35°Mostly Cloudy

Power Record Set During Extreme Heat

by Katie Pyzyk July 26, 2011 at 10:50 am 3,462 164 Comments

Dominion Virginia Power set an all-time record for peak demand for electricity on Friday.

The company’s 2.4 million customers used 20,061 megawatts of electricity between 3 and 4pm on Friday.  That broke the previous record of 19,688 megawatts set on August 8, 2007.  One megawatt provides enough electricity for about 250 homes.

Although the blistering heat and oppressive humidity from last week has died down, the continued warm weather means high electricity use.  Dominion has the following tips for keeping energy costs down and keeping homes comfortable:

  • Postpone activities requiring hot water to early morning or late evening to prevent heat and humidity from building up in the home.
  • If you are comfortable, raise the thermostat to 78 degrees.
  • Close drapes during the hottest points of the day.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights, which add heat to a home.  Consider switching to cooler, energy efficient CFL bulbs.
  • Make sure window air conditioners are sized correctly. Those that are too small will run constantly, but will not cool the room. Those that are too large use more energy than necessary.
  • Clean filters to window air conditioning units and clean or replace filters to central air conditioning systems. Clogged filters cause air conditioners to use more energy than necessary to keep a home cool.
  • Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.

  • Rick

    This is damage control by dominion for when the power goes out unexpectedly like it has been in country club manor all month

  • powerful

    More tips:

    – Get a programmable thermostat that automatically resets the temperature while you’re at work and back down before you get home.

    – Sign up for Smart Cooling. Dominion will pay you to let them shut down your AC or heat pump during peak power periods. It only shuts down on weekdays and only for short times – the fan still circulates the air. You probably won’t even notice.


    – Make sure you have adequate insulation in your home. Window replacement may also help if your windows are really old. Consider a radiant barrier for your attic (foil that reflects heat).

    • Rick

      I’m not letting those hyenas anywhere near my thermostat

      • powerful

        Smart Cooling doesn’t touch the thermostat.

        • Rick

          just stay out of my yard

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    window replacement is not economical unless you heat your house excessively or you plan to live in your house about 40 years.

    buying new high efficiency machines has been the best cost savings for me.

    • doodly

      I’d say you’re wrong. Window replacement can be very economical and pay for itself in a short time. New windows are usually better insulated, more air-tight, and have lower radiant heat coming through the glass. That can add up fast.

      Then again, if you’re a sucker and paying $500 a window, maybe not.

      • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

        i did the math. it doesn’t work
        my house has 24 windows. Each window, would be about $300. Bringing the installation cost to 7200 +/-. Old house odd sized windows and would get replacement windows that fit style of house.
        My gas bill FOR THE WHOLE YEAR, which includes cooking, heating and hot water is $1200. But if we just focus on the critical heating months, let’s say it is costing $700 to heat my house. If the new windows cut my heating costs IN HALF that would bring my annual heat cost to $350 — with that saving, it will take me 21 years to recover the cost of the windows.
        i can also go out a buy a new high efficiency Energy Star rated appliance and cut my utilities by 25% and spend a ton less and not screw up my plaster, exterior, etc.
        it is a good idea to replace windows but the cost/benefit isn’t there. and we all know how i like the economics of a question.

        • Webster

          That you for providing some real facts.

        • doodly

          21 years beats forever, doesn’t it?

          You don’t think the cost will be recovered when you sell? New windows increase the value of your home, because buyers don’t want to have to pay for them or throw their money away in energy costs either. Either way, you’ll get your money back.

          And you might get a tax credit too.

          Replacement windows won’t touch your plaster or exterior though.

          • Greg

            He’s not going to save half of his heating bill either. Probably more like 10-20% at best. Factor in the opportunity cost and he may never come out ahead.

          • NoVapologist

            Much of the claim that these windows pay for themselves also comes through increased resale value of the home.

            Just saying.

          • Lou

            Are you saying Smokin’ Al Koken is lying to me?

          • Lou

            Sorry that was meant for Greg above.

          • Harold

            “21 years beats forever, doesn’t it?”

            No, it probably doesn’t. Assuming some level of inflation and less than 50% savings, you’re probably still coming out behind.

          • doodly

            So if you’re more than 21 years away from retirement, you don’t bother to invest any of your savings, you just put it all under your mattress?

          • Harold

            It’s not a very good investment if it loses money, which was his point originally. It loses money. You don’t get out of it what you put into it – there is a “negative return.” Not what one typically looks for in an investment, or at least I don’t.

