Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A New Source For Glimpse LED Plate Lights

Until recently, I have chosen Leviton 9860 Closet CFL luminaires for attic lighting. 

Such lights cost $12.87 each, at Home Depot. This is a step up from a cheap porcelain lampholder with a fragile and dangerous bulb whether incandescent or CFL. The safety of a Leviton 9860 is dictated by any responsible electrician, yet my neighborhood True Value Hardware store will no longer stock them for me. Now selling porcelain and awful bulb, only, as demanded by uninformed, not-warned consumers.

The Leviton 9860 plastic shell protects the fragile GU24 CFL, once installed. Yet, I ended up with three holders minus broken or defective lamps. Home Depot doesn't sell replacement bulbs. I found them, not quite affordable, at, paying $49.27 for three, with shipping. I can't stand to throw away good hardware, but probably made a bad choice in the carbon footprint, too. 

Well, I got a return for my investment in knowing I was on distribution for notice of their CyberMonday sale yesterday, and now I'm getting around to the fact, in the subject of this post. didn't raise any flags, but I found they now sell the full line of LSGC Glimpse luminaires. I can now buy the 4" Glimpse I have only seen, and coveted. I know the less-bright 4" light will be a better replacement of can spot lights in general. I will bet that in a year, sales of the 4" will exceed those of 6" by double, at The 4" lights have been offered by LSGC since February, 2012, but Home Depot won't sell them, or acknowledge my suggestions to them in this. Until now the only Glimpse affordable to the public has been the 6" at 3000K color, at $37.97. Now, for $196.09, I will receive two each of 4" Glimpse in 2700K and 3000K color. A blog commentor preferred 2700K, and I will now get to find my own preference. I believe in a Lighting Facts label, not now used by Home Depot. The label suggests 2700K is quite yellow, and I may not like that.

The 1000Bulbs price is $45.96 each, whether 4" or 6". USPS Ground shipping of $12.29 for four is not too onerous.

Let us all wish 1000Bulbs well, and seek onward distribution means with bulk shipment, as by more-intelligent electricity utility sponsors. Let us know well, there is no less-painful way to save some energy and guard our planet.

I will use the 4" Glimpse in bathroom ceilings/ attic floor, nearly every time, from now on. In hallways, I will stick with T91's on dimmer switches. I will stick with the Home Depot source, in general. 1000Bulbs is only dipping toes in this game. They have no ready inventory, and need many votes from buyers, for that to change.

I surely hope I will be using Glimpse lights in attics too, where I really care about brightness. A couple of 6" Glimpse are equal to twice as many closet CFL. The installed cost of two 6" Glimpse is comparable to the installed cost of four Closet CFL, and the Glimpse lights will last forever. The switch to Glimpse everywhere may involve economy other than electricity at a rarely-used light. I'll try bidding this way for awhile. Half as many lights for the same money, and see what happens. Will I prove there is equal lighting? Perhaps customers will just like knowing LED lights will never collect dead bugs, a bane of the closet CFL.

I have accomplished the switch to T91's in the attic for one customer so far, with a really tall attic, an ample two lights set from a ladder, more than six feet above decking.

The photo caption states:
One of two T91 LED's illuminating a tall attic, is visible through the remnant of the found attic hatch. Very good lighting is needed for the careful operation of expanding the opening, to accept a drop-down ladder.

Hit One

Google-search: skim fat HPwES programs

At top of list:

  1. HVAC-Calc / WrightSoft heat loss discrepancies [Archive] - HVAC ... › ... › AOP Residential HVAC
    100 posts - 17 authors - May 20, 2011
    Kinda shows how the whole Manual J thing is more of a dog and pony show than anything else. ...... Can we get a big fat government program to go with that? ...Actually, that's how most contractors enter the HPwES program...
    You visited this page.
  2. Fighting The Lies Of Home Performance, In Public Forums
    Oct 30, 2012 – Yes I know, there is much fat in the skimming of weatherization, for and... evidently taught and sponsored by the HPwES program developers.

    I am not alone, or the most outspoken. I am rare as one who will suffer to not partake.

