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Electric Baseload Basics ACI 09 FUND 8: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2:00 pm to 3:40 pm Kansas City, Missouri. Rana Belshe Conservation Connection Consulting Fairchild, Wisconsin 715-334-2707. A. Tamasin Sterner Pure Energy Lancaster, Pennsylvania 717-293-8990. Session Objectives.

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A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

Electric Baseload BasicsACI 09 FUND 8: Wednesday, April 29, 20092:00 pm to 3:40 pm Kansas City, Missouri

Rana Belshe

Conservation Connection Consulting

Fairchild, Wisconsin


A. Tamasin Sterner

Pure Energy

Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Session objectives

Session Objectives

Learn how to separate electric baseload from whole house electric use

Explore how occupants, equipment, and use patterns affect electricity consumption

Evaluate options and actions to reduce use

Today s topics

Today’s Topics

The equipment we will talk about today:

  • Electronics

  • Lighting

  • Refrigeration

  • Water Heating

  • And a few other things

  • What they use

  • How they work

  • What can be done – in terms of measures and behaviors

  • Weatherization core competencies

    Weatherization Core Competencies

    Baseload seasonal total household electric use

    Baseload + Seasonal = Total Household Electric Use

    Baseload: Electricity that power things—lights and appliances--used year round

    Seasonal use: Electricity used to provide heating, cooling, often dehumidification

    The goal is to understand how a particular household uses electricity, identify the possibilities for reducing that use and dialogue with the occupant for the best possible outcomes.

    Holiday hell o

    Holiday Hell-o

    Example of lighting as a seasonal load

    Photo: A. Tamasin Sterner, Pure Energy

    Houses don t use energy people do

    Houses don’t use energy. People do.

    Reasons to address baseload

    Reasons to Address Baseload

    Sometimes, reducing electric baseload can guarantee better savings than measures geared toward reducing the cost of heating and/or cooling: Savings Follows Use.

    Plug loads are increasing.

    Electric energy waste (energized equipment not in active use) is increasing.

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    • “ Electricity originates inside clouds. There it forms lightning, which is attracted to the earth by golfers. After entering the ground, the electricity hardens into coal, which, when dug up by power companies and burned in big ovens called “generators,” turns back into electricity, which is sent in the form of “volts” (also known as “watts” or “rpm” for short) through special wires with birds sitting on them to consumers’ homes, where it is transformed by TV sets into commercials for beer, which passes through the consumer and back into the ground, thus completing what is known as a “circuit.”

    Dave Barry, Funny Times, 2002

    Electricity energy power

    Electricity: Energy & Power


    From meter to utility bill

    power over time

    • Watt hour - Wh

    • kiloWatt hour - kWh

      (1,000 Wh)


    Nameplate – potential –instantaneous demand

    • Watt - W

    • kiloWatt (1,000 W) – kW

    • Watt - is one joule per second or the power supplied when a current of one ampere is driven by a potential difference of one volt

    Energy cost value february 4 2009

    Energy Cost & ValueFebruary 4, 2009

    Cost/Unit x Unit/MBtu = Cost/Mbtu

    Pricing Source: ww.eia.doe.gov.neic/experts/heatcalc.xls

    General baseload analysis

    General Baseload Analysis

    Tools of the trade

    Tools of the Trade

    2-3 prong adapter

    MicroWeir or stop watch and container

    Drip gauge

    Lamp harp and diffuser extenders

    Product sheet showing replacement light fixtures

    Screwdrivers, pliers, or a multipurpose tool like a Leatherman™

    Laptop computer with appliance use software

    • Consumption history

    • Calculator

    • Camera

    • Clipboard & pen

    • Tape measure

    • kWh meter

    • Ground tester

    • Thermometers

    • Flashlight

    • Ladder

    • Gloves (to remove hot bulbs)

    • Extension cord

    Establish baseload use

    Establish Baseload Use

    Obtain (a printout of) the customer’s electricity use for at least one year prior to the site visit.

    Separate the baseload use from the total use by:

    adding together the three lowest months (not weird numbers)

    dividing the sum by 3 to get an average baseload month’s use

    multiplying that number by 12 months

    This can easily be done visually from a bar chart.

    There are lots of ways to do this. They all work.

