Comments (18)
  1. A Tykhyy says:

    from the said AP article:

    <i>The family is even drying clothes on a line, forgoing the gas dryer. </i>

    Oh, the horror of it!… and me not even know what a gas dryer looks like.

  2. HBS says:

    @A Tykhyy: My thought exactly.

  3. steveshe says:

    Tykhyy, HBS,

    Everything is relative.

  4. DavidE says:

    The sad thing about this is that a good HVAC design could probably save them a lot of money. Houses in the US are very poorly designed because energy has always been cheap. Larger houses can use multi-zoned systems, and houses with lots of glass can benefit from automated shade systems.

    Another problem can be mismatched systems. I made the mistake of upgrading my heat pump to one that is larger than I need, and my energy bills went up.

  5. Randolpho says:

    In other news: Water is wet, the sky is blue, and America still hasn’t won the World Cup.

  6. Daniel says:

    DavidE: Energy wasn’t always cheap.  Remember the "energy crisis" of the 1970s?  My house was built in the late ’70s, and it was certainly designed with energy efficiency in mind – southern-facing windows, 2"x8" studs in all of the outside walls instead of 2x4s, a heat pump-based cooling system, etc.  But you are right – if taken at a glance, most American houses aren’t designed for energy efficiency (probably because it isn’t exactly cheap initially).

  7. Adrian says:

    Here in California, electricity costs are proportional to a "baseline" quantity, an estimate of how much electricity a house could/should use per month.  The baseline is determined by your location rather than the size of your home or how many people live there.  The cost of electricity up to your baseline is relatively cheap.  Above the baseline, it goes up in large steps, especially large since the power crisis a couple summers ago.

    I had a 750 sq. ft. apartment in Sunnyvale, which had a baseline usage of 720 kWh/month.  It’s inconceivable to me that I could have possibly used that much.

    I got married and moved to a 2200 sq. ft. house in Hayward.  My baseline now is a mere 340 kWh/month.  It’s almost impossible to get through a month below that.

  8. A Tykhyy says:

    "probably because it isn’t exactly cheap initially"

    No, that’s not the case — with proper design the extra building cost is insignificant or even entirely absent, or so I’ve read.

  9. DavidE says:

    Daniel, your house may be better than some, but it doesn’t make it "efficient". My house has all of the same features yours does, but I still use 3 times as much energy in the winter than in the summer. I’m starting to wonder whether or not the resistance heating thermostat is set incorrectly…

  10. mph says:

    Adrian:  I live in the desert, and what really got us was that the "summer" baseline doesn’t start until June 1.  This year, I count 8 days in May that the high temperature where we live was over 95 F, and only 3 days that it was below 80 F, but we were supposed to be on (much lower) "winter" usage.

  11. Cooney says:

    The baseline is determined by your location rather than the size of your home or how many people live there.  The cost of electricity up to your baseline is relatively cheap.  Above the baseline, it goes up in large steps, especially large since the power crisis a couple summers ago.

    So, Enron screws California by creating an energy crisis and you pay for it? That’s rich.

  12. Rob says:

    No Cooney, I think California screwed California. NIMBY is a strong force on the Left Coast and power plants and transmission facilities are very difficult to get approved. Although, the situation should improve as crisis in 2001 led to solution and new plants are coming on line now. Should help with the blackouts, but won’t help much with pricing.

  13. Cooney says:

    Apparently, Enron helped a lot by getting power plants to take maintenance windows in peak demand periods. Coordinate enough of those, and you get rolling blackouts. Yeah, the half assed dereg had a lot to do with it, but Enron had a big part too.

    Are they finally coming around to nuke plants?

  14. Jolyon Smith says:

    HEADLINE: Big Houses = Higher Heating Bills

    CONTENT: Higher Ceilings = Higher Heating Bills

    Neither of which is a universal truth.

  15. Sure, this is a "duh" title after analysis, but there’s only so many times you can report "energy prices are up!" before things tend to get repetitive.

    From a readership point of view, this is good title – a lot of people have upgraded houses recently based on home sales and interest rates, and this title will draw them in to read it.

    So, yes, "duh".  But you found it and linked it.  They win.

  16. BarfieldMV says:

    I recently read something on a big dutch tecno news site(tweakers.net). The news was in the line of:

    Hackers are actually trying to hack!!!!

    With a story of hackers creating fake website for users to insert their personal data and passwords. I might expect something like that in a local newspaper, but on a big news site is was strange.

  17. carlso says:

    Did you notice one of the names of the families mentioned in the article?

    Muckenfuss

    What a great name!  It sounds like what I do with my computers everyday.  I’m sure that if they were giving out surnames today, they would name me Muckenfuss.  I bet a lot of you out there would be named Muckenfuss too.  ;-)

  18. The stress on the power grid.

Comments are closed.