    Where fat is offered, everyone gets sick. Who will throw it out?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Let My Conditioned Crawl Space, Inspire Yours

Here is my photo album for work so far:
My Conditioned Crawl Space 

A crawl space can become a cheerful, bright work space. Much was accomplished in less-pleasant conditions, including that visible PEX water line, run from the street, under the foundation and on throughout the house.  Hopefully I will never need to dig in the dirt again. Future tasks include revision of the entry hatch, air tight and insulated, foam panel insulation on foundation walls, batt insulation of the floor sheathing, and draw of exhaust from the house, via the crawl space. The ventilation  scheme is experimental, and will demand scientific monitoring.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

T91 LED Plate Light Manufacturer Claim Of Energy Savings

At November, 2012, this is the Commercial Electric box label of claimed life and energy usage.

Please compare this information, with the previous post. An estimated energy cost of $1.75 per year, at rate 11 cents per KWH, assumes operation at full power, three hours a day, 365 days, 1095 hours. This is a reasonable scenario for a home office, used only in the evening. I like my assumptions better, for a kitchen or a hallway: eight hours a day at average of full, and 20% dimmed, equal to 4.8 hours at full power, costing $2.80 per year, per light. The rate of payback is mostly a consequence of found wattage. Say found lights are incandescent, at 65 watts, costing $7.84 per year at box assumption of three hours per day, not dimmed. If the installed cost is $45, into a good, found, light can, the simple payback is 45/(7.84 - 1.75) = 7.4 years. This is still a very good 14% simple interest.

Now, what is the picture vs. box numbers, where the installation includes patch-out of an ugly non-IC can? Say the fair installed cost is $75 per light. In the payback calculation, include air sealing and insulation savings. Deduct a $10 per light cost of a cover over the can, Assume one sq ft insulation loss, at $2.4 * (1/3 + 1/41) = $.75 per year, and heat-driven infiltration for area 7.5 sq in, $4 per year. Payback = $65/(7.84 - 1.75 + .75 + 4) = six years. Payback is faster where an ugly can light is replaced, despite higher installation cost.

The payback study would be turned on  its head, if the found basis is with operable CFL bulbs of same wattage, lasting as long as an LED. If in fact a CFL bulb lasts only three years, being replaced ten times in a 32 year LED life, the CFL is much poorer value. In truth, CFL's and their hazardous mercury, will not compete for many years, with LEDs. CFLs are irrelevant, and already should not be preferred over a $40 LED. Public incentives should always be directed at the lasting solution. A lasting solution is assured with the plate LED. Get rid of the incandescent bulb fixture, so a fix can't be reversed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Six T91 LED Plate Lights On One Dimmer!

This kitchen has six well-built IC can light fixtures. One T91 replacing a 65 watt bulb in the blackened recesses, was progress. Now there are six jewels up there. And, they all operate just fine on one dimmer. I of course chose a Cooper Wiring Devices dimmer from Lowe's, Model D106P.

It is hard to do justice to the more-beautiful room in a photo. I need a better lens. The dimmed condition is about 20%, still very warm light, for that happy mood. Seventeen watts with six lights, dimmed. 87 watts fully bright, where the draw before, never half as bright, was 390 watts.

This beautiful kitchen ceiling in Hillsboro, Oregon is then the photo inspiration posted for my Google Community, Residential LED Lighting, Starry Skies Now . There please find my evolving  vision for the community. Isn't this a starry sky? It is a celebration of the light, fully seeing the lights, not just the objects illuminated, foolishly borrowing theater technology as in illumination of an actor. In our homes, we can't plan to selectively illuminate, wasting a lot of light trapped in cans.

Let's do the math on lighting power conserved in this kitchen. Assume lights are on 8 hr per day, 365 days, 2920 hours per year. Operating with dimmer, cost is the average of that at full power and fully dimmed (20%). For simple payback, consider T91 unit cost of $37.97, dimmer cost of $19.98, and contractor cost of $50, a total cost of $297.80 to change six lights and replace a switch with a dimmer switch.

Simple Payback Formula: Years = Sum of  purchase and installation costs, divided by annual savings.

This kind of savings deserves incentives. No one should wait to do this. My Google Search leads me to this information for my customer. Oh no! They are not yet acting in the public interest. A rebate of $20 per fixture applies only to business electricity customers.

I have done diligence to change Energy Trust's policies, including this short-sighted view and disregard of duty in the public interest. The actions are summarized on my r5portals web site, where I could use an appropriate HTML editor.