          • doodly

            No, it doesn’t lose money. You still own the asset – new windows – that will increase the value of your home when you sell.

          • Harold

            You own it but you paid more for it than it was worth. This is what is meant by losing money. You “lost” the difference between what it is worth and what you paid.

          • Stu Pendus

            Your original proclamation was that they pay for themselves in a short time. That is wrong.

        • speonjosh

          What about cost savings from cooling your house in the summer? Insulated windows work then, too.

    • for what its worth

      Window replacement is a good idea for the long term protection of your house and comfort within your space. It is a maintenance item, like putting in a new air conditioner after 15-20 years. The energy savings is gravy.

      With new windows you’ll notice less outside noise and fewer drafts. It is an amenity improvement, but has subtle and measurable energy benefits as well.

      • Pete

        Mr. Andersen? Is that you?

      • charlie

        the majority of window replacement jobs i have seen are botched. the house next to me got “standard” windows and the company just used wood board to fill in the gaps between the old-Arlington window opening and the “standard” windows. And now I have to look at that crap.
        the windows in my house are original. About 80% of the window glass is original.

        IMHO the REAL environmental benefit here is that I am not buying something I don’t need need (new windows); i’m not throwing out and putting in the landfill something that is perfectly fine (old windows) — and the result is that something new isn’t produced and something old isn’t dumped into the landfill.

        Economics don’t work and I don’t think the environmental benefits work either.

        • doodly

          Well, yeah, if you pick crappy window replacement with standard windows, you’re going to get crappy results. That’s true of anything. By that measure, you’d never build houses in the first place, because some of them could be “botched.”

          Landfills are a much smaller environmental concern than energy and pollution, I’d say. It depends on what you’re replacing too, of course–if you have single-pane glass, that’s really going to leak energy, but more recent double-panes, not so much.

          (Disclaimer for reactionary loons: I am merely offering my opinion, not demanding that charlie do whatever I tell him to.)

        • speonjosh

          Actually, charlie makes the best argument yet here – there is an environmental benefit to be had from not buying something that you don’t need. This is why the first word in the EPA’s famous phrase is REDUCE * Reuse * Recycle. Not consuming something is almost always more environmentally friendly than consuming something.

          But what if everyone made that choice? And only new homes had insulated windows? That’s an awfully lot of wasted energy in the meantime.

          Elsewhere, someone else notes that replacing the windows increases the re-sale value. It surely does. This should be included in any calculations about whether or not to do it.

          • Harold

            It does? When buying my house I didn’t consider for a minute increasing my offer price due to the windows. If the windows are in need of replacement anyways fine, but just to replace working windows for the economic benefits of energy efficiency and the promise of some far-off, unquantifiable residual increase in property value doesn’t make economic sense.

          • Josh S

            Well, obviously it’s a complex thing, arriving at an offer price. But the idea that replacement windows increases re-sale value is this – if two homes that were otherwise identical in every way were on the market but one had updated windows and the other didn’t, the updated window one would probably sell for more (leaving aesthetics out of it). Or, if the owner of a house you were interested but couldn’t quite agree to his price – if he offered to replace the windows, would you now be willing to pay that couple thousand more? (In both cases, the assumption is that the original windows were those crappy metal casement windows that so many Arlington homes had. If they were double-hung windows with wooden sashes and multiple panes, you probably wouldn’t want to replace them anyway….)

          • Cheech

            Please tell me about this alternate universe where someone about to sell a house will offer to replace all the windows in order to sweeten the deal. I need a good fairy tale to ease me into my afternoon nap.

          • Josh S

            Cheech, I’m thinking you’ll fall asleep pretty easily….

            But it’s a theoretical discussion. Whether or not anyone would do that is beside the point.

            But I’m fairly certain that negotiations of a similar nature happen all the time, although they may not be quite so common in a seller’s market like Arlington.

          • Cheech

            I’m going to have to ask you to perform air quotes anytime you say “theoretical discussion”.

            The rest of us are talking about reality. Maybe you will sell a house one day. Then you will get it.

          • charlie

            but if i don’t want to sell that isn’t part of the formula.
            i’ve lived in arlington for five decades in four different places. but this one for three decades and hoping another three decades and hoping that when my time comes it won’t merit a note in arlnow ver4

  • Lacey Forest

    Some BGE customers with Smart Cooling meters are complaining to the Maryland PSC that their ACs were shut off for up to 10 hours Friday and over the weekend. http://www.wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=2467860

    • Lou

      They probably did not read the fine print.

