Energy Management, but how?

First published: 11 June 2018 then updated 27 June 2020

    Most countries have energy labeling, but so what!?

    It took me a bill shock event to get me to really think about what to do. Of course managing your energy is good for the pocket but it is also good for the environment. You might ask how can anybody with a Ph.D, in this very field, get caught out like this? The answers is simply based on a few considerations:

    🚦When you do something for a living you don’t necessarily want to have much to do with that field in your spare time, not so?

    🚦When the bills are all within  tens-of-dollars of each other, each month, you tend to “take your eyes off of the ball”, as it were 🤓. I guess I have so many things competing for my energy and attention that I generally do not fix anything until it’s broke. Unfortunately, not monitoring you energy bill already qualifies as “being broke” 🤓

    🚦The “bill-shock” is something that you get days or weeks after something within your house changes, this with respect to you energy consumption. It is what I call an “after the fact” event, this the criticality of having a phone app that warns you when your bill goes over some preset threshold in kWh/day. I now have this but it took this energy cost-spike to start “practising what I preach” 🤓

    I have a Ph.D in strategic management around energy management, so have sacrificed significant free time in the study, research and development of strategic frameworks to help all people save money, become more sustainable by saving on utilities bills.

    Watch my video to see one methodology that may be used:

    PowerWin entering energy uses into a spreadsheet used by the model
    PowerWin Logo

    The Bill shock! post describes how you can monitor your bill and calculate your daily energy consumption in kWh.

    At a very fundamental level just knowing that each kWh costs a certain number of cents and being aware of how many cents you are using per day, is a very good start. In Australia, in Victoria, smart meters have been mandated for a while so to get that daily energy consumption from your retailer is really easy. In NSW, where I live, it is only mandated for new builds.

    As explained in my Bill Shock! post, I rent the property that I live at so I couldn’t make a permanent installation. I did get owner permission to make a little hole in the distribution panel for the antenna of my smart meter, so that it could reach my Wifi router.

    I monitor the following trend line, especially when running my solar heating and filtration system for the pool (wattsC(W)) or the reverse cycle air-conditioning for heating in winter. The total house load profile including the pool system is labelled wattsA(W), this on the y-axis of that chart. This keeps me, well enough, informed as to my costs on a real-time basis. In my case every kWh represents a 25c ‘assualt’ on my wallet.

    “Some have studied their fields over countless years, thus you can trust them more than those trying to make a quick sale…”

    Hootie the animatronic owl

    3 June 2018 and updated 27 June 2020

    Conceived as a scarecrow, albeit in owl and not human form, Hootie changes randomly between pre-recorded, real owl calls, flapping its wing tips and turning its head which holds a 10mW laser beam. Birds hate the laser beam. Watch the video, which shows birds (actually flying rats) offered yummy food and yet even the most brazen of them scatters when the head turns and they are exposed to his imposing laser beam. Its main use is to keep other birds from defecating on garden furniture (what my wife originally wanted it for) around homes or more significantly, preventing them from pooping on PV solar panels thereby shading them from the sun and reducing the energy that they produce. I keep seeing other applications like keeping seagulls off of boats.

    Boat owners could benefit from owning a Hootie to keep seagulls off of their canvas biminis.

    I had a glitch with Hootie because I didn’t keep up with technology in power converters. I used the 7805 voltage regulator and yet the cost of buck converters have dropped in price, a far superior way to derive the 5V from the 12V is to use the LM2596S buck converter. The 7805 degraded over time until it was struggling to produce the required current to charge the battery of the powered speaker and supply the Bluno controller with Bluetooth. I rewired the system and tested Hootie from the phone APP as follows:

    Rewiring with bigger wires
    The APP used to test the code running on Hootie via bluetooth
    The updated LM2569S

    The technology from these folks was developed long after my first incarnation of Hootie, perhaps that got their idea from me. I like to think so 😁

    Good on them for commercializing what I discovered by trail-and-error:

    AVIX Autonomic the automated laser bird repellent