Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zoom into your Roof: Checking the Thermal Performance of Home Roofs

Zoom into your Roof: Checking the Thermal Performance of Home Roofs: "

Information Aesthetics (a great blog by the way) has an interesting post on insulation. There's a high activation energy for people to determine whether or not they have appropriate insulation. Either you need to climb around in your attic and have a practiced eye and know about R values of insulation, construction and so on, or you have to pay an expensive consultant. But here's a way a group quickly and cheaply (spread across everybody's energy savings) found a way to get past that activation energy.

"Out of most existing buildings, a significant amount of heat escapes unnecessarily, out of which at least 30% is typically emitted through the roof construction. Many governments throughout the world attempt to tackle this problem by supporting the insulation of roofs through rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives. But how can individual citizens determine whether such a costly renovation is worthwhile for their own house? The online project 'Zoom into Your Roof' [antwerpen.be] tries to help solve this question through a relatively simple visualization. During the winter of 2009, a small airplane with an infrared scanner made a wide sweeping thermal scan of a large part of Belgium, which resulted in the largest thermographic map currently available online. Inhabitants living within this area are able to select their home address and answer a few questions (such as the angle of the roof). in order to determine for themselves how their own roofs actually perform."

Belkin gets in to energy saving accessories in a big way

I've been holding off posting about belkin's products that are in their eco line because it seemed that the money you spent on the expensive products would be more than you could possibly save. However, they have now launched a competitor to the kill-a-watt and added a number of items to the line that I think are more reasonably priced. They also seem to be getting in to the space in a big way so maybe prices will get driven down.

Here's a link to their products at amazon Belkin Conserve products

Probably most interesting is the outlet with built in timer for only $9.99
You can set it to 1/2 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours. This way your phone can get charged without continuing to charge all night. Or as they put it (paraphrasing) you don't burn down your house with your curling iron.

Here's their kill-a-watt competitor:

It's more stylish, comes preloaded with average us electricity cost and does the total cost over time as well.

Their remote controlled power strip has been out for a while and seems a bit over priced to me. Which uses more resources this $30 strip or a $2 strip from ikea. Of course the belkin has a nice light switch looking control to help you to not have to walk over to the power strip to turn it off.

Finally they have an auto switched strip, that senses load on one of the outlets and turns the others off. They suggest having the tv in the sensor spot and turning off game consoles stereos etc when the tv is off. There's nothing new here but belkin has more style and marketing reach so maybe more people will start using these when they see them in costco or bestbuy

Anyway, I have no association with belkin and haven't actually used them myself so fair warning, just thought I'd mention them here.

Remember as we hit the summer in the northern hemisphere, the biggest energy saver your can easily do is use your air conditioning less. Get a wet towel and drape it on your forehead for your own personal swamp cooler :)