Monday, July 19, 2010

"Home again, home again / jiggity-jog"

(When I was growing up my family always ended our trips with that quote as soon as we parked in the driveway. Sometimes we still do.)

The time away was nice and (or although) as expected, nearest cellphone signal was almost twenty miles away. There might have been an Internet kiosk somewhere closer but I didn't go looking. I'd planned to be "absent" and loaded the car up with bikes & boats, among other distractions.

And but for the heat the Oregon State park was a pleasant place to be away for a group camp-out, where the only mechanically-vented buildings were the restroom and shower buildings (with, oh joy: heated showers!.) At least I assume they were mechanically ventilated; the lack of the usual odors implied they were, though the daily and thorough scrubdowns no doubt helped. And there was something mechanical, sounding rather old and wheezy and not like a pump, running 24/7 in a locked room in the building.

Naturally that got me thinking about energy efficiency and the place didn't look very energy-efficient. Then again, energy-efficiency was probably not a concern when these buildings were built. The park was trying though: I noticed that all the lamps were CFLs. I am sure this gave them considerable savings over the incandescents because, along with the presumed ventilator, all the lighting was turned on 24/7 -- outside as well as in. No time switch, photocell, or BACnet controls with astronomical time clock functionality.

But as too often happens, things didn't work out quite as well as planned intended. Yes, there were yellow covers over the exterior CFLs, presumably an intended replacement for the old yellow incandescent bug-lamps that didn't emit the shorter wavelengths attracting bugs at night. But these covers weren't doing the job; the lamps drew lots of bugs at night. Some of inevitably found their way into the restrooms when the outside doors were left open, and covered everything around the lights inside. I wouldn't be surprised if CFLs leak quite a bit of UV through their phosphors; my guess is that the covers weren't filter near-UV/UV though they made the light look yellow to a human eye.

There were provisions for lights that didn't run 24/7, specifically individual switches in the shower stalls. They might have done better with timers or even PIR occupancy detection, though, because folks often just left the lights on.

And whatever the sources of heat for the showers, a visit to the beach revealed that they probably didn't include solar. Near the end of a bright, hot late afternoon at the beach, the rinsing showers at the beach were ice-cold. But again, at the time the place was built whatever source and tank they used might have been the lowest-cost, lowest-maintenance solution.

I think it would be a fun project to see how much long-term energy savings could be implemented in such a facility. Of course I would have to visit often, from spring to autumn, and always on Fridays.

I could then add to my "Crater Lake" album.

And yes, the water really is that blue!

No comments:

Post a Comment