Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 2012 Reports

To conclude the month, the January 2012 monthly readings were all better than one year ago:
  • House 789 kWh (2011 829.0)
  • GSHP 531 kWh (2011 608.0)
  • PV 76 kWh (2011 65.3)
  • Sunbox 127 kWh (2011 94.0)
29 Jan 2012: Sunday night, and time for more meter readings, and consideration of what else is happening. Chancellor Osborne went to Beijing, and while it's possible that London may be the location for the RenMinBi to be traded globally, he also agreed to sell Thames Water to the Chinese. What the hell do they want that for?... London is perpetually being dug up to replace rotten old water pipes. Meanwhile, US and UK warships were 'testing' the Iranians by driving warships through the Strait of Hormuz. President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address, of impeccable logic, which left Republicans seated and unsmiling, and having to use tortuous spin-language to find any criticisms. Close to my interest, it was somewhat shocking that three buildings in Rio de Janeiro collapsed suddenly (one was 20 storeys), in a heap of dust and rubble - presumably a mixture of bad construction and gas explosion, perhaps. While I have been skiing in the humble resort of Kasberg, the great and powerful have been assembling in the resort of Davos for a major economic summit - I doubt if they found time for skiing.  Solar storms have produced effects on earth, with the Aurora Borealis being seen as far south of Yorkshire and Arizona! Meanwhile, what have my meters been doing? It seems we are back in the business of breaking records...
  • All time Low Records: House annual 4,586 kWh, GSHP annual 2,579 kWh, GSHP FLEQ (full load operating hours) 1,174 hrs.
  • All time High Record: The PV harvest is 3,395 kWh, Sunbox clock 2,496 hrs. The Sunbox energy capture is nearly a record, at 3,071 kWh. The PV is so agonisingly close to 3,400 kWh, I wonder if it will touch that. Feb 2011 was very foggy, so it might happen if Feb 2012 is better!
  • Ground temperature is 10.4ºC. (was 10.6ºC a year ago.)
28 Jan 2012: Well, I am back after a week's holiday in Austria (ArchiCad Winter School), and I expected the week's meter readings to be higher than usual because I have to leave the system on 'autopilot', i.e. I don't expect my wife to know how to check and tune it daily. However, the weather has continued to be kind (despite the hyperbolic speculation told by the Daily Express) and the house averaged under 25 kWh/day and the GSHP under 18 kWh/day. The News roundup and Weekly summary will be done on the 29th Jan, but at the moment it looks likely to be another set of records, with the house and GSHP below 4,600 and 2,600 respectively for annual figures.

20 Jan 2012: The meter readings are on a Friday because I am taking a short winter sport break. The biggest news story of the week continues to be the aftermath of the Concordia shipwreck. As if that wasn't enough to remind us of the hazards of the ocean, the idiot Michael Gove (who has recently printed enough King James Bibles for every school which are sitting in a foreign warehouse with his name and foreword in them, but who nobody is prepared to pay for) proposed that a Royal Yacht should be built for £60m and presented to her Majesty to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. It's to be a three masted square rigger apparently. Quite how an 86yr old woman and her 90yr old husband will manage this is beyond me. And it's to be paid for when thousands of public sector workers are made redundant, or have their pay frozen. Mohamed Ali reached the age of 70. I remember his fights in his early career. On Wednesday, the whole world came to a halt for a day, as Wikipedia, its greatest repository of knowledge, was blacked out for 24 hrs in protest against SOPA. And an old family favourite, Kodak is finally facing bankruptcy.... sign of the times - the digital era. And what about the Peveril Solar house meters? Well as January 2011 was mild, it's not surprising me that they have levelled off.

  • Very low: The House meter is 4,24kWr/yr, the GSHP meter is 2,628 kWh/yr.
  • Very high: PV meter is 3,390 kWh/yr, Sunbox meter is 3,058 kWh/yr
  • GSHP clock is 1,200 hrs (low) and Sunbox clock is 2,475 hrs (high)
  • Deep ground temperature is 10.3ºC


15 Jan 2012: The weather has turned colder, but sunshine has been good. Our PV has hit an all-time record. January last year had a mild middle period, so the electrical figures have, at last, begun to level off. Elsewhere in the world, there is almost too much to report! Stephen Hawking reached 70. North of the border, the Scots are all stirred up by their leaders to want to be a separate country and currency (really, will they vote for that?). The residents of the rural Chilterns are roused to anger by the thought of high-speed rail travellers getting to Birmingham more quickly than they can reach Waitrose in their Range Rovers. In the USA, New Hampshire confirmed that Mitt Romney is in the lead with the Reptilian party, but the hideous paradoxical spectre of 'libertarian authoritarianism' is emerging in the rise of Ron Paul - and in the next primary, they will be the only candidates.
  Closer to my teaching interest, the BBC reported that a boom in skyscrapers precedes a recession, but as we are in that recession already, it's not a new story - and the trend mainly applies to the USA. In China, skyscrapers proceed even faster than ever, with more built in the 11 years of the 21st century than in the entire previous history of building. I am sure that many of the skyscrapers in Dubai will spend their lives empty - their boom is over.
  Closer to the topic of this Blog, there was a midweek stampede to reduce Gas prices by 5%, starting with EDF, conveniently omitting to mention that they had hosting raised prices in November by over 15% - this seemed to be a cheap trick to get a day of free advertising on the BBC. Only one company, British Gas, dropped their electricity price. The high court decided that the Nov 2011 decision on Feed in Tariffs was wrong, but the government in the form of DECC seem to have decided to ignore that. Thousands of women are worried about their PIP breast implants, and the Phobos-Grunt Mars explorer crashed to the Pacific after getting no further than 385 miles from earth (expensive fail...) The entire week's news was overshadowed by the capsize of the Concordia, a ship the size of a town (if redistributed on flat land). I am not a naval architect, but as a sailor and a skyscraper cognoscento, I have wondered how much taller these cruise ships can get, with rows and rows of balconies, but now we know. They only need a small knock to capsize.

