Hole-In-One (Bill)

s2042I’ve been busy, literally digging into stuff.  The morons who built my house screwed up, so heavy rains gave me a wet basement.  By digging, I’ve been able to seriously whack my electric bill, saving ridiculous amounts of Watts.

More explanation: the property was not graded properly.  A house is supposed to be surrounded by a mild slope, causing rain to run off away from the foundation (and any basement if present).  Failure to grade leads to a damp basement, and in extreme cases foundation damage or settling.  My basement was damp in general, and certainly after serious rains, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I’ve been digging for months now, adding drainage features.  Then I threw the spoil toward my walls, to alter slopes.  I’m not even finished, and already I’ve been able to turn off the dehumidifier in the basement.  Without it, the electric bill fell sharply.  The first month, I didn’t pay attention much.  The second month was a coincidence.  The third month, however, showed me the dehumidifier had been the one biggest energy use in the house, since my electric bill is now half.  Yes, half.  Just digging cut my electricity use in half, and my EV is now “paid off” (in wattage terms) several times over.

I have to retract that first part: the general contractors for the house weren’t morons.  They aren’t paying the monthly utility bills, I am.  So what do they care if they “screwed up”?  Someone bought the new house, so for a builder, they succeeded.  Succeeded in suckering at least one homebuyer.  I, a later owner, am a sucker no more, and not an energy sucker.  Which makes me wonder: how many screwups are there, in this land of detached houses, and how many are simply being covered up by energy sucking? Continue reading


Mud on the Leg(work)… ?

It’s Dec. 30.  BRD, an electric-motorcycle manufacturer, once claimed they’d have their RedShift bikes to sell in 2013.  On the way to being an actual electric-motorcycle seller, they’ve been quiet.  But recently they sent an update on their past ten (!!!) months:

By the end of 2012, our development prototypes had journalists saying things like “could be the best Lites-class MX bike on the market”… “a clear superiority” …Not a bad start, but not yet up to our standards.

Let’s see, how do we take this coffee?cat

1) At face value- beating all gasser MXers is hard
2) Not quite face value- the company is biding their time
3) Not at all- there’s an issue we don’t know about
4) Worse than not at all- BRD won’t make their own targets Continue reading

Followup: 4 Light Bulbs…Of THE FUTURE

04cHappy solstice!  How better to observe than lots of light, but little juice.  Earlier I had written on nulling out the electricity of my vehicle, by saving it elsewhere- “negawatts.”  I said nothing on LEDs (solid state emitters) at the time.  While efficient, very long-lived, and fast, they were almost fifty bucks.  Then 40, then 30… see where I’m going?

This Spring, Cree’s bombshell hit shelves: dimmable LEDs, in the usual A19 thread (“Edison base”), at ten dollars (40W equivalent; a “60W” was $14.)  At 6 actual Watts, I’d score 34 negawatts in one move.  Still, I held out.  Only one store (Home Depot) had it, only in multi-packs.  But reviews have been kind, they’re now sold individually, and the price has fallen (after rebates) to… six bucks.  It’s now a no-brainer: more efficient than compact fluorescents (barely), with no hum/flicker, lag time, or power-cycling issues, at nearly the same price.  If it all works, that is.  Does it? Continue reading