Friday, November 28, 2014

An Open Letter To State Of Oregon Treasurer, Ted Wheeler

Oregonians are proud of our  State Treasurer, Ted Wheeler .  We regret that he is term-limited, and will leave office after only six years of service. I hope to meet him, where he generously will address retirement security of small business owners, at a breakfast meeting of The Main Street Alliance Of Oregon , on Monday, 12/1/2014.

I see that many things, including retirement security, are addressed in the creation of an Oregon State Bank. There is urgency throughout the USA, to pull state investment funds away from sure destruction by Wall Street gamblers. A proper grasp of problems and opportunities is expressed by attorney, author, It's Our Money radio show  host and blogger, Ellen Brown.

How many of us have already known of the perceptive writing of Ellen Brown? I found her, top of list just now, in Google search of terms "secure state investment funds against wall street gambling with derivatives ."

Building an Ark: How to Protect Public 

Revenues from the Next Meltdown

Concerns are growing that we are heading for another banking crisis, one that could be far worse than in 2008.  But this time, there will be no government bailouts. Instead, per the Dodd-Frank Act, bankrupt banks will be confiscating (or “bailing in”) their customers’ deposits.

I hope that state officials everywhere will be aware of the advice of Ms. Brown, that this can be done quickly.

How to Start a Bank Overnight

Forming a state or municipal public bank need not be slow or expensive. An online bank could be run out of the Treasurer’s office and operational in a few months. And the bank could be turning a profit immediately – without spending the local government’s own revenues.

Perhaps we have time then to save state funds from imminent collapse of stock markets. I find the S&P 500 chart instructive, here taken from Yahoo!

The thieves running our government, and extracting ever more wealth for the most-wealthy through criminal derivatives, must be astonished how big they have gotten the Third Bubble. Newscasters speaking confidently of present conditions, and better, for an indefinite future, increasingly know they are part of the fraud. Black Friday shoppers today know they may be on a last fling.

Every person, daring to think, will know the Big Fall is not more than two years away. Maybe by 75% this time, and with no recovery in sight.

Ted Wheeler! You have only a few months to take action for the people of Oregon. There is a similar charge for officials in all states. You are obliged to act in the public interest, to disbelieve evident lies.

I now further address Ted Wheeler with my insight as an inventive and perceptive weatherization contractor. I am a sole-proprietor, not daring or able  to have employees, able to persist in increasingly frightening times, only because of Social Security retirement income, no debt beyond a mortgage, and an extremely frugal lifestyle. I think I am the model of the rescuers of home owners, of the 80% never yet served in public leadership of weatherization. The ideal worker will be an intelligent and caring individual, self-employed, fully accountable and competing, through customer appraisal. The work must become more decently rewarded, for these successful individuals. 

The weatherization of homes will become very difficult for those who have not been able to act in better times. Such home owners and renters will depend upon some generosity of those able to do the difficult and dirty work, now regulated as utterly honest . Many will achieve only what they can, with their own now-capable hands. Materials will be much more expensive. Energy costs will quickly double. Many will suffer. Many will die. Human character all over the Earth will be challenged in the face of desperation. "Bailing in " that is in banker plans, Ellen Brown warns, could not be achieved without great violence.

Dire conditions following the collapse may be softened where individual states acted, safe-guarding public funds in state banks detached from Wall Street. Those funds might pay the willing weatherization workers. Many will be available for work they would not before have considered, if that serves survival. Much of the work can be achieved through believable promise.

I now arrive at the heart of my message to Ted Wheeler. On Monday, we will be talking about retirement security for proprietors of small business. Let us talk of details in the vision of our State Bank. I would happily work often for deferred income, promised through the State Bank. Needful home owners would get work done, with deferred pay-in to the Bank.  Know that a State Bank, maybe City Banks too,  will be background handlers of funds. They will not challenge existing local banks and credit unions, then stepping in to replace now-gone big banks that did fail.