The lack of an incentive should not deter, where savings are so large. Perhaps in fact, there should be no public expenditure where self-interest is ample. How many things can you find, to give a 50% return on an investment? Yet, many people are financially unable to act on the long term. Many of us look with respect at a rebates organization, to inform us of investment priorities. No rebate? It must be a bad idea! Violating that trust, erodes our trust. Erodes. We want so desperately to believe "society" cares about us.

Read more . .

To US Department of Energy

Yes, you in Herndon, VA whoever you are, lurking 24/7 and not detectable with StatCounter in stupid Government foolishness. It is all over. Home Performance With Energy Star is discredited and dead. HPwES must be abandoned. No more wasteful expenditure diverting real work, trying to make the puppy fly. No new HPwES v2 to be issued this waning Fall.

Certainly the person in Herndon, VA has seen this post, and chooses to not respond, proving hostility. He is still at it, this morning:

I need to impress knowing bad actors, and simple doubters of the proof HPwES is baloney, by support from high-level experts. I find proof from The Energy Conservatory simply in their inability to contradict my application of their math. Sam, and all others, can not name an instance where weatherization sealing needed detection of a path by a blower door. A blower door distorts infrared photos, in deepened Winter profiles. I think IR photos for natural conditions are better and sufficient. And, infrared discovery of problems very often is not acted upon. It may be too expensive to demolish in redo of the work by an unmotivated insulation worker. QC of blown wall fill, is not HPwES.

I wonder if I can solicit direct comment from David JC MacKay on this. I will try, first, by simple mention  of his name.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fresh Air At Night

I admitted that I keep a bedroom window open nearly year-round. In Summer, it is with a noticeable breeze, full open, and indeterminate direction, windows open everywhere. Even in coldest weather, I want some fresh air, opened just a crack. Just the bedroom window. It's easy and secure with my new insulated windows, not struggling with a storm window that, else, must be closed. With security stops, a burglar could not tug out a screen and crawl in. This year-round ease of fresh air is the best justification of the window replacement. I'm not saving any money.

I must not feel guilty of energy waste in infiltration. The contribution to rest and to health is substantial. Really, what does this cost? Having developed Insulation Math for my house and region, I can readily answer.

The opened-a-crack area in November is perhaps 1/4" by 30". Call it 8 sq in.

Annual Heating Cost = $.555 * (Path Area, sq in), $4. But, that is diminished by about two thirds, where the window is open only while I sleep. Actual "waste" of heat is about $1.50 per year.

If instead of the cost, I worry about flow rate numbers, that is as:

CFM50 = 7.5 * (Path Area, sq in), probably more, with the rectangular and fairly smooth shape. CFM50 = 56. And, wow, that is a big number to foolish house tighteners. Let us please just think in tiny dollars and therms. The tiny dollars are in part the result of tiny heat capacity in air. It takes little energy to be heated, and gives up little energy in cooling. All that running of a furnace in Winter is not to heat the air. It is to heat the walls and window panes, else they quickly cool the air and we feel cold. Unless you are oblivious to ridiculous holes, heating fresh air costs peanuts.

Divide 56 by twenty, for CFMnat = 3. 
3 CFM: Doesn't that sound right? It's not a noticeable breeze. Just sweet, cool fresh air and maybe sounds of nature we should be accustomed to.

The picture is little dependent on where one lives, in zones where there is a Winter. My heating degree days, HDD, are 4400. If I lived in Minneapolis, they would be about 6000. The $1.50 per year to breath easier at night, with hopefully just some increase in sounds of nature, ramps up to $2. That's the cost for the whole year

Friends at The Energy Conservatory: Please confirm or deny. Let's get to an end of this madness that "scientifically" cranking down on fresh air will save the Earth. We just need to make sure we have all the insulation that fits. Not less. With no "pits" of convected outside air. Yes, immeasurable pits, not measurable bypasses, are the main bane in weatherization of an already-insulated home. One should never fail to do sealing, or to be credited for such work, where it has no impact on a blower door. One must not be excused from sealing, ever. 

