Monday, January 26, 2015

A Mission At 2015 International Builders Show

I assisted in the Fakro booth at 2015 International Builders Show in Las Vegas, with a complementary message for their presentation of attic ladders. That message is: Do provide safe and efficient access to your attic. Then, please consider enabled improvements of your attic.

The Fakro display included their excellent skylights, one working ladder, and a large screen showing attic ladder and skylight installation videos. The ladder is steel scissors type, Model LST 22x31 .

To some visitors, I admitted my preference for wood ladders.

I had a collection of photos to share, upon business cards, and on iPhone and tablet displays. No one cared to see my photos. Yet, I did engage with very many people, hoping they would remember me and my message, via taken business cards.

Here is a sampling of the shared photos and captions

Lighted safe access leads to remarkable results like these:

Very large savings are achievable in complex but inexpensive attic floor sealing. You can't do this without an in-attic vacuum and chop saw.

I have much to contribute toward better HVAC ducts , enabled by good attic and crawl space access.

Leading-edge adoption of residential LED lighting  is enabled with good access. These beautiful and bright Nicor DLS LEDs necessarily replaced a half-dead T12 fluorescent fixture/ bug collector. More commonly, the large savings and better satisfaction are in elimination of awful can lights.

The "starry sky " in this closet was carried throughout the house, replacing all can lights with Nicor DLS LEDs.

In the above photo and in numerous demonstrations, see application of my flexible grout to dress the edges of the ceiling cut-through, air tight about the frame. The trimless installation minimizes visibility of the closed door.

I practice innovation with attic ladders , for service not achievable with out-of-the-box construction. Would you buy a bicycle without any options to better serve your needs? The challenges and opportunities are similar.

The drawing shows a ladder easily deploying between 48" confining walls.

 A 2015 IBS visitor asked whether a drop-down ladder could serve with 14 ft floor to ceiling distance, and I responded that I have served FC of eleven ft (130.5"), despite manufacturer-claimed limits. I have imagined ladders that reach easily, more than twelve ft , comfortably in reach even for a short person. 14 ft might be difficult. 

Some possibilities involve manufacturer offerings to, and requirements of, professional installers, that may not be offered to a casual consumer. Such offerings do not yet exist.

All of these achievements, in Portland, Oregon, should be possible anywhere, with professional networking that I seek to establish through means including IBS presence.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Distributed Power Generation As Disaster Preparedness

Please consider the vision I share via Google Community, Residential LED Lighting :

About this community

We progressively surrender most of our point-source bulbs. Those that remain are for decor, not for illumination. Big LED plate lights occupy recessed-light locations. In time lights get smaller, distributed and remote-controlled with DC wiring. Light elements are with standard-everywhere low-voltage connectors like audio jacks. New luminaires are forward-compatible with OLED elements. 

And - - seeing that PV arrays fail to serve in a disaster if grid-tied, let most lighting and crucial electronics be off-grid. Silly us, to want to generate income with a PV array, in the grid. In this, lights wired as low-voltage DC, auto and marine as the active example, will prevail over now-competitive chip-on-board AC LEDs. Why might we need AC LEDs? Strip boards down to only diodes and wires: that's what lasts forever. All fragile electronics clustered, serviceable, elsewhere.

I find no help yet in the participation at this community.

Searching the internet for vision and progress, try this as a Google search:
"distributed power generation for lighting and crucial electronics ."

Find commercial buildings progress in this Carnegie Mellon report , in LEDs Magazine. From this, discover the Emerge Alliance , "an open industry association leading the rapid adoption of safe DC power distribution in commercial buildings through the development of EMerge Alliance standards."

At the Emerge Alliance home page, find this link to Mother Nature Network:

The home of tomorrow will run on direct current 

See that advanced thought is coming from Lloyd Alter, blogging from Toronto:

The vision of collection on each home may sound extreme, and in fact is not absolute. Many means of local cooperation can evolve. Here is one vision of rather large collectives for distributed generation, in India: 

In the USA, a campaign open to every individual home might be necessary. Any urban divorce from the grid would be disruptive. A little alienation, voluntarily in every home, can not be stopped. Each participant finds the best-yet way to cooperate in guarding life on Earth against consumptive waste.With that beginning, find other means of expression. A typical path will be separation from the grid in the overhead lights chosen (eventually all). Where ceiling junction boxes are stupidly packed with power distribution to outlets, much rewiring will be afforded by the sure savings. Homes will become safer. With all other prep as in closure of attic floor pits, now add overhead insulation. And, never, never add insulation that gets in the way of needed repairs and largest savings opportunities. Repairs shall include fixing ventilation problems at bad noise-maker fans, badly ducted, and promotion of good attic ventilation by correcting deficient soffit vents. 