    • doodly

      Interesting. Dominion’s Smart Cooling site says it never shuts down on weekends.

      • Guestor the Magnificent

        Interesting. You believe them.

  • JamesE

    78??? NEVER!

    • Dr. Freeze

      I keep my house so co cold, it warms up when I open the refrigerator.

    • doodly

      If there’s a brownout, you’re going to be at about 90 though.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      You said it, JamesE. When my dad was still alive and living in our house, he had the setting at 73. 78?? No thanks, I’ll keep it at 73 when I’m out of the house during the day, 71 when I’m there, 70 at night and I’ll pay the extra on my bill.

      • speonjosh

        And condemn your children and children’s children to heatstroke in December. The planet thanks you for your selfishness.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          You’re quite welcome, sir! I’ll be getting a Cadillac Escalade next week with the 500 hp V8 in it and expanding my house to 6000 sq. ft. I’ll be selfish and you can be high-holy self righteous and kindly kiss my cold instant grits!

          • speonjosh

            Actually, you are the poster child for why haranguing people into taking steps to protect the environment will never work.

            It’s gotta be a carbon tax or nothing will change (well, except for the rate of heatstroke deaths, the fact that Arlington’s beautiful trees will die because of drought and diseases brought in from bugs that used to die in the winter but now because it never gets cold enough they don’t die, higher food prices because of drought, etc.).

          • Bluemontsince1961

            FYI, I actually live in a 70 year old Cape Cod just over 1300 sq ft, drive a 2005 Honda Civic and will never see enough income to even consider a Cadillac Escalade or a 6000 sq ft. house. And if I am the “poster child for why haranguing people into taking steps to protect the environment will never work” then, sir, you are the poster child for all the rads enviros who want to dictate how everyone lives. No thanks, mind your own life and your own business. We have nothing more to say to each other at any time, any place, anywhere, ever!

          • Right on! (Power fist pumping into the air)

          • JamesE

            Don’t worry, I drive a v8. I am doing my part.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            O.B., perfect I am not, but I try to be as reasonable as my life situation allows me to be with my A/C settings in summer and my heat settings in winter. I try to ensure I recycle as much as I can using the new Arlington County blue recycle bins. I try to buy environmentally friendly detergents and dish washing products as much as I can and biodegradable products. But the one last from away that started getting on my case like some type secular environmental version of the “evangelicals” that won’t leave a body alone until they “see the light” and are “saved” is just plain too much. I don’t tell them how to live their lives or mess in their business, but folks like you and I will never be permitted the same by them, whether they are the leftist version or the rightist version. And if that makes me some type of “bad poster child”, then so damn be it.

          • 1961: I’m thinking about dumping my fairly efficient V6 for a roomier Escalde Hybid. Think I’m being green? I want to get into the Prius club, but need a little more room so I can crank the A/C way up and not feel the heat from the window pane.

          • I spend a lot of time in the woods and usually get dog ticks on me. Funny, this year no so much. Maybe I’m spraying tons of pesticide on myself. But, I attributed the decline in dog tick population in the local wooded areas to colder winters the last few years.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Oh jeeze, don’t start “confessing” that you spray pesticides on yourself. The far rad “enviro evangelicals” will come down on you like stink on you-know-what and commence to hurt you!

          • There is a federal gas tax. And, according to Dominion Power’s web site:

            “Dominion Virginia Power collects and remits a consumption tax for all consumed kWh delivered and billed by the company.”

            Isn’t there already a carbon tax on the vast majority of energy we are consuming?

          • speonjosh

            Well, no. A carbon tax would be specifically designed to tax the carbon dioxide content of the fuel / electricity / energy consumed. It would obviously be incredibly complicated to figure out how to implement such a tax but the idea is that energy created by burning fossil fuels would be more expensive than energy created from other sources. Within the fossil fuel realm, certain fuels (like coal) would be taxed more than others (natural gas).
            The purpose would be, of course, to send a signal to the marketplace that there are significant societal (in this case, worldwide) negatives from burning fossil fuels. At the moment, no one “owns” these negatives, so there is no current price for them.
            The consumption tax that Dominion currently collects is unrelated. The gas tax is collected to build and maintain roads. (Thus perpetuating over-reliance on the automobile as a mode of transport.)

