Earth Notes: Diarycast - Year In Review, and One Weird Trick (2022)

Updated 2024-04-10.
A look back at the thrills and spills of 2022 at EOU Towers... #podcast #yearInReview
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Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and welcome to Earth Notes podcast on all things eco and green and efficient @Home!

3rd January 2023.

EOU review for 2022: it nearly rhymes! Here's a brief round-up of the year and a peek into 2023 and some time travel...

(The full diary can be found in the Show Notes.)

The end of 2022 featured quite a few big life changes (along with emerging from the covid pandemic) which I attempted to coordinate. Radbot has been handed over to new owners after a decade, and I am starting research (as a PhD student) in 2023, of which more later. To try to tidy up loose ends and simplify my life I fully handed over my two solar PV rent-a-roof systems to the occupants (home and school). I also stood down as a school governor after more than a decade. I even had a 'retirement' party in November!


Here are some brief snippets from each month...

I arranged for new grid generation-source intensity values to be rolled in to my grid intensity page automatically with the new year, leaning on National Grid ESO's Carbon Intensity work: thanks! Also, the Myenergi Eddi solar PV diverter was ordered, arrived, got some bench testing, and had the start of a set of control scripts written for it. I continued to develop and tweak the control system throughout the year; by December PV diversion and low-carbon boost from grid were working well.
Storm Eunice rolled over, did not damage EOU Towers, ie 16WW, but smashed up many trees in the cemetery next door. To make space for the Thermino heat battery we Freegled the old and part-working grill that I bought with Ixaris' first test virtual VISA card transaction. There was some quite decent off-grid and grid-tie generation at the end of last month, and this month, and the sparrows have been making themselves heard...


After years of dithering and another couple due to covid, the Sunamp Thermino heat battery finally went in! The day before, partly because of the situation in Ukraine, our heating was turned off, so gas use at least until the autumn would be limited to whatever PV diversion did not cover.
Along with relishing my Eddi doing its diversion stuff and even some frequency response, I also boot-strapped a uniform, standardised-format, kWh energy series dataset for much of 16WW's key data. It is now far easier to eyeball seasonal and other changes, and shifts from one energy source to another, eg for DHW (water heating).


Residual gas use turned out to be small, generally well under ~25%, thus usually under 1kWh per day rather than 4: hurrah! And I captured many minutes of local sparrows' chatter...
Kingston Invents! (our local inventors' club) met for the first time since covid took off, in the same building (and possibly the same room) at Kingston University as before. It felt almost as if there had been no break. Also vital to world peace, I note that the longest day of the year allowed me to run the dishwasher after supper at about 6pm, without needing to draw from the grid!


inside and outside temperatures at 16WW in the heatwave Parts of the UK touched 40°C this month; our porch sensor saw 37°C. Way too hot. Also I learned that a mini-fast is good for you, and stopping eating at least three hours before bedtime helps the gut switch to repair mode during sleep. Therefore, I should stop snacking by the time that I feel comfortable running electrical appliances after the evening peak at 7pm! I have observed that one simple rule (one weird trick to save health and climate?) reasonably well since. Oh, and I discovered cold brew coffee, which may save ~30Wh of heating per cup!
We were again able to visit the south of France (by train) for our family summer holiday beside the Med, hurrah!


Kingston hosted a "Sustainable September" month-long series of events. Those included 16WW open house on the 11th, and talks including one of mine on the 25th. Mid-month we had a power cut that I did not even notice until a neighbour came round to check with us; my laptop and the Internet router were running off-grid and thus oblivious... Towards the end of the month, after being serviced, the gas combi sulked and had to be turned off until a rematch with the boiler person in October. In the interim the Eddi/Thermino control system was flipped into a "supply all the hot water" mode that I had been prepping! It all worked! And I ordered some inexpensive USB-powered heated insoles that work quite well.
Our gas combi got fixed, and I signed up (and handed over money) for a part-time PhD to try to help fix UK heating retrofits and the planet... Also I moved some of my attention from Twitter to Mastodon.


I upgraded my live grid intensity page to be able to pronounce a red/yellow/green view based on a week of data, rather than just one day. Additionally, this worked around increasing flakiness of the data from Elexon, especially in the wee hours of the morning, just when my system needs to know if it should top up the heat battery! And hurrah, the UK [government] finally — at least a year overdue — is telling people how to set their boiler flow temperature correctly, to save a pile of carbon emissions and their (and the Treasury's) cash.
We turned on the 16WW central heating on the 1st. I fixed the bathroom MHRV, fixed my Multimedia Gallery, and fixed the Thermino top-up algorithms, all after far too long! And I stood down as a school governor after well over a decade.

I officially start as a part-time student at the University of Surrey for an Environment and Sustainability PhD on 9th January. Gloriously, the official offer letter has the end date as 1931... I remember at the time being told that Y2K was a fake, and would never happen, while I was busily fixing bits of it in banking and elsewhere!

I don't know how well I'll hack life as a part academic. It is the best way that I can currently think of to tackle climate change. I'll keep updating Earth Notes as I go...

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

Show Notes

This took me far longer to write than I allowed for, having started in the morning of the 2nd. It turns out that my kids are back at school on the 3rd, leaving me in relative peace to record!

Full diary notes:


(Count: 12)