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Annual Customer Usage Printout


    LANActive40256S25894Non Ele Ht Cool

    1. Three lowest months = 892+ 1,056+ 1,134 = 3,082 ÷ 3 months

    2. Average monthly use = 1,027 kWh/mo

    3. 1,027 kWh/mo x 12 mo = 12,328 kWh/yr baseload

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Consumption History

    Approximate monthly baseload use ~ 600 kWh or about 7,200 kWh/year

    Annual end use consumption ranges kwh

    Annual End Use Consumption Ranges (kWh)

    National averages trued up to PA utility program experience

    Assess the opportunity for energy savings

    Assess the Opportunity for Energy Savings

    Determine if the customer’s use is in the low, mid range, or high range using their consumption history or data on their utility bills.

    Focus your efforts in the home based on your determination.

    Since savings follows use, you will likely find more opportunities to save energy where the use is high.

    If any category of use is low, then save time and focus where the use is medium or high

    Savings follows use waste

    Savings Follows Use / Waste

    Total electricity use relates directly

    to potential electricity savings

    Reasons for high baseload

    Reasons for High Baseload

    • Time on – 24/7 adds up quickly

    • High demand / power (kW)

    • Poor control strategies

    • Not known to be operating

    • Faulty equipment

    • Intermittent use

    • Hidden loads

    • Lots of people in the household

    PPL Managing CAP Credits Pilot Program, 2006

    What does my bill pay for

    What Does My Bill Pay For

    Source: 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book

    Why address baseload electricity use is rising

    Why Address Baseload?Electricity Use is Rising

    Mark Fortney, 2007, PHRC, PA Home Energy Forum

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Plug Load Energy Use is Increasing

    U.S. delivered residential energy consumption by end use,

    2001, 2004, 2015, and 2030 (million Btu per household)

    Source: Energy Information Administration 2006

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    @ $.09/kWh

    “NRDC Study of Set Top Box and Game Console Power Use”, Peter Ostendorp, Ecos Consulting, May 2007

    Plug load baseload energy use by product category

    Plug Load Baseload Energy Use by Product Category

    2007 Ecos Consulting, “Final Field Research Report”: Share of Plug Load Energy Use by Product Category27

    Power settings mode

    Power Settings & Mode




    • Standby power

    • Phantom load

    • Vampire power

    • Idle power

    Anything with a remote, display, touchpad, or light is using power even when turned “off”

    Active power

    Low power mode

    Indeterminate power


    No power


    Power switched off with strip or other control device

    Game console power use

    Game Console Power Use

    NRDC Study of Set Top Box and Game Console Power Use, May 2007, Peter Ostendorp, Ecos Consulting

    Power supplies a growing component

    Power Supplies: A Growing Component

    Function: convert wall voltage ac to low voltage dc needed to operate today’s digital chips, LED indicators, displays, etc.

    6% to 10% of U.S. electricity flows through the nation’s 3.6 billion power supplies

    • Roughly 1 to 2% of U.S. electricity could be saved by improving power supply efficiency

      • $2.1 to 4.2 billion saved by consumers on their electricity bills

      • Prevent release of 40 to 80 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere

      • Equivalent of taking 2.3 to 4.6 million cars off the road

      • Equivalent of building roughly 4.5 to 9 average sized power plants

    2007 Ecos Consulting, “Final Field Research Report”

    Sample annual kwh of tvs by mode

    Sample Annual kWh of TVs by Mode

    Standby power is similar regardless of TV type or size.

    Newer TVs use a lot more energy than older ones.

    Larger and newer technologies (plasma & rear projection) tend to be used more and are frequently part of a larger entertainment set up.

    Source: Ecos Consulting, “Final Field Research Report”, 2007

    Managing computer power use

    Managing Computer Power Use

    Teach everyone that it makes sense to Turn off monitor if not using for > 5-20 min. and both CPU and monitor if not using for > 30-60 min.

    Use power strips for positive “off” and control of peripherals

    Learn about and teach others about how to Activate Power Management Functions

    Maximize sleep features in the operating system

    Battery charging strategies

    Battery Charging Strategies

    • Chargers can draw 5 to 20 times more power than they can store so...

      • Unplug chargers once battery is charged

      • Use timer to control charge cycle

    • Choose equipment based on charging performance

    Buy efficient chargers

    Use rechargeable batteries

    Use power strips to simplify disconnecting chargers

    Advanced power strip options

    Advanced Power Strip Options




    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Strategies to Control Home Electronic Energy Use

    Unplug stuff you don’t use

    Manage control settings for maximum efficiency

    Turn equipment off when not actively using

    Minimize standby use with power strips, switched outlets, unplugging, etc.

    Purchase less stuff

    Buy the most efficient products possible

    Nighttime from the space shuttle

    Nighttime from the Space Shuttle

    What affects lighting use

    What Affects Lighting Use?