  • The Annual figures are levelling out slightly, with the House meter having an all-time record of 4,609 kWh, but the GSHP meter levelling out at 2,623 kWh (not surprising in the light of the recent cold but sunny weather.) (A year ago these were 6,145 and 4,078 respectively.)
  • Happy to say, the PV hits an all time record high of 3,392 kWh (a year ago it was 3,288)
  • Despite my suspicions about the energy meter under reading, the Sunbox meter shows a nearly all-time high of 3,081 kWh with a record high SB hours of 2,478 hours (even though I raised the delta-T to 7 degrees.)
  • The deep ground temperature has dipped a bit due to the recent cold snap, but it's above 10, at 10.5ºC. (what would it be if the thermal storage was boosted by some evacuated tubes!?)
8 Jan 2012: When will the winter come? we have had the solstice and the new year.... but we have roses blooming in the front and back garden, weeds in the flowerbeds that do not usually show until July, and not a single day yet where the daytime temperature reached freezing (and not many nights either). No scraping of wind screens or salt on the pavement! As for the ground temperature, we seem to have turned the corner of the winter. More sunshine to come (although we might still have the long promised very cold spell..)
Ground Temperatures over three winters.
(Sunbox started operating March 2010)

  Elsewhere in the world, we now have two satellites ringing the Moon, (Sir) Jonathan Ives (chief industrial designer for Apple) becomes a knight, and the cartoonist Ronald Searle dies. So does photographer Eve Arnold, a few days short of her 100th birthday. William Hague visited Myanmar and met Aung San Suu Kyi. Eleven was significant for some, 11 died in New Zealand when a hot air balloon crashed into electricity lines , but 11 Iranian sailors should be grateful to the US Navy after being rescued from Somali pirates. On a more Nottingham located context.... this house again achieves all time records, always falling - as much due to the mild winter as to the solar augmentation, I am sure.
  • All time Records still Falling: House 4,615 kWhGSHP 2,621 kWh, GSHP clock 1,198 hrs. (A year ago, annual was: House 6,225 kWh, GSHP 4,151 kWh, GSHP Clock 1712 hrs). 
  • PV 3,382.5 kWh (Nearly the highest ever! It was 3,283 a year ago) 
  • Sunbox energy 3,058kWh (I'm happy as long as it is above 3,000). SB clock 2,465 hrs. 
  • Deep ground temperature is 11.0ºC. A year ago it was 10.4ºC. 2 yrs ago it was 4.7ºC.
If this weather continues mild.... I fear to tempt fate... it seems that the two key annual figures could go below 4,600 kWh and 2,600 kWh by the weekend.... because only a short while ago I was writing that it would be a 'dream' if it would go below 5,000 kWh and 3,000 kWh.
1 Jan 2012: Another week of mild weather, with daytime temperatures in double figures. It is illustrated in the diagram below where the Red graph traces the graph of Degree Days, indicating the heating requirements for buildings in this region, using a base of 15.5ºC. The Blue graph illustrates, in a relative way, the workload of the GSHP in kilowatt hours, over the last three winters. The current winter has hardly happened at all, compared with the previous two.
What about the rest of the world?... well Kim Jong Il was laid to rest in a rather noisy and crowded way, Syria has become a lot more violent. We had Christmas and New Year - the London fireworks were particularly impressive. Germany announces that renewable energy is now the single largest source of electricity, and nuclear is in decline  [See Report] (the bad bit of this being that the second largest source is Lignite, otherwise known as dirty brown coal). Samoa decided to cross the dateline and miss out Friday altogether. The BBC declared a Panda to be on the shortlist of Females of the year. The best news is that a Swedish woman found her wedding ring, 16 years after it was lost, growing on a Carrot in her garden. What else? Oh, the Meters! Here are some annual figures:
  • All time Records still Falling: House 4,654 kWh, GSHP 2,669 kWh, GSHP clock 1,224 hrs. (A year ago, annual was: House 6,285 kWh, GSHP 4,206 kWh, GSHP Clock 1728 hrs). 
  • PV 3,378 kWh (Very high! I'm happy if it is above 3,300, it was 3,276 a year ago) 
  • Sunbox energy 3,039kWh (I'm happy as long as it is above 3,000). SB clock 2,456 hrs. 
  • Deep ground temperature is 10.9ºC. A year ago it was 10.1ºC. 2 yrs ago it was 5.0ºC.

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