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You Can't Change What You Don't Measure in Green Building Marketing

Jun 7, 2016 10:10:25 PM / by Chuck Lohre

(From John Robbins' Energy Survey. Sign up and contribute to his Home Energy Survey!)

Ready to participate in my 2015 home energy survey? If you have complete energy data for 2015 or prior years 2010 thru 2014, my surveys want your participation.  To participate, add up all conventional energy and fuel acquired during an entire year (including free energy like firewood) .  Do not include energy bought or acquired in a prior year or received so late in a year that payment is made the next year. 

Answer the 13 questions (see below), then send answers to me by email.  Send each year's data separately, with "SURVEY" + "YEAR" in the subject line, like "SURVEY 2015".  I will notify you when your results are posted at my website.  Don't worry - no personal names or locations are shared.  



3) Your HOME'S GROSS CONDITIONED FLOOR AREA (SF).  Exclude unconditioned garages, porches, basements, etc.  Above basement, "gross area" is measured from the outside corners of the exterior walls.  For conditioned basements, measure the floor area inside the foundation walls.

4) HOUSE AGE + YEARS SINCE LAST MAJOR ENERGY UPGRADE.  For example, if house was built 40 years ago but 10 years ago got new windows, more insulation and a new furnace, answer "40, 10 (more insulation and new furnace)".   If house was built 20 years ago and there have been no major energy upgrades, answer just "20"

5) Average NUMBER OF RESIDENTS.  If a person lived in home for half the year, add "0.5" for that person.

6) HOW MUCH RESIDENTS ARE HOME?  Here are some suggested percents:

- 99% for true stay-at-homes!

- 95% for most "stay-at-home" w/ 1 or 2 outings per week

- 90% for 4 member urban/suburban home with one 5-day/wk commuter

- 85% for 3 member urban/suburban home with one 5-day/wk commuter

- 80% for 2-person households with one 5-day/wk commuter

- 70% for 2-person households with two 5-day/wk commuters

- 60% for 2-person households with two 6-day/wk commuters

- 50% for busiest run-around households

7) INDOOR TEMPERATURE RANGE YEARROUND.  This could be min-max thermostat settings for heating and cooling, including setbacks.  Or it could be what is actually observed as min-max temperatures in all or part of your conditioned space.  For example, in my home, if we're heating with firewood or passive solar, some spaces stay cooler than t-stat setting even when it's warmer than t-stat setting in most of the house.  So while our min-max t-stat settings are 67-79 including setbacks, our actual observed min-max annual range throughout our conditioned spaces is 59-82F.

8) List ALL YOUR ENERGIES.  (Electricity, natural gas, LP, wood, oil, pellets, kerosene, as many as you used)

9) HOW MUCH OF EACH ENERGY?  For each energy type listed in #7: how many kWhs, ccfs, gallons, cords, pounds, etc., did you acquire?  To estimate for firewood, a full cord is 4' x 4' x 8' or 128 cubic feet.  A standard pickup truckload is usually about 1/3 cord.

10) TOTAL PAYMENTS FOR EACH ($ totals for each energy type listed in #7)  If free, say "$0" or "free" for that energy type.

11) ENERGY SUPPLIERS (for each energy type listed in #7).  If firewood from your neighbor or backyard, say exactly that.

12) WATER USAGE, COST & SUPPLIER: (Total usage in gallons or ccf, total WATER-ONLY cost, name of water supplier.  Do not include sewer costs.)

13) ENERGY FEATURES of your house & household.  List as many as apply by letter, using this features key:

A - Active Solar (heating water or air)

B - Bermed Walls of conditioned spaces (finished bsmts, earthbermed rooms)

C - No Clothes Dryer or very infrequent use, as when a clothesline is often used

D - No Dishwasher or very infrequent use, as when usually handwashed & air dried

E - More Efficient or Non-Electric Appliances

F -  Mostly Daylighting, Fluorescent & LED Bulbs

G - Superior Windows (R-3 or better overall, very low air leakage)

H - More Efficient HVAC System

I -   Income Produced at home

K - Home Electricity Used For Vehicle Recharging (all or some)

L -  Energy Efficient or Productive Landscape (summer shade, windbreak, food growing, waste processing & storage, etc)

M - Net-metered onsite renewable energy lowers your reported electricity use  

Nf - No Furnace

Na- No AC

P -  Passive Solar for Winter Heating & Summer Cooling

S -  Superior Insulation Specs (at least 150% of code-required R)

T -   More Airtightness

U -  Underground Roof & Walls

V -  PVs (solar electricity, whether grid-connected or off-grid)?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /

W - Home Water Supply, like a well or roof-fed cistern

Here's my own 2015 energy data organized as I want other submittals organized:

1) Robbins, John

2) Kenton, KY

3) 2100 sf

4) 29, 17 (more insulations, airtightness, passive solar addn), 10 (solar water heating) 

5) 2

6) 95%

7) 59-82F

8) Electricity, firewood

9) 8680 kWh, 1.0 cords firewood

10) $1078.82 for electricity, $140 for 2/3 cords firewood + 1/3 cord free from my land

11) Owen Rural Electric, some firewood from locals

12) 35.57 ccf, $534.54, NKY Water District (water cost only)


John F Robbins  CEM / CSDP

Energy Focused Design, Analysis, Consulting & Education Since 1983




(Here's my submittal and John's reply.)

Hi John,

Lohre/Groeber Residence 2015

1) Lohre, Chuck

2) Hamilton, OH

3) 1959 sf

4) 56, 3

5) 2

6) 80% for 2-person households with one 5-day/wk commuter

7) 64-82F.

8) Electricity, natural gas

9) 11556 kWhr, 851 ccf

10) $1339 for electric, $1305 for gas

11) Duke Energy

12) 67 ccf, $267.50 , Greater Cincinnati Water Works

13) BILP

It’s a little embarrassing but you can’t change what you don’t measure. At least we’ve gone from 194 kBtu/sf (EUI) to 65 kBtu/sf (EUI) since 2010. In 2011 we insulated the concrete block, which by my thumbnail calculation showed us cutting our heating bills by 15%. Thanks again.

Hi Chuck,

I also saw the results of your energy improvements, congratulations! 

As for EUI, I recommend you compare instead the EUI divided by the degree-days, which is 2 columns to the right of EUI in my tables, labelled "BTU/sf-dd".  This is usually a better index for residential since a much higher % of energy use is for heating than commercial where EUI is usually better.

29.1 BTU/sf-dd in 2010  (EUI = 193.7)

14.0 BTU/sf-dd in 2014 is 52% less (EUI = 91.4 is 53% less)

11.2 BTU/sf-dd in 2015  is 62% less (EUI = 64.8 is 67% less)

In 2010 there were 6622 total degree-days (heating + cooling).  In 2014 there were 6515 and in 2015 there were only 5794.  This explains why your 2015 EUI went down more than your climate-adjusted index - 2015 was a milder year than either 2014 or 2010, so you needed less heating and cooling energy.  Normal total degree-days (heating + cooling) for Greater Cincinnati is abt 6100, based on current 30-year averages.

The BTU/sf-dd numbers relate to my ratings gauge.  You can see clearly that you've improved 2 major steps, moving from "WORSE" to "POOR" to "AVERAGE".   That's quite an accomplishment!





Topics: Green Building Marketing

Chuck Lohre

Written by Chuck Lohre

Owner of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications. The company celebrated their 80th Anniversary in 2015, his 38th.