Author Topic: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment  (Read 7266 times)

Gimesalot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« on: August 26, 2014, 09:26:31 AM »
Converation with my friend:

Friend:  "My apartment is so energy efficient.  My electric bill is only $80 a month, and that's running the A/C all the time!"
Me:  "Cool!"

Me Secretly:  Your apartment is 300 square feet.  We cool our 1000 square foot house for $60 a month.  Yes, my thermostat is set at 82 degrees, but since I've become acustomed, I get cold if its 80 or below.

I have learned that my friends are not intrested at all in anything I have to say about money, finances, credit, etc.  I think they don't like that I have a lot more money than them, but I live even more frugal than they do.  They think I am strange.

PS.  I told my husband about this converstation, and his response was, "Fuck Mother Earth!  I ain't turning my A/C up for shit!"

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4280
  • Age: 29
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 09:34:32 AM »
$80/month for 300 square feet?  I once cooled a 500 square foot house with lousy insulation down to 65F with a literally on-24/7 crappy inefficient window unit (because we were stupid) for a summer for $60-115/month.  I do not understand.

AH013

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 01:50:18 PM »
You are forgetting he is probably "green", which means he pays the electric utility 2x the market rate for them to certify that the electrons running into his house were made by PV or wind or whatever....because, you know...they control what electricity in the lines goes where, and wouldn't otherwise have solar or wind energy coursing through the power lines otherwise...

Gimesalot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 02:46:54 PM »
Nope, that's not the "green" price.  I don't even think we have that option here. 


The worst part is that $80 was for June.  August and September are so much hotter.  Even set at 82, our A/C runs about 15 minutes every hour, from around 7 am to 11 pm.

slugline

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1179
  • Location: Houston, TX USA
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 02:53:45 PM »
You are forgetting he is probably "green", which means he pays the electric utility 2x the market rate for them to certify that the electrons running into his house were made by PV or wind or whatever....because, you know...they control what electricity in the lines goes where, and wouldn't otherwise have solar or wind energy coursing through the power lines otherwise...

Actually, they may not otherwise. I don't know how other states handle this, but in Texas when consumers pay the extra cost for "green" power, that money is supposed to pay for "green" power on the generation side. While it's true that the electrons in the transmission lines are all identical, customers are voting with their dollars concerning the state's portfolio of power generation.

larmando

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
  • Location: Germany
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 03:26:45 PM »
In a northern european nation at some point the green company was actually cheaper than the regular one, so switching to them saved you money...

Donovan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 09:47:16 AM »
You are forgetting he is probably "green", which means he pays the electric utility 2x the market rate for them to certify that the electrons running into his house were made by PV or wind or whatever....because, you know...they control what electricity in the lines goes where, and wouldn't otherwise have solar or wind energy coursing through the power lines otherwise...

Actually, they may not otherwise. I don't know how other states handle this, but in Texas when consumers pay the extra cost for "green" power, that money is supposed to pay for "green" power on the generation side. While it's true that the electrons in the transmission lines are all identical, customers are voting with their dollars concerning the state's portfolio of power generation.

Similar here in Indiana. I actually recently got a little announcement from the power company detailing exactly how the green initiatives work, where the sites the money go to are, and what they produce.  It's not actually about making sure that all of the power that comes into your home come from 'green' sources initially, but that the power company is working to improve the output of green energy that they have access to as a whole.

Also, I only pay ~5% more for the green option, not 100%. YMMV.

RichLife

  • Guest
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 11:41:58 AM »
In a northern european nation at some point the green company was actually cheaper than the regular one, so switching to them saved you money...

Currently the case here in Belgium. In fact it is becoming hard to find non-green power. I can only approve of the cheapest choice also being the best choice for the environment.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3426
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 08:54:12 PM »
Converation with my friend:

Friend:  "My apartment is so energy efficient.  My electric bill is only $80 a month, and that's running the A/C all the time!"
Me:  "Cool!"

Me Secretly:  Your apartment is 300 square feet.  We cool our 1000 square foot house for $60 a month.  Yes, my thermostat is set at 82 degrees, but since I've become acustomed, I get cold if its 80 or below.

