Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two Xcel energy residential programs for improving energy efficiency

Xcel Energy operates in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Texas.

Home Energy Squad: Optimize your home energy use with a visit from the Home Energy Squad.  For $70 they will install door flashing for two doors, optimize the hot water heater.  Install aerators on the bathroom and kitchen sink.  Install energy efficient shower heads and install compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. (value of $200) 

I think all except the last one seem like a good idea.  The light quality from the CFL bulbs is not as good as the incandescent bulbs. I have installed the CFL bulbs in the basement and garage of my home as the quality of light in those locations is not as important. They do not work as well for reading.

For an additional fee the Home Energy squad will use LED instead of the compact fluorescent bulbs.   LED bulbs save money over the long run but have a higher upfront capital cost. 

Savers Switch: 15% off summer cooling.  Xcel installs a device to intermittently shut off the AC unit for approx. 20 minutes at a time during peak energy usage during the summer.  It does not shut off the fan in the house as air continues to circulate.  Typical hours of operation 2pm to 7pm.  I'm giving this a try this summer and will offer a critique in the fall.  I also plan to log the temperatures and %RH for some of the time.

MN CERT joins home energy squad - 7 min.
Xcel's savers switch in Minnesota

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Peres - Meat Spoilage Detector

Peres provides a blue tooth compatible detector for meat freshness.  The Lithuanian based start up is seeking funding to convert prototypes into working products.  The target price is $100.  USA today has posted a video and further information about the rotten meat detector.

Similar devices with detection for different chemicals could be used for finding microbial VOC's or modulating ventilation systems in smart labs.

Peres - Fresh meat detector - 3 min. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

National Center for Healthy Housing -APHA May 2014

The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) in cooperation with the American Public Health Association has issued a pdf of the National Healthy Housing Standard dated May, 2014.

The 65 page standard covers structural safety issues along with safety, thermal comfort and chemical agents.

Section II covers the annotated standards for the same sections.   The document is text heavy but well referenced.

Exterior remediation for water damage - N. Carlson

Home Safe Home with Rebecca Morley from NCHH - 7min.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mucormycosis liked to five pediatric patient deaths

Rebecca Catalanello from Nola.com reports on April 16, 2014 that the CDC linked contaminated linens from TLC services in New Orleans to the outbreak of Mucormycosis that resulted in five pediatric patient deaths at New Orleans Children Hospital.  The deaths occurred over an 11 month period ending in July of 2009.

This is a link to further information about Mucor spp.  one of the possible organisms causing mucormycosis.

Mucor spp. 400x photomicrograph - N. Carlson