    Number of sockets/bulbs

    Hours of use


    Lumens (brightness)

    Restrictive fixtures / colors

    Task vs general lighting

    For each bulb:

    • Watts x hours = Wh

    • Wh x .001 = kWh

    • kWh x $/kWh = Cost

    Incandescent vs cfls

    Incandescent vs. CFLs

    Lumen comparison

    Lumen Comparison




    Lighting can be a surprising share of baseload-- 15-20%

    Average home has 25 - 43 sockets/bulbs

    CFLs can typically reduce use electricity use by two-thirds or more

    Reduced waste heat saves on air conditioning and improves comfort

    Choosing bulbs

    Choosing Bulbs

    Look for Energy Star logo

    Select the best bulb for the fixture



    Color quality


    Highest lumens per Watt

    Be aware of weight and overheating

    Mercury content/disposal

    Lumen equivalency, not Watts

    Electronic interference

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990


    3 valuable pieces of information

    3 Valuable Pieces of Information




    Use the box as a teaching aid with customers

    Efi bulb finder

    EFI Bulb Finder


    Led lighting

    LED Lighting


    Hard wired fixtures

    Hard-wired Fixtures


    Feedback from the field

    Feedback From the Field


    The light is not bright enough

    The bulb doesn’t fit within fixture

    The bulb takes too long to brighten

    The bulb looks weird

    The bulb was installed without customer acceptance

    Too few were installed

    Disposal and mercury concerns

    So, to assure client satisfaction, choose carefully. There are plenty of excellent CFL’s available.

    Baseload and building science

    Baseload and Building Science

    • One example:

    • Recessed lights are holes in the envelope, most of which leak air

    • Local hot spot enhances exfiltration forces

    • A 13 watt bulb increases air flow through a leaky can by 60% when it’s on, a 50 watt bulb by 170% and a 100 watt bulb by 400%!

    Larry Kinney, Synertech Systems Inc

    Telltale signs in the snow

    Telltale Signs in the Snow

    Larry Kinney, Synertech Systems Inc

    Can light above bed in mbr

    Can Light Above Bed in MBR

    Customer complained about cold air in bedroom

    IR spot radiometer has laser pointer, costs $120

    Reveals non-trivial problem that’s clear to all (including customer)

    IAT = 70F; OAT = 25F; Can = 43F

    Warm air rises, cold air descends!

    Larry Kinney, Synertech Systems Inc

    Ceiling fixture

    Ceiling Fixture

    Includes hard wired CFL, electronic ballast

    Can cover “can” lights; providing better, diffuse light and allows the cans to be air sealed and insulated

    Saves electricity and gas!

    Larry Kinney, Synertech Systems Inc

    Ceiling fixture1

    Ceiling Fixture

    This Instant Pendant Light screws into the recessed light fixture

    Powerlux solution no leaks

    PowerLux Solution—No Leaks

    Ballast is outside of hot can in rim where it stays cool

    CFLs that fit the system are available in 18, 26, 32, and 42 watts, and in color temperatures from 2700 to 4100K

    All have a color rendering index of 82 and 12,000 hour lifetimes

    Initial luminous efficacy ranges from 67 to 76 lm/W

    Larry Kinney, Synertech Systems Inc

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Outcome of Dirty Photocell

    A. Tamasin Sterner, Pure Energy

    Strategies to reduce electric light use

    Strategies To Reduce Electric Light Use

    Use natural light whenever possible

    Turn lights off when not needed – especially anything left on 24/7

    Consider photo and occupancy sensors

    Choose bulbs with highest lumens per watt

    Select lighting to fit each task or situation

    Use a low watt nightlight instead of a main light

    Use light colored lampshades/reflector cans

    Clean bulbs and fixtures for brightest light

    Ge refrigerator circa 1934

    GE Refrigerator circa 1934

    Factors affecting refrigerator energy use

    Factors Affecting Refrigerator Energy Use

    • Size

    • Features

    • Age

    • Ambient air temperature

    • Control settings

      • Thermostats

      • Anti-sweat (energy saver) switch

    • Loading patterns

    • Covered containers

    • Condition of door gaskets

    • Cleanliness of coils

    • Door openings

    Safe and efficient temperatures

    Safe and Efficient Temperatures

    • Desired Temperatures:

    • Fresh food: 36-40°F

    • Freezer: 0-5°F

    • Measure temperatures in the middle of the fresh food and freezer compartments

    • Use standard or digital thermometers. A non-contact thermometer is not suitable for testing the temperatures inside refrigerators.


