A Net Zero Energy Year : April 2011


Energy use, MCNZH, April 2011. Negative numbers represent export of electricity.

Our Net Zero Energy Year finally turned around in April. We stopped heating the house pretty much as of March 31, and it’s been generally sunny ever since.

Here are the numbers for Oct 18, 2010 – April 30, 2011 (all units in kWh of electricity):

Consumption: 7643

Production: 2785

Net Consumption: –4858

We’re in the hole overall, but April was a net positive month. We exported 550 kWh to the grid!

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Yay for April! Did you get the additional TED5000 that I said I'd help with?

We never did Shafraaz. Hey, I want to come and see your place soon. That's the problem with being on the eco-solar home tour - you never get to see anyone else's place!

Conrad: I am VERY impressed with your house and blog. I am an old Edmonton guy. Lived in a 1946 house at 10726-58 Ave for 20 odd years. No insulation at all in ceiling for about 15 years! Terrible cold. The house would bang and creak at -40C as the water in the studs froze! The 'good old days'. No, thanks!
I now live in South Africa, 35*S and its just the opposite here. Gets to +42C in January! Like being in an oven. Big problem is cooling here. Brick houses and no insulation at all. You still cook and then freeze in winter. But lots of sun for 350 days. Very little solar really. Such huge potential. I am designing a small house for my family. Stage one is 18.5m2. Yes, tiny. Stage two is about 50m2. Main need is loads of mass and roof insulation as you say. I know Peter from SESCI 30 years ago. Great guy. Say hi. The wood stove is so much better for that last 10% and looks and feels great. The key is really dry wood. Regards, Baron Fowler, Montagu, South Africa

Thanks Baron! Great to hear from you. Your project (and location) sounds fascinating.

I'll pass on your regards to Peter.


Hi Conrad,

I was curious if you have any recent updates. Some specific things I have been wondering about:
1. Net metering sounds great to small producers, but how does it work in practice? On my own utility bill I don't pay that much for gas and electricity anymore after insulating and weather proofing, but all the additional fixed charges I'm nickeled and dimed for add up to nearly $100 per month. I was afraid that while net metering sounds like one should pay zero if one on the average produces as much as one consumes, I would not be surprised if fixed and variable network charges apply anyway. (For example does one first pay the variable transmission fee for sat 100kWh, then if during a sunny period one feeds 100kWh back one pays the transmission fee again?

2. You mentioned that the solar heated warm water didn;t live up to its expectations. Any update on that? Know others that have better success?


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