Category Archives: Uncategorized

Energy consumption and production

I’ve been sitting this evening, reflecting on energy and the Dunn household. Since our solar system went live on April 17, it’s produced 2.28 megawatt hours of power (equivalent to 2,280 pounds of coal!). The potential production was probably 200-400 kWh more, as we don’t have net metering and the Powerwall was not installed until early July. Our consumption during this same period was 6.86 megawatt hours, so the solar system produced a third of the power used by the house. However, another consideration is that our all-electric car, a Chevy Bolt, used 659 kWh from home charging (about 3,000 miles of driving) during the measurement period. That’s less than normal, as we were traveling for several weeks during this period. If you factor this out, the solar covered about 37% of the other household consumption during a hot summer with the three air conditioning units running many hours per day. During the next 3 months, I expect the solar percentage to increase substantially as the air conditioning load drops, before heating season begins in December (hey, it’s usually mild here).

Whether you reduce your power consumption by changing to LED bulbs, installing new windows, doors, HVAC systems, or by generating some of the power you need, we can all help to reduce fossil fuel usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is real, and together we can make a difference!

2017 EV sales continue to rise

Saw a good statistical summary of electric vehicle (EV) sales for 2017. Nearly 200,000 battery electric and plug in hybrid vehicles were sold in the US in 2017, up by 26% from 2016, and 1.6% of US sales in December. Estimates are that we’ll see sales of 300,000 in 2018, depending on the Tesla Model 3 rampup, and vehicles like the new Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Bolt.

The EV is probably still not an “only car” for most folks, but as a second car, it will fill a lot of niches with current and emerging products.

Clearwater reduex 

I’ve written here several times about trout fishing at Clearwater Lake, and today was the second trip this season for Sam and I to head out. It’s always great fun and camaraderie, even when the fish don’t cooperate. We each landed a few, missed a few more, and dodged our own flys on the back cast as the wind was howling most of the day. It was warm, tho, actually unseasonably hot, near 80F. I started casting a Chili Pepper, finally found a willing trout. Though these are all annually stocked trout, it’s anything but “shooting fish in a barrel” as these guys can be hard to hook…

Joel’s first fish of the day


I tried for the “Clearwater trifecta” of a trout, largemouth bass, and a bream. I caught the largemouth but never landed the bream. Sam worked hard and finally connected using size 20 midges under a a CDC.

Sam connects!


Thanks to TU and the YMCA for making it possible for me to catch trout 15 minutes from my driveway.

Continuing reflections on TV cord-cutting

Its been a week since I put up a TV antennae at the beach house and dropped the Time Warner Cable subscription back to Internet only. Faithful readers of this blog know that it’s now been 4 years (July 2011) since I put up an antennae on the Chapel Hill house and dropped Uverse. I used the same configuration at Emerald Isle as in Chapel Hill – a ChannelMaster 4228HD antennae and a ChannelMaster 7777 preamp. This has been a while in coming, but with TWC raising rates once again, it was time to jump. We’d been paying $105 for non-digital cable and standard 15×1 Internet. TWC said the new rate would be $130, and would require a digital converter on each set. Enough! Internet only is $45 plus tax, so say $50. That’s $80/mo, or nearly $1000/yr for basic cable. Do we watch that much? Nope.

In fairness, we do pay for multiple streaming services, but we can use those in Chapel Hill or EI. Since we were already paying for these, it’s moot. We subscribe to Netflix, HBO NOW (for Game of Thrones), SlingTV (for ESPN). These are about $45/mo. We have a TiVo in Chapel Hill for $15/mo, so that’s $60 total, but it’s flexible and portable.

Putting up the antennae/amp is about $200, plus cabling, which can be done for under $50. At $80 /mo savings, that’s a 3 month payback.

Technically it’s easy, and you can feed all the TVs in your house using the old splitter in the TWC box on your house. If you have only one TV, an internal antennae for $50 can work, but for several sets, you need to feed the distribution system.

For reception, at EI, I’m picking up stations 50-70 miles away with clarity. WITN, WNCT, WCTI, WUNK and others.

So, if cable is getting you down, there’s an alternative!

Google Reader diaspora, trying Feedly.com. So far so good

I’m playing with Feedly as a replacement for Google Reader. My first reaction was “o my gosh, this is such a busy interface” but I was able to quickly figure out how to set the feeds to display in compressed mode, which is much easier to scan without distraction (IMHO). The great thing was the ease of entry. Simple login with Oauth with my Google credentials and automagically picking up my Google Reader feed configuration without even having to set up an account @ Feedly! I figured out that bookmarking a post equaled “starring” a post in Reader. I’ve attached Twitter and Facebook, tho I’ve not tried sending anything thru those interfaces. I’m using it with Chrome and iOS right now, but overall, this looks like a quite viable alternative. There are some things I see already that I like better than Reader, such as the breakdown of historical posts by day. So, I give this a cautious thumbs up…