Please read on in the hopeful writings of Ellen Brown:

WSJ Reports: Bank of North Dakota Outperforms Wall Street

While 49 state treasuries were submerged in red ink after the 2008 financial crash, one state’s bank outperformed all others and actually launched an economy-shifting new industry.  So reports the Wall Street Journal this week, discussing the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and its striking success in the midst of a national financial collapse led by the major banks. Chester Dawson begins his November 16th article:
It is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003. Meet Bank of North Dakota, the U.S.’s lone state-owned bank, which has one branch, no automated teller machines and not a single investment banker.

At 9/11/2015, add to this post for further communication with officials in Oregon who are paid to protect the interests of all citizens. This reach-out will include our State Treasurer, Ted Wheeler, again challenged. This post up to current amendment was brought to Mr. Wheeler's attention, face-to-face at that meeting 12/1/2014. There was an opportune time to act. Mr. Wheeler declined interest, claiming the large billions of dollars of state funds in his care had no place to go but Wall Street. I think he should have acted as Ellen Brown advises, that a State Treasurer, independent of criminal lobbyist intervention in his Legislature, may organize and employ a State Bank.

I write in follow-up of a Sierra Club meeting in Portland, yesterday, where more Beyond-Coal appeals were presented to my State Representative , who is Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. I spoke for one minute in this group of about twelve people who were sacrificing mid-afternoon time of one of the most-beautiful remaining days of Summer 2015. I mentioned my stand-in for all who see energy conservation in our homes as superior to clean energy generation with sun and wind. Durable conservation is forever, day and night, under stormy skies. Inspired in the pre-meeting, I asked for a pilot program in Oregon, of solar for all, not just the further gift through public resources, of energy independence to a privileged few. Let every housetop with some sun have a low-power photovoltaic/ battery system integrated with LED lights and communications circuits, naturally direct current, off-grid. Each home is then somewhat disaster-ready . We will all have kick-started personal achievement in protecting life on Earth. OK, I did say less than all that, but I made the point.

Please see me as a cheerful, proactive person. I am cheerful because I do good things and feel that I will be part of the solution to coming problems. No one tells me this; quite the opposite. I have acquired a hard shell against rejection.

On then to dire predictions. I think the Oregon Legislature, or perhaps an independent State Treasurer, no longer has time to act. Next action in our Legislature would be in a token one-month session February, 2016

Refresh this chart up-to-date .

We must expect that the world will fall into chaos in the coming Winter. This is the game of evil wizards of Wall Street, emboldened by our failure to lock them up, driving drunk. See the symmetry in the cycles they create. See that printing thirteen trillion dollars  from vapor saved them, once. That saving of the gamblers should not have happened, and it can not happen again. Few but Ellen Brown are imagining what the gamblers are up to, with full collusion of our real US Government forces.

At 2/25/2016, react to finding someone in Portland read this yesterday. I hope it was Ted Wheeler , not feeling secure in his wish to remain publicly employed come November, running for Mayor Of Portland. I don't want to vote for you, instead seeing you as Governor, next cycle, deep in Hard Times, proven as caring by acting yet, for a State Bank. Out of office and loved, you will find your way to our better future. I am unhappy too, with competitor Jules Bailey, who is wrongly liked as author of HB 2626 of 2008 , a promising but flawed and failed effort to generate residential weatherization through up-front financing. Who will I vote for?

I attended a first Portland mayoral candidates debate 2/29/2016, and was quite pleased to find public banking (of City funds only), on the agenda. Jules Bailey impressed me for public banking interest, and for a purely grass-roots campaign. Surely he will get my active support, and my vote.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More Tracking Of Electricity Usage

Electricity usage data for my own home dates back to 1999.

A first post in this blog in January 2013 was offered as example to my utility, Pacific Power , to inspire best presentation to motivate customer energy conservation. 

Concurrent with that 2013 report, I accepted paperless billing. I must then update my usage records at least every two years, where that is the maximum period for an online View Usage History option. Here then are charts for my house updated in the form I find useful, through October, 2014.

I continue to benefit from 2009 switch to a gas clothes dryer. Might the odd 2008 spike be from a defective electric clothes dryer? If so, maintenance action might have come sooner with appropriate charts in billing. I have failed to blame the spike on a defective meter, or reckless use of a space heater. The big drop in 2009 might relate too, to eliminating computer CRT displays.

