Signing Up for Acterra’s High Energy Homes Project

When Bryan was in the City of Monte Sereno’s offices yesterday, he saw a flyer for Acterra’s High Energy Homes Project.  Curious, he took a copy of the flyer and followed up today.

Also, our ferrules arrived this afternoon so now all we need is the pink CAT5 and then we can wire our C-Bus network that will connect all our switches and sensors.

Ferrules and Pink CAT5

We’re at the point where it is time to run the CAT5 around the house to every switch and sensor location, and then back to the six control panels in the house.  Schneider Electric’s C-Bus system requires either a daisy chain topology, star cable topology, or combination daisy chain and star cable topology.

To connect the CAT5 in either daisy chain or star cable topologies, we need to physically connect the CAT5 cables together.  In addition, although there are eight individuals conductors (wires) in a CAT5 cable, two pairs of the wires must be connected together.

For the C-Bus system, the orange and blue wires are connected with a 'bootlace crimp' as are the orange-white and blue-white wires. The green and green-white, and brown and brown-white are not connected.

While trying to find a ‘bootlace crimp’, Bryan learned that the the correct term for the connector is a ‘ferrule’.  Ferrules are used in Europe and other countries to connect stranded and other wires to devices.

At the same time, Bryan learned that, under the Australian electrical code, all C-Bus wiring must use pink CAT5.  This is to identify the wire uniquely so it is not confused with data wiring.

Bryan ordered two boxes of pink CAT5 from ADI, and strips of 500 1.0 mm ferrules (red), 1.5 mm ferrules (black) and 2.5 mm ferrules (blue) from Rob at Ferrules Direct.  Each switch in the C-Bus system come with two 1.0 mm ferrules.

The ferrules and crimping tool arrived today.

Signing Up for Acterra’s High Energy Homes Project

Using his handfree speakerphone, Bryan called the contact name in Acterra’s High Energy Homes Project flyer, Davena Gentry, and learned about the project.  Essentially, Monte Sereno is the fifth highest energy-using towns (based on a per household energy use) out of the 225 cities served by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Acterra is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ‘bring people together to create solutions for a healthy planet.’  Apterra has served Silicon Valley for over 40 years.  Here is a great video clip about Acterra.

Apterra applied for a grant from the California Energy Commission to fund on-line studies for residents of Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Portola Valley and Woodside.  These are five of the seven highest energy-using cities that PG&E serves.

Monte Sereno is the fifth highest energy-consuming city that Pacific Gas & Electric serves.

For Monte Sereno, if the average annual electric use per residence is 13,000 kWh and the cost per kWh is $0.40 then the average annual electric bill is approximately $5,200 per year.  Or, more than $425 per month.  This usage is more than double the average electric use of 6,000 kWh per year.

The graph below shows the energy consumption per residence of each of the 225 cities that PG&E serves.

Monte Sereno's average electric usage per residence is ~13,000 per kWh.

Here is a link to the presentation made by Acterra to Portola Valley Town Council on December 9, 2009:

We signed up for the remote assessment regarding our rental property at 17740 Vista Avenue so we will see if there are any no-cost measures that we can take to reduce our resource consumption at our rental house.


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