          • It would seem to me the free market would dictate how costly it is to use a fuel or energy. Gasoline, for example, regardless of the gas tax is more costly to use per mile travelled when your vehicle gets 14 MPG than when it gets 40 MPG. We’ve already forgotten the gasoline tax (of which the 14 MPG vehicle is paying more). But, the 14 MPG vehicle also had to pay a gas guzzler tax. It is indeed way more costly to operate a vehicle with low gas mileage. How much tax do you think the marketplace can bear before it no longer becomes a free market economy? Oh, maybe that’s your point.

          • Josh S

            There is no such thing as the “free market economy.” Except in textbooks. For starters, a free market economy assumes perfect knowledge by all actors. Clearly not everyone knows everything about every product or service that he or she contemplates buying. But then you add in all the subsidies, grants, deductions, credits, etc provided by the various layers of government and just about no product or service is provided by a business acting purely on market signals.

            Leaving that aside, no, the market is not capable of assigning the proper price for things that have no owners. No one “owns” clean air, clean water, biodiversity, the climate, etc. Before the passage of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, factories routinely delivered their wastes directly into whatever waterway was nearby or straight into the air. There were certainly attempts at boycotts and the like, but since most actors were unaware and because many customers were far away from these waterways, for example, it was not possible for the companies to be pressured via the market to change their ways. The laws were passed and waterways and our skies are much cleaner than they were before (well, at least from point-source pollution, but that’s another topic). Of course businesses moaned that they would go out of business, etc but with the pressure of the law in place, many found ways to alter their practices that were much cheaper than the worst case scenarios being tossed around by those opposed to the new laws. The smartest realized that waste was inefficient to begin with and came up with more streamlined ways to make the same product with less of a harmful impact on the environment.

            The same is true, but to an even greater extent, with climate change. No one “owns” current climate conditions. But unlike with things like sulfur dioxide and other chemical wastes associated with manufacturing, all of us, our entire civilization, is built on using the main contributor to climate change – fossil fuels. So devising a way to curb their use is much harder, since it needs to touch all of us. The carbon tax is one very good way of sending a signal via the market to everyone that using this product has hidden costs that aren’t otherwise represented in the price of the good.

          • Josh, put down your textbook and take a look at America and the current economy. Do you really think raising the price on energy will only discourage the use of energy? It will stall an otherwise slow-growning or stagnant economy.

          • Josh S

            Look, I never said it wouldn’t. Of course a carbon tax would have a negative impact on the economy. That doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. It would also be possible to design the thing to minimize that impact. Phase it in over time, exemptions, etc. In the meantime, you can bet your sweet bippy that the market for electric cars would skyrocket. Etc. There will be winners and losers, just like there are winners and losers in the current system. But the larger point is that we send a signal to everyone that the status quo is not healthy.

  • Energy Hog

    I’ll keep it at 73 when I’m out of the house

    What’s the purpose of that?

    • Joe Hoya

      Keep the houseplants comfortable?

    • PikerShorts

      What’s the point of 70 at night?

    • CW

      Well, for one, pulling an 85-degree house down to room temperature takes a long time and is more taxing on the HVAC equipment than cycling the AC to keep it at a moderate temperature.

      • PikerShorts

        Leaving it at 75-78 and on auto is even less taxing than 73. If the HVAC system is efficient and the house doesn’t leak like an Italian submarine the humidity in the house should be low enough to be more than comfortable at 75.

        • CW

          Those are two big “ifs” given some of the construction vintages around here (I’m thinking of the Falls Church ramblers), but right you are.

        • esmith69

          Agreed, most homes that are well insulated and have an HVAC system correctly sized will cool down very quickly even from a high temperature.

      • doodly

        If you have a programmable thermostat, you set it to go back to 74 or whatever at 4 pm and it’s done by the time you get home from work. If your equipment is taxed by that, it’s probably old or inadequate, and wasting alot of money.

      • powerful

        It’s a myth that it is better to keep your thermostat at a certain temperature rather than turning it up and down when you’re out for a while. If you are going to be out for more than a few hours, in a typical home with a typical HVAC system, it’s going to be more energy-efficient to turn the thermostat up or down while you’re out rather than keeping it at the same temp, and it won’t stress the system. Only a super-modern, air-tight home with lots of insulation could hold in the heat or cold long enough to make it worth maintaining the same temperature all day.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Thank you, CW

    • Aaron

      Some people spend $6 on a cup of frozen yogurt, some on a dinky little beer. Others hand out money to panhandlers on Metro. Who are we to tell Bluemont how to waste his money?