Blower door consequences, even hundreds of CFM50, have little dollar value. Stopping convection by insulation in exterior walls or capping off pits of interior walls is what matters. Convection at windows without solar gain is accepted yet, as necessary sacrifice. In a silence from The Energy Conservatory, I read full confirmation of my understanding. With this, I read surrender, that their blower doors are not guide or measure of weatherization. TEC has benefited unfairly from frenzy with blower doors through foolish HPwES. That must end. When the misled and F-rated person who bought my blower door, can no longer steal profit with it, I want it back. They are kind of cute, and somewhat useful.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Is Our Energy Usage Protected Free Speech?

Rather, is our carefulness in energy consumption something that should be held as private and confidential? That's how it is treated by Portland's largest electric utility, in labeling upon information mailed to me at the request of a weatherization customer. I will of course obey the injunction, not disclosing the customer name or address in any post of important lessons in the information. But, I think we might avoid carrying this too far.

What of the buyer of a home that has been flipped, perhaps sold as greened-up, perhaps by a corner-cutting meanie? I think that past billing information should routinely include that of previous owners, anonymous. A renter should be able to know for fact what previous anonymous renters have paid, for utilities. A home buyer who invests in energy efficiency should be able to track results back much further than his time of purchase.

I think that, to be useful, the more-inclusive past usage histories for gas and electricity should be in graphical form, lines or bar charts, going back many years. Responsible turnover home improvements would be fairly rewarded in new-occupant attitude. A landlord of several turnovers could show lifestyle variables if complained-against. And, yes, tenants should be entitled to care. Armed with a little more information, tenants might gain some control against a landlord who sees concern for tenant energy costs and possible needless energy waste, as bad business practice.

I admit that my attitude toward energy conservation is beyond the median. I think it would be OK for the Google Street View team to include infrared scans in Winter weather. Take that!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How Far To PassivHaus, For My House?

I think my single-family house built in 1955 is at or above average of those built in the USA since WWII, in terms of tightness and energy efficiency. It was very well built, and occupied, by  talented builder, my Uncle Russell Richardson, who left a substantial mark upon my Portland, Oregon neighborhood. 
I have one blower door reading for my house, 1330 CFM50 , recorded before I sold and renounced the blower. I am quite content to estimate reduction to about 800 CFM50, from subsequent actions.  This corresponds to annual savings of about $40 per year, a small amount versus the cost of another blower door test.  With living space volume of 7900 cubic ft, 800 CFM50 is about 6 air changes per hour, ACH50, at minus 50 pascal test conditions.  Divide by about twenty for the fresh air exchange at natural conditions, 0.3 ACHnat. Internationally, the accepted range for energy efficient housing is between 0.3 and 0.5 ACHnat .

The builder of an ultra-tight new home might take aim at PassivHaus standards, of 0.6 ACH50, 0.03 ACHnat.  Whatever for? For me, this would be a ridiculously-small four or five cubic ft per minute at natural pressures, quickly overwhelmed by the routine and necessary running of bath and kitchen exhaust fans.

I continue to tighten my house at every opportunity, in drastic measures. I have taken down most of the exterior wall drywall, in replacing windows and insulating exterior walls, with small consequence to tightness, since I am smart enough to not drill and blow through my wonderful old-growth cedar siding and airtight Celotex sheathing. I will yet let in some fresh air through windows almost year-round. I aim blindly at 0.25 ACHnat, about 5 ACH50, 660 CFM50. My Insulation Math tells me that this costs, 0.074*CFM50, about a $49 per year investment in my good health, vs. having no fresh air. $50 per year is not nothing, but my opportunity of control in extreme measures, is by not more than 20%, $10 per year. Please, let's not talk about it.

For most of us, a push toward PassivHaus being-green, is absurd. I could never get there. I won't try. I can't and won't invest in some extreme new house. I am doing just fine, in what I can afford. And, I am proud of this old house.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Strong Attic Floors

At 3/14/2024, add a link to a thorough conversation at Fine Homebuilding, in Fall 2023: . In a back-and-forth with several competent builders there is sobering demand of scarfing, as essential to beam repair with sistering. Refer to  Forestry Forum. Scarfing is first a means of lengthening a beam, while (wishing to) preserve strength as a single-piece beam. In fact, a scarfing joint (near an end), is not an acceptable means of placing a sistering joist that bears upon supporting walls. The scarf-joint reduces beam strength by nearly half. A precise penalty is not, and can not, be offered. Don't expect a professional engineer to weigh in on this. Builders generally agree that scarfing is not appropriate for a load-carrying beam. This leaves sistering a foolish solution, never ever doubling support strength.

