Rainy Solar Tour

Rainy Solar TourToday is the ASES National Solar Tour and we are one of the houses featured on the Bloomington Solar Tour but wouldn’t you know it, after an unbelievably dry summer and fall, today it is raining.  (The last time it rained was during the girl scout campout I organized.  I seem to have a gift.)  Our solar furnace is not very impressive on cloudy days and I think people are staying indoors for fear they might melt but maybe it’s just was well we have a quiet weekend after a busy week.

The Simply Living Fair went well and people seemed to enjoy Will’s talk about our efforts to get down to a 90 kilowatt-hour month (we managed it in June but are thinking 120 kilowatt-hours is a more reasonable target in the fall).  The green living tour to our house and two other green buildings was fun despite having a small crowd of about eight.  In general, everyone who came was happy; I just wish more people had come.  Maybe next year.

Will tests his IR thermometer on the dogOn Monday, Will got a new toy in the mail.  It’s an infrared thermometer and it looks a lot like a price scanner or a space age neuron gun.  You point it at an object, pull the trigger, and it tells you what temperature it is.  Will has had hours of fun testing the temperature of various surfaces around our home.  I’m not quite as entertained but I do appreciate that it will help us identify heat leaks in our ductwork, walls, windows, and attic access panels (Will measured a 20 degree difference between the ceiling in the main room and the access panel to the attic – pretty alarming).

Moving the ShedYesterday we sold our little playhouse shed, which meant we got to watch a guy come and load it on a special kind of tow truck to take it away.  I still feel slightly guilty for not figuring out a way to put it to use but it had been sitting empty for two years so it was time to let go.  The dog is still a little confused as to what happened but we figure she’ll lose interest now that there are no longer mice and skunks and other critters hiding out underneath.  (We thought she had excavated some major tunnels under the shed and were expecting a sort of underground labyrinth to be revealed but apparently she only dug out the minimum needed to squeeze her body under the boards.)

Next week we leave on the train to New Mexico for a week, which will hopefully be a nice fall break.  It will be good to see family, even if the occasion for gathering is a memorial service for Will’s grandmother.  We are looking forward to exploring a new train route and getting a change of scenery for a little while, although I hope the leaves don’t all turn colors and fall off before we get back!

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    susie said,

    October 5, 2010 @ 10:39 am

    Ooooo – an infrared thermometer – we need to borrow it! I think we need more insulation, it would be good to see where the hot/cold spots are. Of course, once you find them then you have to figure out what if anything to do about it…

  2. 2

    andy said,

    October 23, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

    infrared thermometers and kill-a-watt devices are things we should never need to buy. I talked with several libraries before about a program to lend out these types of things, but none were interested. It would be silly for everyone interested to buy these, since they are generally only used for a few weeks to find some answers and then go mostly unused after that. There is finally a group here that has a stash of 8 or so kill-a-watts up for borrowing.

  3. 3

    Maggie said,

    October 24, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    Andy – I would love to see a lending library of energy management tools but we actually enjoy owning ours. We have dreams of starting our own energy consulting firm and have been able to lend our tools to friends and family, as well as frequently finding new things to monitor in our own home. I think Will is going to be happily measuring the temperature of everything in our house for months to come…

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