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Home Energy July August 2014 : Page 3

LETTERS 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702 (510)524-5405 contact@homeenergy.org www.homeenergy.org ________________ DO THERMOSTATS NOW RULE? Household feedback, monitoring, and control devices have always been problematic because of the behavior of users. Meier is correct about smart meters; utilities, state regulators, and privacy advocates have stymied the potential benefi ts and possibilities of this investment, fos-tering a public misunderstanding and eventual complacency that the industry may not be able to recover (see “A Shift in Energy Information’s Center of Gravity?” Mar/Apr ’14, p. 2). Companies, especially Google, thankfully continue to try new methods and pathways that will engage all of us. I'm afraid, however, that any device—thermostat included— will have to be a whole lot more user-friendly. I've always envisioned that household energy use could be displayed as prominently as a wall clock in the home and the information provided used as often. Todd Hoener The signifi cant difference between smart meter data and thermostat data, however, is that while meter data refl ect 100% of electric con-sumption, t-stat data generally refl ect mostly fossil fuel consumption for thermal space heating (other than if A/C is in use and managed by the t-stat). So the data collected are in reality quite different. online comment Senior Executive Editor Executive Editor Editor Assistant Editor Design & Production Manager Design Associate Technical Editors Alan Meier Iain Walker Jim Gunshinan Macie Melendez Kate Henke Leanne Maxwell Marcus Bianchi Steve Greenberg Courtney Moriarta Chris Stratton Larry Weingarten Contributing Editor Steve Mann Copyeditor Irene Elmer Writers This Issue Heshmat A. Aglan, Elizabeth Grant, Amanda Hatherly, Steve Mann, Macie Melendez, Michael Uniacke, J West, Tom White Publisher Office & Advertising Manager Fulfillment Manager Controller Sales & Marketing Associate O ffice Assistant Pro bono Legal Services Tom White Maggie Forti Alana Shindler Jan Elkington Michael Goldstein Brijauanae Bandy Nixon Peabody LLP, Attorneys at Law online comment Advertising Home Energy requires all advertisers to provide documentation to support any claims of product effi ciency and performance contained in ads. We welcome companies involved in residential conservation to join this select group. It includes manufacturers of conservation materials, tools, instrumentation, computer software, and effi cient appliances, and providers of technical services, training, and labor. For advertising rates, contact: Maggie Forti, Tel: (510)524-5405 ext. 111, e-mail: mmforti@homeenergy.org. Home Energy is published by Energy Auditor & Retrofi tter, Incorporated President, Alan Meier Executive Director, Tom White Anita Kelman WATERBEDS REVISITED I recently came across your reference to waterbeds as energy hogs (see “Thirty Years of Waterbeds and Home Energy Magazine,” Jan/ Feb ’14, p. 2). I actually do still have a waterbed, but it has never had a heater. Why? I have two reasons. 1. It’s the type with water-fi lled tubes partially fi lled with foam. So there is less water (and thus, signifi cantly less weight), and it is contained in a trough of water-fi lled tubes surrounded by insula-tion on the sides and base. 2. It has an insulated pad on top as part of the design. It isn't even obvious that it is a waterbed unless one looks under the insu-lated box pad that fi ts like a box lid over the trough container. The tubes limit the wave action. Over the years, the foam topper wore out and needed replacement. Occasionally, water needs to be added to the tubes (not often, thank goodness, because the process is a bit unwieldy). Fortunately, the tubes have never leaked, though if they did, there would be water in the trough, so there would be some warning. This particular style of waterbed was defi nitely not inexpensive. However, there were health benefi ts for sleeping on water, fl oating, as it were. There were not only energy use concerns but also health concerns about using electric waterbed heaters and, for that matter, electric blankets. So since I could easily avoid using both, I did. Christina B. Farnsworth via e-mail Board of Directors Francis Babineau David Canny Robert Knight Joseph Kuonen Maureen Mahle Alan Meier Bill Parlapiano III Bill Spohn Iain Walker David Brown Chris Dorsi Laurel Elam Doug Garrett Theresa Gilbride Ron Judkoff Rick Karg Patricia Plympton John Porterfi eld A. Tamasin Sterner Greg Thomas Linda Wigington Edward Wyatt Larry Zarker Johns Manville Pacifi c Gas & Electric Bevilacqua-Knight, Incorporated CLEAResult Steven Winter Associates Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Energy Response Corps TruTech Tools Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Inspector Tools Habitat X RESNET Building Performance & Comfort, Inc. Pacifi c Northwest National Laboratory National Renewable Energy Laboratory Residential Energy Dynamics, LLC Navigant eZing, Inc. Pure Energy Coach, LLC Performance Systems Development Linda M. Wigington Associates Energy & Materials Consultant Building Performance Institute Editorial Advisory Board Home Energy (ISSN 0896-9442) is a bimonthly publication of Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. EA&R is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the dissemination of objective information on residential energy conservation. Yearly subscription rate: $85 for six issues. Canada and other foreign countries U.S. $100, payable by U.S. money order only. Subscribe on our web site at www.homeenergy. org. Periodical postage paid at Berkeley, California, and additional mailing office. postmaster: Send address changes to Home Energy, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. Return undeliverable Canada addresses to: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, e-mail: returnsIL@imex.pb.com. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, gratefully accepts contributions from institutions and firms interested in promoting energy conservation. © Copyright 2014, Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, grants authorization to photocopy material from Home Energy for internal or personal use under circumstances that do not violate the fair use provisions of the copyright act. For permission to reprint, write to the above address. Printed on recycled paper Continued on p. 5 www. homeenergy.org 3