I have learned that my friends are not intrested at all in anything I have to say about money, finances, credit, etc.  I think they don't like that I have a lot more money than them, but I live even more frugal than they do.  They think I am strange.

PS.  I told my husband about this converstation, and his response was, "Fuck Mother Earth!  I ain't turning my A/C up for shit!"

That's an insane power bill for a tiny apartment.  Our house is clownishly large and July's bill was $130, and we were all fancy and kept it at 73 at night.  I remember the apartment-dwelling days of $15 power bills...

Ashyukun

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 270
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2014, 10:51:32 AM »
That is pretty ridiculous... our house is likely larger than most people around here's (~2400sqft) and the highest electric bill we've had even with a pretty hot summer has been about $60 with keeping the temp 73-75.

When we were working on selling my previous house, we for a month (was supposed to be longer, but the house sold :P ) had some of my wife's friends rent the house since they needed a short-term place to live. We had decided to include the utilities in the rent so it was easier to have them leave and were SHOCKED at the gas bill when it arrived. I had figured on the bill being about in line with what it had been when I had been living there- it was nearly twice that. As we found out they apparently set the thermostat at over 80(!!) and didn't bother with using the programmable thermostat at all despite the fact they both worked a consistent schedule and could have had the heater set a lot lower for about 10 hours each day when they weren't there.

nordlead

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 146
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2014, 12:58:09 PM »
That is pretty ridiculous... our house is likely larger than most people around here's (~2400sqft) and the highest electric bill we've had even with a pretty hot summer has been about $60 with keeping the temp 73-75.

When we were working on selling my previous house, we for a month (was supposed to be longer, but the house sold :P ) had some of my wife's friends rent the house since they needed a short-term place to live. We had decided to include the utilities in the rent so it was easier to have them leave and were SHOCKED at the gas bill when it arrived. I had figured on the bill being about in line with what it had been when I had been living there- it was nearly twice that. As we found out they apparently set the thermostat at over 80(!!) and didn't bother with using the programmable thermostat at all despite the fact they both worked a consistent schedule and could have had the heater set a lot lower for about 10 hours each day when they weren't there.

$60 for a hot summer with the AC temps at 73-75 means you must have an efficient house and cheap energy prices. In my 2ksqft house that would cost upward of $150 in NY with our expensive rates. My house probably needs some efficiency upgrades though (attic and insulating the chimney would probably be the two easiest and biggest payouts). Last bill (August month mostly) we were away for a 9 days and the AC has pretty much been off since we got back and the bill is still ~$90 for electric delivery and service.

As for the tenant, I'm not surprised. Most people I know who don't have to foot the utility bill keep the temperatures at extremes since "they don't have to pay for it".

dorothyc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 249
  • Age: 61
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 02:00:24 PM »
As we found out they apparently set the thermostat at over 80(!!) and didn't bother with using the programmable thermostat at all despite the fact they both worked a consistent schedule and could have had the heater set a lot lower for about 10 hours each day when they weren't there.

When I first read that I thought 80 degrees seems frugal, but then I realized you meant heating, not cooling!

skunkfunk

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1057
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Oklahoma City
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 03:07:59 PM »
You are forgetting he is probably "green", which means he pays the electric utility 2x the market rate for them to certify that the electrons running into his house were made by PV or wind or whatever....because, you know...they control what electricity in the lines goes where, and wouldn't otherwise have solar or wind energy coursing through the power lines otherwise...

Not to be an asshole, but to be an asshole, the electrons don't really move. They just kinda oscillate in the line, drifting very very slowly relative to the current if they drift at all.

You're paying for the electric potential, not the electrons.