      • esmith69

        Because he’s using electricity that’s not from a non-polluting source such as window, solar, etc. That pollution affects everyone. Just because he’s willing to pay for it doesn’t make it right.

        That’s like allowing people who are willing to pay extra money when they register their car to then be exempt from emissions controls.

        There’s no reason to waste money AND electricity/oil/resources on cooling a home during the day.

        • Vik

          I don’t think we should tell others what to do, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling people that they’re being wasteful. I think having a cooling setback temperature of 73 or 70 degrees more puzzling to me than a $6 cup of yogurt. You can also leave your lights and TV on during the day while you’re at work, but you should understand that it’s wasteful and a bit arrogant b/c you’re aware that if everyone did it, we’d be paying through the nose and you wouldn’t appreciate it.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          OK, we’ll trade. You move into my house and I’ll move into your house.

        • Your $6 cup of frozen yogurt required some electricity to make and package, and used fuel to transport to the store where you purchased it. (I hope you walked to the store, and did not drive.) How DARE you have that cup of frozen yogurt because it generated pollution that could impact my life.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Really. My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will a bake in 90-120 Decembers because of it! To say nothing that it pollutes the air that you and I breath, O.B.

          • We had all better shed our clothing too. It takes energy to produce and launder it. Let’s just become nudists.

          • doodly

            Now comes the “false choice” crap. You either take environmentalism to ridiculous extremes, or you drive around in a Hummer like a fat slob. There’s no middle ground.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            “Let’s just become nudists”….ROFL! Now, O.B., you seem like a decent guy and all that, but I’m not quite prepared to see you running all over Arlington in your birthday suit!

          • Yes, overgrown bush indeed!

          • I may be sarcastic, indeed. But I don’t take extremism to the extreme like many I mock.

      • doodly

        Because his choice pollutes our air for one thing. And it drives up energy costs, and risks a brownout during heat waves.

    • waaaah

      Seriously the best laughs I get every day are looking at the comments on this board and just laughing to myself at all the whiny, know-it-all, pansy b#tches who post on this site. I never comment myself but just felt like today would be my day to b#tch. If Bluemont wants to keep the temperature at 70, 60 or 80 because that is what is comfortable to that person to sleep, relax, or whatever their reason, who are you to say otherwise. Don’t give me this pollution, energy costs, etc, B.S., and if that is the case then maybe you should not use any energy yourself or drive a car at all or whatever. Maybe you watch far more television, or have your computer running 24/7, or less efficient appliances, or drive far more than Bluemont so you are actually the one causing more pollution and driving up energy costs and guess what, your pollution effects everyone too so get over your arrogant, over-inflated self-worth that you have. Much like none of us know your reality and situation, you don’t know anyone else’s either. And if ArlCoTaxpayer has determined that not replacing their windows is the right decision for them for whatever reasons, don’t go around telling them they are wrong because you know what, they are not wrong based on their criteria. Sheesh, it is always the people who preach choice and tolerance who seem to be the least tolerant of others and want to restrict choice and freedom. So go ahead and bash away, because honestly, I don’t really give a crap because this evening I’m going to drive in my evil gas guzzling SUV to my house that has the AC set comfortably for me at 72, throw on the TV and crack a few cold beers and not think twice about any comment made by anonymous internet “bullies” who think their sh*t is ice cream and know what is best for everyone else…and maybe I won’t even recycle my beer cans…ooooohhhhh.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I just saw 150 F6F Hellcats going after Ozawa’s planes during the Battle of the Philippine Sea! Thank you, waaaah!

      • Glebe Roader

        Awesome. Thank you.

      • speonjosh

        Um, waaaah? Who’s waaaahing now?

        You are just incredibly original and insightful to point out that posters don’t know the entire situation of other posters. SO. WHAT?

        It’s the nature of the medium. We comment on what is in front of us. Now, we don’t have to comment at all, that’s true. But if we do, then all we can do is take what is there at face value and move on. Sure, maybe there is a good reason for setting a thermostat at a given temp. Maybe there is a good reason to not replace windows. However, REGARDLESS of what those reasons are, they are still wasteful decisions compared to making other decisions that are designed to save energy. That’s it. Taking offense is like taking offense at someone pointing out that driving drunk is a bad idea. It’s bad for you, it’s bad for those around you. To get pissed off and say you’ll continue to drive drunk and damn the “b*tches” who tell you not to is just being self-absorbed and anti-social.

