thermostat imageThis weekend we moved into our new house in Castlegar, and we love it. One of our aims is to make the house as comfortable as possible in all seasons and to do that in as environmnetally friendly a manner as possible. Now don’t get me wrong, the house is totally comfortable and livable as it is, but we do want to be able to reduce our heating bill, and as we don’t intend having air conditioning, we’d like to employ as much additional passive solar technology as possible.

It’s still cool here during the nights, (last night it got down to -10) so we are pretty conscious of economically maintaining a comfortable temperature, even though I am enjoying the hot tub!

I recently wrote about greening an existing house, and a great resource for ideas here, and wanted to expand on this idea with a bit of self experimentation.

My first step over the weekend was to install a digital thermostat. The existing thermostat was a mercury switch type, and I wanted control! So a couple of weeks ago, before we moved in, I got a digital one half price at Canadian Tire (a Noma 5+1+1 thermostat, down to $30). It took about half an hour to install and program up. You could tell the difference instantly, well ok, not instantly, but you get the drift. Waking up the next morning after a good cool night’s sleep to a warming house was a treat after living in a basement suite under someone else’s heat control!

We’ve got a whole lot of other ideas for performance improvements, it would be interesting to get some funding for a bit of research into the use of small scale cost effective energy saving and comfort improving technologies. For the thermostat, it would be interesting to run a data logger with indoor and outdoor thermometers and measure the run time, and btu’s of the furnace.

As we installed more energy saving ideas, it would be good to have a record of where we had come from and the improvements that we’ve gained.

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Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

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