LETTERS

DO THERMOSTATS NOW RULE?
Household feedback, monitoring, and control devices have always been problematic because of the behavior of users. Meier is correct about smart meters; utilities, state regulators, and privacy advocates have stymied the potential benefits and possibilities of this investment, fostering a public misunderstanding and eventual complacency that the industry may not be able to recover (see “A Shift in Energy Information’s Center of Gravity?” Mar/Apr ’14, p. 2). Companies, especially Google, thankfully continue to try new methods and pathways that will engage all of us. I'm afraid, however, that any device—thermostat included— will have to be a whole lot more user-friendly. I've always envisioned that household energy use could be displayed as prominently as a wall clock in the home and the information provided used as often.
Todd Hoener online comment

The significant difference between smart meter data and thermostat data, however, is that while meter data reflect 100% of electric consumption, t-stat data generally reflect mostly fossil fuel consumption for thermal space heating (other than if A/C is in use and managed by the t-stat). So the data collected are in reality quite different.
Anita Kelman online comment

WATERBEDS REVISITED
I recently came across your reference to waterbeds as energy hogs (see “Thirty Years of Waterbeds and Home Energy Magazine,” Jan/ Feb ’14, p. 2).

I actually do still have a waterbed, but it has never had a heater. Why? I have two reasons.

1. It’s the type with water-filled tubes partially filled with foam. So there is less water (and thus, significantly less weight), and it is contained in a trough of water-filled tubes surrounded by insulation on the sides and base.
2. It has an insulated pad on top as part of the design. It isn't even obvious that it is a waterbed unless one looks under the insulated box pad that fits like a box lid over the trough container. The tubes limit the wave action.

Over the years, the foam topper wore out and needed replacement. Occasionally, water needs to be added to the tubes (not often, thank goodness, because the process is a bit unwieldy). Fortunately, the tubes have never leaked, though if they did, there would be water in the trough, so there would be some warning.

This particular style of waterbed was definitely not inexpensive. However, there were health benefits for sleeping on water, floating, as it were.

There were not only energy use concerns but also health concerns about using electric waterbed heaters and, for that matter, electric blankets. So since I could easily avoid using both, I did.
Christina B. Farnsworth via e-mail

Read the full article at http://omagdigital.com/article/LETTERS/1735305/213502/article.html.

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