      • doodly

        You pollute my air, you’re damn right I’ll tell you what to do. It’s my air too. Air pollution prematurely kills thousands each year and is causing an epidemic of childhood asthma. So tough it out.

        As for windows, I’m not “telling” anyone to do something, just discussing how it might be in their interest. Get over it.

        • Rick

          You missed the point where you pollute too

          • doodly

            Wait, I pollute too?


            So tell me where I said nobody should ever pollute.

          • doodly

            Let’s not play this game.

            Pollution isn’t the problem – energy inefficiency is. Polluting more than is necessary to be comfortable, in other words. Pretty simple concept. Using more energy than necessary not only pollutes, it wastes your own money. You can do that if you want – it’s your money – but it’s not your air. It’s shared, and you have a responsibility not to consume more than you have to.

            Simple stuff you learn in kindergarten.

          • esmith69


          • You better not get on an airplane or in a car to take a vacation. We all know vacations are not something you have to do, but are certainly nice and comfy and relaxing. We’d can’t have you polluting the shared air for something nice and comfy and relaxing can we?

            Your flight to an island destination to relax may the equivalent to an outdoor laborer hard working Joe turning his A/C down on hot days when he is home because it makes him feel good.

            Who has the right to judge either???

          • Josh S

            If the actions have negative externalities, then they can and should be pointed out.

            You use the term “judge” as if we’re talking about judgments of somebody’s character. Not so. Or that there is some implication that the one pointing out how certain activities come with negative consequences means that the one pointing out is better than everyone else. That’s ridiculous. Of course we all use fossil fuels. We can’t avoid it. But we all have to live with the consequences.

      • MC 703


      • doodly

        “Sheesh, it is always the people who preach choice and tolerance who seem to be the least tolerant of others and want to restrict choice and freedom.”

        This is the best part.

        The anti-liberal talking points are so lame. “You preach tolerance, but…” No, I don’t preach tolerance. I am very intolerant of fatasses who pollute the air far beyond what’s necessary to get around, for instance.

        Where you get the idea that I’d want to force someone to replace their windows is beyond me. Maybe you should stop ranting and start reading.

        “not think twice about any comment made by anonymous internet “bullies” ”

        If that were true, you wouldn’t have posted a response.

      • Rick

        I hope those empty cans go right in the trash!

        • Throw plastic away instead. It has a higher energy value when it is burned for power.

      • esmith69

        I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it…just because something such as refusing to recycle or willfully wasting energy is not illegal, doesn’t mean you should still do it.

        Contrary to what Fox News may want you to believe, electricity does NOT grow on trees, and its generation by utility companies has consequences. There’s no reason to waste it.

        • Agreed, although I hardly think Fox News is telling anyone electricity grows on trees. Wait a minute…… you are one of those extreme extremists!

        • Bill Nye

          No, but you can get electricity by burning trees to heat water, which makes steam, which spins this rotor-thingy, etc.

    • For one, I like to keep my dog cool. He can’t properly cool down in the breeze of the dog park with all those pesky kids running around.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        LOL!, O.B. you are on a roll today!

  • Webster

    Telling people where to set their thermostat: because it worked out so well for Carter.

  • Arlwhenever

    A whole house fan is a cost effective tool for controlling electrical use and reducing cooling bills during the summer months. Purchase and install costs are reasonable; installed fans little electricity (about one-tenth as much energy as air conditioning).

    In 5 or 10 minutes a whole house fan can suck out the extreme heat that accumulates when the air conditioning is turned off while residents are out on sultry days. That hastens the cooling process and reduces the work that air conditioning needs to do to further cool a house. Late and early in the air conditioning season or during mild weather there are days when a whole house fans brings in enough fresh air that air conditioning need not be used at all.

  • charlie

    i don’t want Dominion in my house.

    for argument sake:
    Summer Temps in my house: 75 away, 70 home
    Winter: 58 away, 62 home

    I like it cold. It will average out. I’m never sick in the winter. Going to 75 the last few days has made it very hard for the house to get back to 70 at night. so I adjusted and the day is 74. If it isn’t 70 at night, I will be snarky the whole next day on ARLNOW.