I believe continued decrease of usage since 2011, by about 13 KWH per day, is in part from 100% replacement of my lighting with so-efficient disk LEDs. Credit the lighting improvement with 3 KWH per day savings. Much of the remaining 10 KWH per day is from reduced occupancy, from two adults, to one, Summer 2011. That's a tough way to control electricity usage.

Where billing periods range from 26 days to 39 days, a chart including dollar amounts has more scatter. Through the scatter, see a 25%, $15 per month reduced cost beyond Fall, 2011. This is inconsistent with a more than 50% reduction in electricity consumed, due to rise of unit cost. The cents per KWH rise since 2011 is due to persisting, high base charges that gain significance as usage drops. High base charges penalize conservation. To better motivate conservation, there should be no base charges, all costs proportional to energy used. Pacific Power has maintained a steady net eleven cents per KWH billing for heavier residential users of electricity, over the past four years.

My utility offers only a bar chart option, of KWH usage for each billing period. It means nothing to me.

My more-meaningful charts include defective billing dates, fudged since billing dates are not provided with usage data downloads. Successive readings can occur within the same month, and that might lead to charting confusion. Where one home has readings beginning of month and another at end of month, there is seasonal scatter in a comparison. I want downloads to include real reading dates.

What I really want, and a purpose of this post, is to inspire utility companies to offer better, routine, reports to inspire customers. The post is inspired by conversation among Northwest utility professionals in web site Conduit, sponsored by Bonneville Power Administration. I will update links here to that conversation. For now, try this  forum of BPA people, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, web site Conduit.

At February, 2016, nothing has changed on the usage sharing with customers by my Oregon utility, Pacific Power.

My electricity usage is still very small. Pacific Power still takes about $40 per month from me, unfairly regardless of my conservation. I study this as part of a Community College class, where I seek to gain capability with photovoltaic components, to generate my own DC power off-grid, for lighting disaster preparedness. No one can stop me. I will remain on-grid for AC power until the Earthquake. I have been monitoring my old refrigerator, and find it is not a monster. It draws 1.3 KWH per day, and costs me about $73 per year at the high fifteen cents per KWH. I don't use much hot water, but must be paying a lot for that old-fashioned electric heating. Perhaps I need off-grid hot water too, for disaster preparedness. I am not stuck-in-the-mud, helpless. I can do more.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Review, Utilitech #0557095 LED Bulb

This is review of a newly-offered inexpensive LED light bulb filling an A19 socket, $5.95 at Lowe's. It is a lot of mass for the money, claimed 18,000 hours life. (Take care to not drop it, although it might land like a parachute, socket down.) Choose it absolutely, as better than a 60 watt incandescent in the lamp you aren't ready to dispose. It is about twice as bright as the package claims, in illuminating something beneath. With necessarily-subjective judgement of practical illumination, call it brightness number B4.5, better than a (defined  B4) 100 watt incandescent. Here is a collage of the Utilitech #0557095 packaging.

Here is my payback math where one would happily use it pointing down, in place of a 100-watt bare bulb in a porcelain fixture. As prescribed on the package, consider operation 3 hours per day and electricity at 11 cents per KWH, for 18,000 hours, 16.4 years. Know though, that electricity cost will more than double over that period. All comparisons using present cost of energy, for something durable, badly misguide a purchase decision.

Over 18,000 hours, the LED bulb will draw 178 KWH, at cost $19.60. Add $6 bulb cost, for a total of $25.60. 

Over 18,000 hours with 750 hours life, twenty four 100 watt light bulbs in sequence will draw 1800 KWH, at cost $198. Say your prohibited box of bulbs now expended cost you $24. Your total cost was $222.

You will have had better light, a better life, climbs on a ladder only to paint the ceiling perhaps, and don't drop the bulb. You will have saved $222 - 25.60 = $196. This is about double the Utilitech package claim, because you were smart enough to employ natural LED directionality.