I am committed that I will do a trial installation in my own home. I invite development of other projects through inspiration at community Build It Solar:
  • Let's see who gets a project done first. My first room will employ Nicor DLS lights minus the AC to DC converter assembly in each luminaire. The AC is separable with twist connectors. I want to build little lights with minimal additions to inexpensive light engine boards, where the biggest challenge is in cobbling up connector jacks, using audio components to start. In time, push-pluck connectors will be universal and will cost almost nothing, enabling very wonderful light as art, always low voltage and outside costly regulation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Defending Basic Best-Savings Weatherization In Oregon

I will attend a meeting this morning, in a first-ever visit at Portland, Oregon's Energy Trust . The meeting topic, broadly, is weatherization policy in Oregon and nationally. The specific meeting objective has been declared by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission , in the person of staff member Juliet Johnson. In advance, I create this full public record of preliminaries. After the meeting, I will add my observations and any posted minutes.

Here are email notices from Juliet Johnson, and attachments as saved in my Google Drive. 

Sent 1/5/2015:
Hello – There will be a workshop at 9:30 AM on January 14, 2015 at Energy Trust (421 Southwest Oak Street #300 Portland, OR 97204) to discuss the idea of an incentive cap for energy efficiency measures, as described in Commission Order No. 14-332 in Docket UM 1622.  A link to the order is attached. 
As indicated in the order, the Commission is open to considering the idea of an incentive cap proposal for energy efficiency measures – especially for moderate income and multi-family customers – that includes the following elements:
  1. Meaningful reduction in incentives;
  2. Strong protocols to minimize free riders; and
  3. A design that favors lowest cost, highest savings measures.
The purpose of the January 14th workshop is to hear and discuss proposal concepts.  You can call into the meeting at:  1-888-354-0094; Passcode 7765580#.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Juliet Johnson
Oregon Public Utility Commission

This is a second stage in my contribution of public input to hearing UM1622 of 9/30/2014 . That decision hearing was a sham, with absolutely no respect for the public comments. Participants were allowed to post remarks and then might ask to speak if present. My written remarks were email submission of PDF hard copy of several policy blog posts here . And here is all that has been understood from my submission:

In response to this docket Phillip Norman provided excerpts from a blog that he writes.
In the blog excerpts he asserts gas prices will go up due to future unforeseen fracking

I immediately responded to the 1/5/2015 notice, with this:
OK, let us cap all payouts from Energy Trust, to NONE. There should never have been payout of public purpose funds, to anyone. The only decent output is as a to-be-repaid loan, offered regardless of a person's wealth. There can be really-good reasons any home owner would join this hugely-expanded Energy Trust program, tracking ALL measures that benefit a home owner, but never with a payout to a home owner. This is among comments I offered upon UM1622 hearings. Weatherization sponsorship by Energy Trust then clearly could not fail a profitability test except for the real ruin, the absurd $25,000 per home overhead for each of the mere 2000 homes per year served.

OPUC shall be ashamed that they end all productive relationship of Energy Trust to home owners, while not testing merit of anything else Energy Trust does, including spending more than $500,000 per year to promote useless Energy Performance Score, illegally not subjected to payback analysis.

Why should I bother to show up for the death notices? I might.
No one has responded to this message.

The 1/5/2015 notice included these attachments .
I responded with these attachments .

The final meeting notice is this, of 1/13/2015:
Attached are items we will review and discuss at UM 1622 Incentive Cap workshop at at Energy Trust.  Please let me know if you have any questions or additional items for discussion.


Juliet Johnson

I responded to the 1/13/2015 notice, thus:
Why can't we talk about something that serves all of the best savings opportunities in all homes, the same? How can income or wealth weigh upon energy savings opportunities? Let's confess that renters, both in decrepit homes and in decrepit workplaces, and there are ever more of them, need weatherization most, and are ROBBED of their contributions to the Public Purpose Fund, for shame, for shame! 

Why can't we talk of keeping the most important savings of all, in air sealing? The small cost of air sealing is always repaid in less than two years. Anyone who says otherwise is really, really causing harm . No insulation should be added in an attic floor, ever, without full prep of the floor, including conversion to LED lighting with elimination of all bad can lights, certainly all that are non-IC. Before adding insulation too, we must fix insufficient soffit ventilation, usually only one third of needed soffit vent area, and setting stapled-cardboard baffles that will fail in five years where sixty-year survival is mandatory. Let us not talk then of any allowance that blow and go criminals may secure rebates for their stupid actions doing more harm than good, not even adding much insulation value as they cheat with voids and underfills, defying inspection by barring access. Part of our cure is to eliminate ALL of the mismanaged and failing promotion of weatherization in get-greedy, take back your share from the Public Purpose Fund, rebate handouts. The real human nature is cooperation, to preserve good life for all of Earth's creatures.

How many of the high-volume pushy, lying contractors are there in the blow and go, rewarded by $10,000 per year handouts from the Public Purpose Fund? Surely this amounts to $200,000 per year. All cooperative marketing money as bribes to love Energy Trust, might add up to $500,000 per year.Then there is the illegal expenditure of $500,00 per year, trying to get worthless EPS to fly. Compare $1 million of this dirty money, to the 2014 payout in all existing home insulation rebates, of less than $500,000, and stupid niggling that drags busy people downtown tomorrow, to hack off $200,000. How mean! And how dangerously confusing to the general public! How else does Energy Trust spend $8 million per year, that was intended to promote residential weatherization, and does not? How can we be quibbling over $200,000 as the ONLY responsible management by OPUC?