The Hamster

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 203
  • Location: Perth WA
  • Vivere intus vestri mediis
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 05:57:44 PM »
Am I the only person left on earth who does not have aircon or heating in my house?  Summer temps in Perth are regularly over 35 degrees celcius for about 6 months of the year and I have a wobbly pedestal fan in my lounge room, and another in my bedroom which suits me just fine.  Our electricity prices are obscene though - the only things that run on electricity in my house is the lights, fridge, freezer and TV/computer which are always turned off when not in use (well not the fridge/freezer of course), plus I am only at home for half of each month and I still pay $50 per month!  The "average" electricity bill amongst people I know is around $550-$600 for two months.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4939
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2014, 04:33:50 AM »
Am I the only person left on earth who does not have aircon or heating in my house?  Summer temps in Perth are regularly over 35 degrees celcius for about 6 months of the year and I have a wobbly pedestal fan in my lounge room, and another in my bedroom which suits me just fine.  Our electricity prices are obscene though - the only things that run on electricity in my house is the lights, fridge, freezer and TV/computer which are always turned off when not in use (well not the fridge/freezer of course), plus I am only at home for half of each month and I still pay $50 per month!  The "average" electricity bill amongst people I know is around $550-$600 for two months.


We don't have or want central heat and air, but for most houses here, in winter no heat means frozen pipes (not for us since we're earth-sheltered). For most, including us, no AC or other method of dehumidifying in summer means mold grows on the walls. That's probably worse with the earth-sheltering, actually, but we had the same problem in the house we rented before,

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2146
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2014, 09:39:48 AM »
Quote
Summer temps in Perth are regularly over 35 degrees celcius for about 6 months of the year

Does it drop down at night? And what are the humidity levels? We live in the American Midwest where the humidity levels are sky high and it rarely drops below 75-80 degrees at night during heat waves. We could technically live w/o A/C, but I wouldn't want to do anything all day I would be so lethargic. Plus it is true that mold would be the likely result. It doesn't help that we have a historic brick on plaster home with no insulation.

I loved the weather in Jerusalem when I lived there for six weeks. It would get up into the high 90s or above during the day but would drop into the 50s at night. That makes it easier to thrive w/o A/C.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2014, 10:54:12 AM »
We live in the American Midwest where the humidity levels are sky high and it rarely drops below 75-80 degrees at night during heat waves. We could technically live w/o A/C, but I wouldn't want to do anything all day I would be so lethargic. Plus it is true that mold would be the likely result. It doesn't help that we have a historic brick on plaster home with no insulation.

On the contrary, the fact that your home is historic and without insulation means it was designed to survive without AC without growing mold.

"Craftsman" houses (and other styles) built before WWII tend to have high ceilings, lots of windows, deep porches and overhangs and no insulation. Why? Because they were designed so that when it got hot, you opened the windows and let the breeze blow through (or even sat out on the porch instead of inside). The lack of insulation allowed the house to breathe, preventing mold. If you try to use AC in one of these houses, you'll be really unhappy when you see your electric bill.

"Modern" ranch or split-level houses built in the 50s-80s tend to have low ceilings, fewer (or inoperable) windows, few porches or overhangs and insulation (albeit insufficient by today's standards). Why? Because they were designed for air conditioning. If you try to go without AC in one of these houses, not only will it be very uncomfortable, humidity will build up and cause mold.

Ashyukun

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 270
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2014, 11:24:41 AM »
$60 for a hot summer with the AC temps at 73-75 means you must have an efficient house and cheap energy prices. In my 2ksqft house that would cost upward of $150 in NY with our expensive rates. My house probably needs some efficiency upgrades though (attic and insulating the chimney would probably be the two easiest and biggest payouts). Last bill (August month mostly) we were away for a 9 days and the AC has pretty much been off since we got back and the bill is still ~$90 for electric delivery and service.

As for the tenant, I'm not surprised. Most people I know who don't have to foot the utility bill keep the temperatures at extremes since "they don't have to pay for it".
The house should be reasonably efficient- I have no idea about the insulation in the walls, but I blew in cellulose after we moved in a few months ago because there was very little in either attic (tri-level house). We DO have pretty cheap electricity here in KY- I know when I looked into it the possibility of getting PV panels for the house a ways back that most of the calculators basically said it would never be remotely worth it here as long as the rates were so low (and because of the low rates- and the influence of the coal companies in government- there's little in the way of incentives either).

