On 22JUN19, the day after the Summer Solstice – the beginning of Summer in Seattle – I decided that there must be a better way to live.
Here we have architects who designed thermally-efficient, modern, multi-family dwellings that I choose to live in, surrounded by Thermopane© windows. They have limited air-conditioning. Only in the conference areas used during the day, and entertainment hubs for receptions, etc.
Yet, young Americans from other areas of the United States have been kept ignorant in the proper use of Thermopane©, apparently. They have no idea that in hot, sunny, humid weather, it insulates their room. Just like in winter.
Instead of using it properly, they buy these stupid, inefficient air-conditioning units with a hose you stick through your wide-open Thermopane© window, then think Seattle City Light (SCL) electricity is expensive! No. It’s not. Either financially, or environmentally. Actually, it is relatively inexpensive compared to Commonwealth Edison – a private company – somewhere back East. SCL is owned by the citizens themselves, and it draws its power from the hydroelectric dams on the Green River; Skagit River, and others, which the City of Seattle owns and operates. Yep, community- owned and operated. Like in Scandinavian countries.
I knew there was a better way, so because of my fixed-income I rented a western-facing studio apartment where the sun can beat and beat on the windows in the afternoon – the hottest part of the day. Thermopane© window closed. Blinds closed. Prismatic polycarbonate static film on inside windows (see below, cost $45).* No air-conditioning. No swamp-cooler. I used the small bathroom and washer/dryer fan to move air. Yet of all the neighbors around me, I kept the damn Thermopane© shut tight, only opening it in the early morning hours. How was that possible?
Seattle’s in the upper 80s to low 90s outside, but a persistent mid-70’s inside at about 4:00PM on a sunny Seattle day. Doors closed. Thermopane window closed. Blinds closed. Prismatic polycarbonate static film on inside windows (see below, cost $45). No air-conditioning. No swamp-cooler.
Science is not democracy. It’s science. The only sources of heat in the studio? Humans, refrigerator, sunlight hitting furniture and Thermopane© .
There is no secret here, you just stop more infrared from generating from the ultraviolet and visible sunlight. That happens when sunlight unfiltered, unimpeded, strikes objects inside the studio. Preparation. Discipline. We do need less carbon emissions from air-conditioning. We need more science. Keeping your home or apartment insulated is key.
In the late evening or early morning hours, open your Thermopane© window; break open your insulated home.
At night, Seattle is typically down to 59-61F. Open the window in the early morning for as long as you can if the temperatures are below the mid-70 level. Coolest part of day 0400-0600 (4-6:00AM) in Summer. Then seal it shut and insulate your home for the rest of the day. Fresh air in the morning and while you sleep. Remember => Discipline and Preparation. First order of business now is to make coffee before it’s too hot. Also, a good time to wash dishes and clean clothes, before closing window.
In the evening at sunset, I open the blinds to this rainbow of colors…
The painting in the background is a glicee reproduction by a locally-famous PNW Iraqi Freedom US Army vet who found his true calling, apparently, in painting. The rainbow effect is all the Rabbitgoo dispersion. You do not need to see it, just keep your blinds shut. I like it occantionally.
*If you want to understand Global Warming and Climate change, and as aside how the physics of sunlight interacting with our environment works, take the Climate Change course offered free by SDG Academy/edX and instructed by Prof. Dr. Michael E. Mann.
What is the prismatic polycarbonate static film that we scientists speak of, above? Well, the version we use is called “Rabbitgoo” (Please. Don’t ask me about the trade name.)
Summation of the Summer
It works. Occasionally the temperatures outside got into the upper 90-100F, and those night I decided to take in a movie, but otherwise, we (me and the girlfriend) slept comfortably with minimal cost. Here is our SCL for the two months of 11JUL-10SEP19. You will notice the previous charge/credit for two months was about the same.
Yep, ya sure, ya betcha: $0.0902/kWh, and 291 kWh used for 60 days, roughly.