Monday, February 9, 2009

Ambient orb for doorbell indication and electricity and gas consumption

Just a quick note to report on the progress of the ambient orb.
I coated the other half of the ball with white primer paint from a can I had laying around, and the results are really nice.
Take a look!

If you notice, on the left side, there is a little ear in the ball, so I'll just screw the ball to the drywall using the ear, install a microswitch opposite the ear, and it will be one with the wall. I reckon it will look good!

Now I will prepare the software for the arduino and the server, and when I reboot the server, I'll reinstall the whole thing. It might take a while, since, as you may recall, I am trying to go the whole heating season without rebooting the server that controls the heating, so far 163 days! But that allows me some more time to prepare the LED and think about the project!

Note: the reason why I can't disconnect only the arduino and install this without rebooting has to do with the (mine) crappy programming of the listener to the USB, which doesn't close the port. If I use Ctrl+C and disconnect the arduino, I'll not be able to connect to the arduino again without rebooting. I sorted that out in the new version of the listener, but, for the same reason I can't install it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More on the consumption

The progress on the light to indicate energy consumption is going steady, but the camera ran out of juice, so I can't put a picture online. Maybe tomorrow.
So I decided to report to you about the consumption curves.
In the picture you can see a plot of the gas consumption versus the average monthly temperature for the last 3 years - 2006, 2007 and 2008. The "trendlline" is a excel computed trendline, and its equation for 2006 is my basis for the energy saving calculations.
In 2006 I did' have in place any energy saving measures for the heating, and a sinple manual thermostat, so I consider that to be the baseline against which all gains are to be measured.
I think the line approaches quite well the measured results. It is a second order polynomial equation.
Also in the graphic is the date for 2007, when my automated zone controlled system was already in;s line is quite deviated from the line of 2006, so I can safely assume that there have been some considerable savings, and that my calculations might be close to the real thing.
As for the data points referring to 2008, these come quite close to the predication from the trendline for 2007, apart from the 2 slightly removed dots at the right. These correspond to February, when we spent a week off and therefore saved quite a bit on the heating bill, and December, when most of the roof insulation was already in place! Which makes me very hopeful that the insulation really is doing its job and saving quite some gas and CO2 from going up into the atmosphere!
Byt the way, for January, which just finished, I got a saving of 40% with respect to the 2006 equation, whereas in January 2008 and 2007 the saving in January was only about 12%.
I am hopeful to see what the coming months bring, with the added sun exposure hours (they do make a difference)!
I'll keep posting about it!