80% of large-return investment in residential weatherization has never begun. It will be very evil, if this is all about the libertarian wish to get rid of another damned tax, that Public Purpose Fund. Make Energy Trust hated for its years of known wastefulness and non-performance. Make them hated more for no longer managing residential weatherization, but only handing dollars upward to corporations and the more-affluent. Get rid of Energy Trust then. Maybe even a Democratic legislature then, might eliminate the Public Purpose Fund.

I have described a better future where at least $1 billion is used immediately in loans, to greatly increase the production of Energy Trust, knocking down the present $25,000 per home served. There is a lot to be debated, in making good happen. Could an honest, intelligent and hard-working person, a critic, be banished from this important conversation?

We must not waste the day tomorrow, with the surrender agenda that has been offered. We must not imagine that Energy Trust may  go on ever more-wastefully, in a failed rebates regime.

The 1/13/2015 notice included these attachments .
I responded with these attachments .

I have no heart for the throttled weatherization proposals. I can hardly bear to read them. My push for a different conversation has excessive zeal, I know. I expect dismissal by some, for numbers naivete. My numbers are gleaned from much reading however, and they contradict the glowing self-reports Energy Trust submits to OPUC. I am certain OPUC has been complicit in hiding Energy Trust's failed performance.

At 1/16/2015, begin a report upon the meeting. It appears that no minutes will be forthcoming.

"Free Riders" in a weatherization dictionary?
The participants spoke of "free riders" as negative, until the meeting end, where it was agreed that free riders are good. Free riders sounded good to me all along, never defined, understood by context. I think this may be a definition in weatherization: If someone does something good without some payout from the Public Purpose Fund, that is a free rider. As I see it, people want and need to do good. They resent thought they might need a bribe. Energy Trust employs bribes in rebate payouts as their only tool, and they don't like demonstration bribes are unnecessary, or worse. One participant reported that home owners in his experience, need only lists of the measures valued by society as most-productive, and they will have them done regardless of incentives. We agree on this! So, why did the meeting end with only commitment to shuffle and rethink incentive amounts within UM1622 constraints, and still without air sealing?

My insult of the funds theft from renters drew discussion, and some hope new programs might emphasize renter opportunities, but no action was promised, and I expect there will be no diminishment of our shame.

OPUC Docket Invitation, Honest Work With Up-Front Financing, Equally For All:
Perhaps from respect of my comments, the only written comments received, OPUC promised that they are obliged to act upon any proposal that appears in their docket process. I must be committed then to cause action by a new docket submittal separate from that hijacked in continuation of home performance madness, In this new docket action, I must challenge the failed rebates regimes, by formally proposing a very large up-front financing plan, for honest lowest-cost work, rid of home performance scams. The new and very honestly-managed financing through a new Oregon State Bank, will dwarf the tiny delivery of such through Oregon State Representative Jules Bailey's hijacked HB 2626 of 2009 . In its honesty it will draw support from the public to employ state and municipal reserved funds, and it will be capitalized even by individual investors seeking safest returns and noble purpose. Where Energy Trust serves only 2000 homes per year, and 1200 are with up-front financing despite extremely high cost, we see that rebates don't work. An honest up-front financing program will inspire the nation. Oregon will be the leader we imagine we are, not the greenness laughingstock.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

More, Seriously Funny

I occasionally spend a day removing can lights, patching in wonderful LED lighting on junction boxes. It takes me a half hour to replace a can light with a RACO 175 junction box, texture matched, ceiling paint-ready. The patch will be hidden by currently-available LED plate lights , but still I try hard to match surrounding texture in the patch. I am committed that I shall do the right thing vs. an idiot applying a Tenmat cover, saving money even in installation cost. I deliver real energy conservation larger by an order of magnitude, and real protection against fire propagation vs. the sham where a Tenmat cover is ruined by tears to accommodate wires and the flimsy can supports, the hat not bonded to the ceiling by foam and lifting away in real fire conditions. 

Energy savings with the LED light and eliminated can light will repay installation costs in as little as three years , thereafter with perpetual payback of 33% on a pleasant investment. Energy conservation is a less important goal I achieve, than better illumination and more-productive living.

So, is this Seriously Funny ? The humor is that while I do this, 10,000 foolish installers are putting up ever more awful can lights. Probably they are installing 65 watt incandescent downlights, for reputed ambiance. Up twenty feet, defying the soon-needed replacement bulb. They aren't thinking about fire propagation, or much of anything. I don't know if anyone else seeks to eliminate can lights.

On average, the ant on the right path does matter.

Here is a plaster-patch method, very quick.

This is real, cheerful, light, 750 lumens 6" Glimpse LED, not too bright way up there over a shower, NEVER needing new installation on a can light.
My usual patch is with a ring of drywall, ideally the divot from can cutout, stashed above the ceiling, or from a section of the involved ceiling remnant of a new attic ladder installation .

Please see more of the photos of this post, with captions, at this Picasa Web Album .