Now, presume you only want to fill that antique bulb fixture, three 60-watt incandescent bulbs pointing to the side and quite obscured by something warm and orangey. You get the same practical illumination as with the single LED bulb unobstructed and pointing down, and you pay three times as much. Over 18,000 hours your cost in the LED adventure will be 3*$25.60 = $76.80, expending 535 KWH.

For the three-bulb fixture comparison, you will have needed a hoard of six dozen bulbs. Hopefully you never had an accident on the ladder. You drew 3240 KWH. Electricity cost somehow frozen in time, you spent $356 on electricity while helping to melt the poles, and you spent about $72 for the bulbs. You will have saved $356 + 72 - 76.80 = $352, at just one of your luminaires. $352 vs. $196, or vs. the box number of $99.20? Don't be silly. That isn't how to make money with LED lighting . Doing something inefficient more efficiently, is still inefficient. Choose directional LED plate lighting, spots of sunshine from your ceiling or beautiful pendant. Let one of your lights be that model airplane landing light beamed at your book. Have some fun. Don't take pride in so-wastefully using period fixtures. Yes, I know some of this is wishful thinking. We will find the future faster if we stop wanting to keep using antique always-inefficient side-directed point-source lamps.

The Utilitech #0557095 seems very directional. The globe glows from the side but with little illumination. Is it this AC LED light engine, from Seoul Semiconductor? A cheap, non-dimmable light engine, would be of an earlier achievement, perhaps this

One should prefer this directionality. Don't use it then, for side lighting. Beware, this is not warned on the package.
Here is my lighting brightness, comparative task illumination setup at full power. At stage left, Nicor DLS

At stage right, a 60 watt incandescent (unscrewed), over Utilitech #0557095.

There is a dimmer in the circuit and the Utilitech is loudly buzzing. Dimmed the slightest amount, the Utilitech blinks maddeningly.

The 3000°K Nicor DLS correctly illuminates a white wall. The Utilitech seems to have lower color temperature, perhaps 2800°K, by the uncertain professional discrimination of my Canon Digital Rebel camera, as sensor. Where a 100 watt incandescent bulb is defined B4, the Utilitech is about B4.5.

Learn more about Utilitech LED vs. 60 watt incandescent, by firing the incandescent too. 

I think the bulb combination adds up to the same brightness as Nicor DLS, another badly-labeled light, absurdly called 60-watt equivalent

Here again is comparison of Nicor DLS to an old 60 watt incandescent. Anyone must agree the LED plate light is almost three times brighter, and of prettier color..

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Natural Gas Usage History As Proof Of Rapid Payback In Attic Floor Sealing

A too-long post title would include the words:
     and Complete Rebuild Of Attic Floor and Attic Wall Insulation

This post revisits that titled:
Making Sense Of Gas Usage History dated 10/23/2012.

The subject has not changed. Only, emphasize the floor sealing here, and gage its contribution to the savings. Acknowledge that present savings at oddly-low cost of natural gas, badly mislead observation of savings, for durable measures that will last for fifty years or more.

A fresh post works better for this new view, in a blog. The new view is needed to challenge new policy in Oregon, forced in a gutting of weatherization programs under Oregon Public Utilities Ruling UM 1622. Sealing of an attic floor, never mandatory before adding insulation, is now not required at all. This is obviously stupid. It is a shameful decision.

Sep 26, 2014
Is UM 1622 Already Decided? Oregon's Public Utility Commission "Staff", whoever that means, has issued what appears to be the full breadth of an expected OPUC ruling: Description: Staff Report for September 30, 2014 ...

Sep 25, 2014
Wishes Of OPUC Hearing UM 1622. I will attend the 9/30/2014 9:30 AM hearing of Oregon's Public Utilities Commission, in the matter of Docket UM1622 . If I am allowed to speak, I will offer my wishes for a good future of ...

Please consult the prior post for links to job photo albums for the sequence of improvements in 2009 to 2010.