    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Beer Fridge and Freezer in the Heated Garage is an Expensive Choice

    A. Tamasin Sterner, Pure Energy

    Energy consumption of u s refrigerators

    Energy Consumption of U.S. Refrigerators

    Source: Kinney and Belshe, Refrigerator Replacement in the Weatherization Program: Putting a Chill on Energy Waste.

    E Source, September 2001, page 1.

    Replacement criteria a good return on investment roi

    Replacement CriteriaA good return on investment (ROI)

    Annual Energy Use as determined by:

    • Nameplate information & look up in data base

    • Age

    • Refrigerant R-134a

    • Metering – 2 hours preferred

    • Broken – hardware failure, constant running, insufficient cooling

    Energy star database www energystar gov

    Energy Star Databasewww.energystar.gov

    Refrigerator dataplate input output www energystar gov

    Refrigerator Dataplate &Input – Output www.energystar.gov






    8-Minute Rule

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Calculating Payback

    Fridge/Freezer Removal

    kWh/yr x $/kWh = operating cost/year

    = annual Savings for removing unit

    Replacement Savings

    old op cost – new op cost = savings/yr

    Purchase Price / savings $/yr = simple payback in years

    and “Savings” = tax free income!

    If you meter refrigerators

    If You Meter Refrigerators

    Using the

    Brultech ECM-1200

    Kilowatt hour meters

    kiloWatt Hour Meters

    Refrigerator testing tips

    Refrigerator Testing Tips

    If you interrupt a compressor cycle, wait 8 minutes before plugging it back in

    If door is closed and you still have 40W on the meter, perhaps the door switch is broken or the anti-sweat heater is running

    The usual running range (compressor on) is 200-400 Watts. Newer refrigerators draw about 150 Watts

    Watch for defrost periods (~400 Watts)

    Unplug a refrigerator to clean the coils

    Automatic defrost cycle 14 4 ft 3 ge unit 355 btu for 13 45 minutes

    Automatic Defrost Cycle (14.4 ft3 GE unit, 355 Btu for 13.45 minutes)

    Fresh food compartment

    temperature does not

    respond significantly

    to defrost cycle.

    How much time is required

    for freezer temperature

    recovery after defrost?

    Source: Kinney and Belshe, Refrigerator Replacement in the Weatherization Program: Putting a Chill on Energy Waste.

    E Source, September 2001, page 16.

    Refrigerator use examples

    Refrigerator Use Examples

    Strategies to reduce refrigerator energy use

    Strategies to Reduce Refrigerator Energy Use

    GET RID OF 2nd, 3rd, 4th UNITS

    Set controls to avoid over-cooling

    Keep it as cool as possible—away from stove, heat registers, direct sunlight

    Understand and use the energy saver or moisture control switch if present

    Be sure the door closes tightly after opening

    Keep containers covered

    Allow air to circulate freely around the unit and clean the condenser coils

    Epa watersense

    EPA WaterSense


    Annual end use consumption ranges kwh1

    Annual End Use Consumption Ranges (kWh)

    National averages trued up to PA utility program experience

    Household hot water use

    Household Hot Water Use

    Buildings Energy Data Book: 8.2 Residential Sector Water Consumption September 2008

    Note(s): 1) Based analysis on 10 single family homes in Seattle, WA

    Sources: 2000 Residential End Uses of Hot Water in Single-Family Homes from Flow-Trace Analysis


    What affects hot water use

    What Affects Hot Water Use?


    The number of occupants

    Difference (∆T) between incoming & hot water temperature

    Fixture flow rate

    Appliance type and style

    Water heater tank insulation

    Water heater energy factor (EF)

    Distribution piping design & location

    Climate and localized ambient temperature

    Time of use options

    Thermometers water temperature

    Thermometers: Water Temperature

    Recommended: 120° F

    Too hot water is dangerous

    Too Hot Water is Dangerous

    Children and elderly people are at greater risk for injury

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Water Temperature Setting for Clothes Washer(millions of households)

    • Wash Cycle

    • Hot............................. 6.2

    • Warm............................ 49.7

    • Cold............................ 28.2

    • Rinse Cycle

    • Hot............................. 1.4

    • Warm............................ 16.6

    • Cold............................ 66.1

    • No Washing Machine................ 22.9

    Source: www.projectlaundrylist.org


    Flow gallons per minute gpm

    Flow – Gallons per Minute (gpm)

    OR… a stop watch & a gallon jug. If it fills in less than 2 minutes, it is likely a candidate for replacement!


    2.5 gpm the rule

    Less is better!