Here is a scarfing illustration offered to the Fine Homebuilding discussion:

Here is a Forestry Forum illustration of a usual crudely cut/ traced pair of scarf-cut beam ends, necessarily preloaded in some tension with hammered-in wedges. Bind further with machine bolts and washers. The wedge space is made rectangular with difficult cuts at odd angle to the beam axis.

Here is my design of scarfing with steel templates that might permit accurate scarf cuts, loaded to tension with only a pair of lag screws.

Bond from the accessible top surface with a dozen smartly placed screws.

0.220" x 5" Strong-Tie SDWS22500DB-R50 
Timber Screw - Double Barrier Coating

Don't be diverted into trying scarfing. The solution in gaining load capacity is in making beams taller.

At 11/19/2012, this post is edited to include the lead-in phrase that follows, a sub-title:

Composite Beam Method In Residential Construction
I would like to claim those simple words for my practice of making wood beams taller as reinforcement, rather than wider (called sistering or doubling). I stitch rips of plywood (called web), to found 2x framing, as bridges to added 2x4 (called nailer). The added 2x4 are longest-possible match of the length of found framing.


In fact, "composite beam" is more commonly descriptive of material mixes including wood/ steel (Flitch Beam), and wood-concrete.

In my work in attics, it is sometimes structurally necessary that I provide substantial decking of the attic floor. 

That attic flooring then provides novel, efficient roof supports.

Here are three examples in a Picasa Web Album. In the first two, I have repaired broken floor joists where they must support needed attic ladders. In the third, I have provided load bearing capability over 2x4 truss bottom elements otherwise flimsy. In all three, the strength of a composite beam is assured only where 2x elements at bottom (ceiling of rooms below) and at top (attic deck surface), are not free to rotate.

Here is a graphic illustration of the composite beam application with 2x4 trusses:

I apply ample decking, with needful disregard of restraints. Search at Google "Energy Trust of Oregon". "Fraction of attic floor decked." Find 2012 Weatherization Specifications. Find AT 2.4:

Sadly, there is no forum for public input to rules. I can only try to influence, by this kind of public expression. Here then, let me ask: What is a "cavity to be filled"? I will link this by email to Energy Trust, and see what they have to say, on the broad topic. I invite them to respond by comment here.

This post was imagined, in dealing with structural analysis of composite beams, as presented in another public forum I have joined, DIY Chatroom:

Perhaps readers here will see value in composite beam construction, and might comment. I think floor reinforcement by "sistering" has no validity, where added lumber couples that found, with rotational freedom and unlikely bearing on supports below.

I wish for academic and professional comment. Lacking that, I can attempt my own defense. The ultimate would be deflection testing of sample beams, which is within my capability, but would best happen with support of an interested college or university. For now, note that beam stiffness and strength are in linear proportion to thickness, and cubic to height. Sistering at best doubles strength. A composite 2x10 is likely at least four times stronger than a 2x6, and more than ten times stronger than a 2x4. A composite 2x12 of the same 2x lumber is strengthened by a further factor of two. What wonderful and easy control of strength! Testing and questioning are hardly justified. Does it matter that you might increase 2x4 strength by times thirty? Maybe it is just the added insulation depth that matters. Often it is sufficient to just do all that the situation allows for strength and insulation, as in availability of headroom. Sistering is best effort, only if space for making the floor thicker is absolutely unavailable.

Interest in this has appeared in a re-post to Fine HomeBuilding. I have graphics to share there, which I will copy from expansion of this post. I explain in a further example, that of the repair and strengthening of a 2x8 floor joist in my crawl space. Here is a photo.

And, here is a cross-section detail. This beam bears more load than any other in my crawl space, yet suffers a carve-out passing the bathtub drain. I go way beyond compensating for the divot. Surely the reinforced beam is as strong as a joist of 1 1/2 x 12" cross section. Better strength is by the ratio (12/7.25), cubed. That is, by times 4.5.

I worried some about that beam before my remodel. I won't anymore.