Earth Notes: Diarycast - Solstice Lockdown Edition (2020-12-21)

Updated 2024-04-11.
Christmas is Coming! We are in tier 4 here at 16WW, and way too warm for snow: not the stuff of kitsch card vignettes... #podcast #lockdown2020
488s "20201221" (captions) Uploaded . Downloads:


Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and welcome to Earth Notes podcast on all things eco and green and efficient @Home!

DHD lockdown hair and beard 20201222

21st December 2020, sub-8-hour solstice edition!

Autumn and (warm!) winter updates for a year most of us would rather hadn't happened, even if there have been a few silver linings, and still a lot going on...
  • 2020-09-28: tonight the upstairs MHRV (Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation) fan is on, and windows have been closed, to retain heat overnight. Careful use of the MHRV at least some nights keeps us going longer before we turn the heating on, usually in November.
  • 2020-09: looking again at the data I see that shoulder months could make good use of an additional 1kWh (or 270W) of Enphase ACB (AC battery). I could measure simulated change in self-consumption or "energy independence" in March and September, then over the full year vs extra overheads... (The Enphase Enlighten formula is: 1 - (imported / consumed) for "energy independence").
  • 2020-10: last month and this I have been finding out that there are lots and lots of bats around 16WW! I've been detecting and recording them with various devices, and learning how to tell a pipistrelle from Myotis by ear and by eye!
  • 2020-10-03: I took a trip to and from Tottenham to see friends. Passenger density was low on the train, slightly higher on the Tube. Maybe 20% or more of passengers were not wearing masks at all, or not wearing them properly, for example on the chin or not covering the nose, thus suggesting that the wearer is unlikely to be legally exempt. Mostly, but not exclusively, single males under about 40.
  • 2020-10-07: I supported a scheme to bring back native water voles to the Hogsmill. ... water voles were last spotted on the river in 2014 and they are now locally extinct.
  • 2020-11-04: it is frosty this morning, officially ~3°C at 7am. Internal house temperatures are more like 17°C, and so our central heating is still not on. Every day [that] we can hold off after 1st November chips away at our carbon emissions.
  • 2020-11-05: I submitted a response to the government consultation on Improving the energy performance of privately rented homes. I worry that I may have done this one twice: parts of it seemed familiar!
  • 2020-11-05: cemetery 20201105 afternoon trees lawn mist bench also ... lockdown 2 started today, but I was cheered by lovely soft light on my walk, and when I found a delicious ripe blackberry, passing several people also out, with babies and dog(s)... (I can't remember if I counted the dogs!)
  • 2020-11-05: also ... I have been listening to Betatalk on heatpumps from the point of view of potential installers and users. Interesting!
  • 2020-11-11: according to Bloomberg, Global road usage [was] down 65% in April, now down merely 25%... but also not going up any more either. We have to do better, but it's a start.
  • 2020-11-17: The Park Brewery crowdfunded, eventually reaching more than twice their target, with my dulcet tones in the promo video! Here's my bit [...]

    You come in here to have a nice beer and have a nice chat and ... you get to meet people and drink something nice and that to me is an ideal pub.

    We have beer for social bonding, right? So they're providing another useful social anchor to the community as well ... above and beyond all those ecomonic value[s]


    I was nearly coherent...
  • 2020-11-22: our heating is still not switched on. This month has only accumulated a little over 47 HDD12 (heating degree days with a base temperature of 12°C that I use for 16WW) so far this month.
  • 2020-11-26: I accepted the Energy Institute's "Innovative Technology Award" award for Vestemi/Radbot at a virtual ceremony! Dozens of onlookers may have admired my wardrobe which I sit in front of.
  • 2020-11-26: also ... our dishwasher finally expired after over a decade, and an on-line order was made for an A++ energy-efficient replacement tonight.
  • 2020-11-29: our heating is still not on, but we're seeing enough condensation in 1g (my girl's room) to run a dehumidifier for several hours to get relative humidity down to 65%. Inside the house is easily staying ~6°C above external from appliance and people gains, which accords with my use of HDD12.
  • 2020-11-29: also ... the planning application [20/02942/FUL aka PP-09036601, ] to redevelop the estate went in before the consultation had finished... I lodged a comment/objection.
  • 2020-12-01: the heating has now been switched on, running on the clock, just before 7am. The clock schedule (in 15-minute increments) is roughly 06:30 to 15:59 and 19:00 to 21:44. The gap is to avoid electricity peak demand, letting the house coast on its thermal capacitance (sometimes called "thermal mass").
  • 2020-12-02: bah! The replacement dishwasher is too big! It is a couple of cm deeper than shown on the retailer's site. We can't fit it fully in, and so can't open a drawer beside it that was OK with the ZDS2010.
  • 2020-12-12: my first ever free 'flu vaccination today ("Flublok Quadrivalent") with HA proteins of two A (H1N1, H3N2) and two B subtypes, since I'm officially old and frail enough with covid floating around!
  • 2020-12-14: my daughter was sent home from secondary school and told to self-isolate until Sunday 20th ... then Tuesday 22nd.
  • 2020-12-18: the dishwasher saga is resolved (I hope). A working machine is in place, running, and not blocking access to one of our drawers. It has taken four 'installer' visits, two visits from an independent sensible tradesperson, a stream of refunds, and a lot of interaction with customer services, but we're there.
  • 2020-12-19: we in London are now in tier 4 lockdown restrictions as of tomorrow.
  • 2020-12-20: it's a sunny (and still too warm!) day, with some half-decent solar PV generation... 20201220 battV I'm Enjoying seeing peaks of > 100W being captured by my off-grid system from the sunshine!
  • 2020-12-21: the Zoom H1n arrived, and I've made some test recordings, and as it's warm enough (~14°C) I'm trying for a bit of bat detection. I reckon that I have a better chance of hearing bats than seeing the Saturn/Jupiter "Great Conjunction" given the cloud cover tonight. ... And indeed got a close pass of my front window by a pipistrelle at 16:26!

Continuing thanks to Deniz for the long long loan of his Olympus field recorder! I have bought a Zoom H1n, which arrived while preparing this episode, and I shall be returning his Olympus with a new wind muff!

There's more on my "Earth Notes" Web site at Earth.Org.UK.

Show Notes

Park Brewery crowdfunding interview

Josh and Frankie of the brewery very kindly had Creative Colony share the MP4 of my interview segment to use for this episode.

I extracted the 48ksps audio as WAV for Audacity to work with from the crowd-funding MP4 video (AAC audio) as-is with:

ffmpeg -i Interview.mp4 -vn output-audio.wav

Crowdfunding interview clip:

16s "202011 Park Brewery crowdfinding interview clip" Uploaded . Downloads:
I could have extracted the AAC audio from the with:
ffmpeg -i Interview.mp4 -vn -acodec copy output-audio.aac