 Added data points from November 2012 affirm this home has unambiguous large savings of natural gas consumption since major weatherization efforts began in 2009. Monthly numbers of therms and dollars give an inspiring picture. Annual totals perhaps inspire more, and include a look further into history. Was the July 2008 to June 2009 heating season peak unusual, we wonder.

The bigger and less-noisy picture does not diminish certainty things have improved dramatically since 2009. The recently-achieved savings are at least $300 per year, beyond a similar amount from declining gas prices. Say that half of $300 savings is due to unexceptional opportunities in attic floor sealing, eliminating attic floor pits. That sealing was achieved in 4 1/2 hours of enjoyable effort in a lighted, safe attic, with near-zero material cost. $200 is my usual sealing charge, and that would have been sufficient here. Payback of sealing costs, as usual, is in about one year. Know that savings will persist, and will grow very large, when, soon , natural gas prices rise steeply. Take back that $300 credited to cheap gas prices; the savings are real.

A  whole lot more than recently-achieved savings is evident. Everywhere, see home owner response to rising energy costs. Good things happen where a home owner takes action when true cost of energy is billed. $100 per month was a pain threshold in 1997. The main attic got added insulation. The result was exaggerated with children grown up by 1999, the house largely unoccupied for several years. A new pain threshold of about $150 per month was approached in 2008, with rising gas prices and with the house again well-occupied. New windows and doors then, followed by the very-effective weatherization I routinely achieve.

Think now of consequences to motivation and action, if energy costs were not subsidized, not ignoring cost of military enforcement for imports and ruin forever of our land with fracking. The adjustment below is a very incomplete correction. Where rising energy cost obscures the dollar savings, we must focus on saved therms. If 300 therm per year savings are claimed since 2009, see yet the $600 per year savings in applying a current $2 per therm number for investment decisions.

Find the above chart here . Why would anyone think USA natural gas prices will not soon rise more steeply than in adjustments above? Know then that few will ever again see monthly cost reductions from weatherization measures. Rather, weatherization will limit ever more-ruinous energy cost impacts on family budgets. Investments, sooner rather than later, will have ever-increasing returns helping the family budget, as energy costs and inflation take off. Weatherization may determine whether one can afford to stay warm, active and healthy in Winter. It is about more than money and return on investment.

Relate those "global" energy prices to consumer cost, with the EIA chart above. Divide chart values by ten to convert to dollars per therm. See restrained consumer cost since 2008 through fracking that must soon end, then quickly moving beyond $2 per therm with geometric growth (a multiple per year), or even faster. There should be an immediate spike upon termination of fracking, way beyond a geometric growth line.

Here are photos and their captions, from the Picasa web album that supports this post.

My work in this home began in January, 2008, with installation of a first MidMade ladder to the garage attic. The attic floor was insulated to R15, probably with little effect upon heating costs.

A second MidMade ladder to the main house attic was installed in August, 2009, permitting home owner maintenance including construction of a walkway over rather good insulation in place since 1998.

In January, 2010 I began staged upgrade of all attic insulation. Working from the new attic ladder, find, to seal, the expected attic floor pits. There is this dropped ceiling over a wall storage case, merely hidden by "foil" faced insulation. All base insulation within truss spaces has this crumpled facing, preventing intimate contact and allowing a lot of bypass convection to balance with attic temperature as gas must do. Insulation including a second layer has been perhaps half-effective.

The home's largest energy losses since original construction have been in this 4 ft by 4 ft triangular pit 16 ft deep at the stairwell. The pit was merely hidden by insulation batts and was a great hazard before 2009 construction of a walkway.

The triangular pit contains a ventilation duct and a storage cabinet.

The patch is quite simple, except for this shape with wood bridge, allowing drywall tuck under the gas pipe. GP Densarmor rests upon the bridge and found framing.

The patch is 100% air tight with old and messy method of a professional spray foam cartridge. One should prefer simpler and more-secure sealing with flexible grout.

The poor master bath fan in the attic floor was correctly ducted through-roof, but allowed a lot of infiltration to the attic. Patching an oversize hole was limited with commonly-available materials. The replacement is a Panasonic FV08 VQ5, now air tight to the attic with proper drywall and flexible grout patching.