Yeah, I wasn't surprised that the bills were higher (and I'd built that into what I set the rent at) it was just HOW much higher they were that shocked me. I know that when I was younger and in an apartment where I paid for the gas for heating but didn't pay for electricity (and the apartment was part of an old house with VERY little insulation...) that I would keep the head down fairly low and use electric space heaters in the room I was using to stay comfortable. :P

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2146
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2014, 11:53:38 AM »
Quote
"Craftsman" houses (and other styles) built before WWII tend to have high ceilings, lots of windows, deep porches and overhangs and no insulation. Why? Because they were designed so that when it got hot, you opened the windows and let the breeze blow through (or even sat out on the porch instead of inside). The lack of insulation allowed the house to breathe, preventing mold. If you try to use AC in one of these houses, you'll be really unhappy when you see your electric bill.

Interesting. Don't I know it about the A/C bill in the summer! Also, trying to get a 1920s home to stop breathing is indeed a challenge. But to push you a bit - want to know why they built these homes with nice covered porches and sleeping porches? Because it was so miserable indoors you had to escape. But point taken that my mold argument probably doesn't work for my house. :)

I actually find the loss of heat in the winters much worse than the stifling summers. The brick bakes in the summer, but our plaster walls aren't too hot. In the winter, however, the outer walls are terribly cold.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2014, 12:05:43 PM »
But to push you a bit - want to know why they built these homes with nice covered porches and sleeping porches? Because it was so miserable indoors you had to escape.

Well, yes and no. My mom, who grew up in Atlanta in the 50s and 60s, has stories about going to the movie theater in the summer because that was the only place around with air conditioning, and how wonderful it was. On the other hand, though, it was also true that everybody got acclimated to the heat (because they didn't have a choice about it), so it wasn't as bad for them as it is for people like you (who are used to AC) now.

I've been trying to minimize AC use in my 1948 (renovated with insulation) house in Atlanta, and through the magic of acclimation I've gotten to the point where it doesn't really start getting uncomfortable until it hits 84F or so (measured inside). If my house were more Craftsman-ish I think I could manage to get through the summer without AC.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2946
  • Age: 61
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2014, 12:07:07 PM »
I would suggest a home energy audit for anyone reading this thread.  In many locals they are free or low cost.  You can also do an on line audit through Touchstar Energy site.  I think zero is the number most of us should strive for in the home energy realm. 

AC is very optional virtually everywhere in the US.   I went an entire summer in Missouri with lots of 100 degree days and 90 percent humidity with no house or car AC.  We slept in the basement with the fan on.   I've become a wussass and will shortly return to that mode.   

Winters are a bit tougher.  So I think that I will convert to the 59 degrees theory and see how that works this winter. 

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2146
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Friend's "Energy Efficient" Apartment
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2014, 12:54:38 PM »
Quote
On the other hand, though, it was also true that everybody got acclimated to the heat (because they didn't have a choice about it), so it wasn't as bad for them as it is for people like you (who are used to AC) now.

I agree to some extent, and you won't get any disagreement from me that the differential between inside and outside has made our bodies not react well to heat anymore. But people are able to be much more productive now since the advent of widespread air conditioning. On a hot summer day, I doubt there was that much work going on in offices prior to air conditioning. Plus, there are a lot more electronics in your everyday home or office that increase the temperature.

Our air runs fairly frequently, and in this hot wave Missouri is currently experiencing, we are lucky to get our house down to 79. It usually stays around 80.

I just don't understand how you think that air flow will magically make your home cooler. If the temperature outside is 98 degrees like it has been this past week, it makes sense to trap the small amount of 70 degree nighttime air that you managed to bring in inside your home. Leaving the windows open with that heat is a loosing proposition. Plus, many of these homes sadly don't get adequate cross breezes. Our homes are rather close together, and I have to use a window fan to bring anything in at all. We do our best to minimize our use of A/C, but I'm holding a infant (a.k.a. a heater) for large portions of the day and unabashedly use A/C to make myself and him more comfortable.

If I worked outside the home all day, I might be more inclined to attempt to live without air conditioning. I'll save that for another stage of life perhaps. I do like a challenge.