Human time and labor required to manually increase and decrease heat takes time and is an added stress to already hectic lives. Just like opening windows for fresh air, it doesn’t seem like a lot of trouble to periodically adjust this or that, but it adds up! Opening and closing windows, switching heat on and off, and fidgeting with other manually operated devices (1920’s era electric refrigerators had manual switches, too) for 10 minutes per day is 60 hours, or 1 1/2 work weeks!

Equinox energy usage for 2018- 2019.
Equinox energy usage for 2020 to-date, and August 2020 energy usage details.

Does Equinox House continue to be a zero-plus home? Absolutely! We now use a “Sense” energy monitor that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms to disaggregate energy circuit usage from a single monitoring circuit connected to the main electrical connections. Cell phone screen shots show 2018, 2019 and 2020 (to date) energy performance. One of the nice features of Sense is its ability to read sub-circuits such as our microwave oven. Although a microwave is one of the bigger power draws and is frequently used (88 times in one month!), its energy usage is small (27kWh per year, or $3.25 worth of electricity).

Microwave oven usage details from Sense. High power user but low energy usage.

Energy usage in 2018 was 11, 838kWh (about $1400 value) with solar supplying 10,447kWh. That doesn’t sound zero-plus, but remember that Equinox House is also home to two EVs that use 2000-3000kWh per year for 8000 to 10,000 miles of driving. The 900 to 1400kWh deficit for EV driving is made up with renewable energy, too, as our community has chosen a renewable energy option for its electricity.

Are you ready to live in a smart, healthy and comfortable home? Call us anytime you have questions.


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