    Larry Kinney Photo


    Household water use not only hot

    Household Water Use – Not only Hot


    Strategies to reduce dhw use water waste

    Strategies to Reduce DHW Use & Water Waste

    • Fix all leaks – hot or not

    • Keep thermostat at safe & efficient setting

    • Reduce standby losses

    • Limit use of hot water when doing laundry or cleaning

    • Turn off water when not using

    • Turn thermostat down or off for vacations

    • Manage outdoor water use: car washing, irrigation

    Use of clothes washer millions of u s households

    Use of Clothes Washer(millions of U.S. households)

    Loads of Laundry Washed Each Week

    1 Load or Less.................. 6.8

    2 to 9 Loads.................... 65.1

    10 to 15 Loads.................. 9.6

    More than 15 Loads.............. 2.7



    Use of clothes dryer millions of u s households

    Use of Clothes Dryer(millions of U.S. households)

    Use a Clothes Dryer............... 78.8

    Every Time Clothes are Washed... 63.5

    Some, but not All, Loads........ 12.7

    Used Infrequently............... 2.7

    No Clothes Dryer................28.2



    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Simple Facts

    Dryers are responsible for 6-10% of domestic electricity use.


    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    We Looked: We Saw…

    • High occupancy

    • Anything running 24/7: air handler, lighting

    • Extra lighting

    • Multiple refrigerators and/or freezers

    • Broken appliances

    • Failing motors

    • Malfunctioning equip: well, septic, sump pumps

    • Heavy-duty battery chargers

    • Home entertainment rooms

    • Large/multiple aquariums

    • Off-site but connected loads

    • Waterbed heaters

    • Dehumidifiers set too high

    • Forgotten heaters in crawl spaces, garage, porches

    • Grow lights

    • Ice makers running without water hookup

    • Washers always using hot water

    • Ventilation equipment

    • Pressure tank problems

    • Current leaking to earth: water heater, yard line, well pump

    Example cost of operation

    Example: Cost of Operation

    Ceiling fans, too if on 24/7

    Airhandler fans on 24/7 (@400-600W)

    500W x 24 hours x 365 days x .001kW/W = 4,380 kWh/yr @$.10 = $438 per year

    Radon exhaust fans. EPA IAQ house standards require them in attached garages. (@80-125W)

    100W x 8760 hrs/yr x .001kW/W = 876 kWh/yr @ $.10 = $88 per year

    Baseload waste often reveals as heat

    Baseload Waste Often Reveals as Heat

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    High Number of Occupants

    A. Tamasin Sterner, Pure Energy

    Influencing change

    Influencing Change

    • Identify all possible opportunities to save

    • Put costs on operations and equipment use

    • Recognize what customer cares about and will/won’t do

    • Focus on biggest users

    • Prioritize where you spend your time

    • Present only options that make sense and offer a return on investment

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Priorities: Recommended vs. Worthwhile: Actions














    Michael Blasnik, “Ten Simple Things that Don’t Save Very Much Energy”







    Urban Legends







    Note: Values based somewhat on difficulty in maintaining action

    Baseload is a waste pollution issue

    Baseload is a Waste & Pollution Issue

    Over a five year period, an incandescent bulb uses electricity equal to 10 mg of mercury emissions from a coal-fired plant.

    A CFL may contain 1- 4 mg of mercury, but “uses” only 2.4 mg of emissions from electricity.

    Mercury in a CFL is contained and is recycled with proper disposal*. Once out of the smokestack mercury is uncontrollable.

    Electricity generated from coal-fired plants is only 33% efficient at the plug. The rest of the source energy is “wasted” in generation, transmission, & distribution losses.

    * www.Earth911.org

    U.S. EAP 2002

    Coal fired electricity generation

    Coal-Fired Electricity Generation

    Greenhouse Gases


    Carbon Dioxide





    Mercury (Hg)


    Water waste:

    ½ to 1 gallon per kWh

    Photo: Rana Belshe

    A tamasin sterner pure energy lancaster pennsylvania 717 293 8990

    Feedback Welcome!

    A. Tamasin Sterner


    Rana Belshe



    Thanks to: Larry Kinney


    Rick Karg


    Light fixtures in upscale home

    Light fixtures in upscale home

    Major leakage to attic through fixtures

    Nine 75 Watt incandescent bulbs in kitchen ceiling

    Middle row retrofitted with CFLs: 25W, 20W, 13W

    Fix is 13W CFLs plus metal box 1 ft on a side in attic

    Larry Kinney, Synertech Systems Inc

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