    Winter is 58 because the windows are kept open most of the winter — Ronald Reagan told me to keep a window open for fresh air and long life.

    i also drive a full efficient car, have a sustainable yard, raise my own veggies, don’t wear brown flip flops and certainly don’t spend money on coffee and drive less than 4k miles a year. We all make choices all the time.

    • doodly

      Um, isn’t Dominion already in your house?

      A programmable thermostat is a simple way to save alot of money without having to always adjust the thermostat, and you have complete control. It’s a no-brainer.

      • charlie

        absolutely no brainer — i have programmable.
        just don’t want dominion programming it.

        • doodly

          They don’t.

          The Smart Cooling thing is different.

      • Pedantic and Semantic

        It’s called a “turn of phrase.” By saying “I don’t want Dominion in my house” the poster was really saying they don’t want Dominion to have control over his HVAC, which they would have under Smart Cooling, even if there wasn’t a Dominion presence physically in his house.

        For another example of a “turn of phrase” or “expression” consider that when people say they want the government to stay out of their bedrooms, they don’t really mean that there is a government representative standing next to their bed. What they are saying is that they don’t want the government to enact laws that would seek to limit citizens to pursue whatever activities they want in their bedroom. Typically, the activities these people refer to are sexual in nature.

        I hope this has helped. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

    • esmith69

      Charlie, I applaud you for your eco-friendly choices and wish more people did as you do. Even I think 58 is a little low in the wintertime, but if you can stomach that, more power (no pun intended) to you.

      Unfortunately, I think you are a rare breed among those who share your mentality of “let me control the thermostat how I want to”. You’ve actually thought out how your actions affect the environment….sadly too many other people let the talking heads tell them what to do.

      • doodly

        The world is full of people who say they’re opinion is independent and thoughtful, while the opposite is “letting the talking heads tell them what to do.”

        • waaaah

          look in the mirror much?

          • doodly

            Sure, every morning when I shave.

      • charlie

        58 isn’t low if you have the right person next to you.

        oh, and i don’t listen to FOX or WTOP..

        I don’t understand how people aren’t more aware — especially those with kids who are going to inherit this place from us geezers.

      • I wouldn’t mind setting the thermostat at 58 in the winter time if I could collect all the deforested trees from Arlington and burn them in a wood stove to keep my house warm.

  • Here’s an idea. Let’s stop paving over all of Arlington (maybe too late…) and keep some trees around for shade. Asphalt and concrete hold heat, while grass, shrubs, and trees help keep the temperature down.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      +10, Overgrown Bush.

      Example – across the street from my house, there was a big house on top of a hill with tons of trees, literally woods. Those trees shaded the houses across the street for years, and helped keep them cooler. Nine years ago, the owner had to go into assisted living and sold the house to a developer, who promised all the neighbors to keep most of the trees for shade, beauty, etc.. Guess what? 95% of the trees cut down and gone, 5 McMansions on my street and 4 on the next street over replaced the trees. Ticked off everyone on my street, not just me. So my house and several others on my end of the street get a lot more exposure to the sun than before, so it takes a lot longer to cool down and keep cool.

      • Yep. It is happening all over Arlington. It just isn’t the same place I grew up in. I don’t mind change, but I can’t say this is good change at all.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          You said it. When “the woods” as we called them were still there, my house and the others across from them didn’t really get hot in the summer until early afternoon, in fact, except on the hottest days, when my dad was at home, he’d usually leave the A/C off in the mornings and open up the windows until his asthma got so bad that he had to keep them closed. With “the woods” gone, the house starts heating up by mid morning. Same thing with all the neighbors on my side of the street that were across from “the woods.”

          • charlie

            replant. those trees were big but they weren’t that old.
            Arlington was denuded of trees for the civil war.
            check out your neighborhood from 1962

          • doodly

            Asthma, huh?

            Hmmmm. Coal-fired power plants, emitting particulates that make asthma worse, to produce power for air conditioning.


          • Webster

            Wow, that’s a new low even for you.

          • doodly

            No, it makes perfect sense. Pollution contributes to asthma. I hope people think about that connection for those who suffer from asthma today.

          • doodly

            Oh, dear god, just saw the “euthanize” comment.

            What ridiculous insane lengths people can go to.

            All I said was that polluting beyond what you need to contributes to asthma, so you could get a programmable thermostat, etc. That’s telling you to turn off your AC and euthanize your dad? Jesus, get a grip on yourselves.

          • Webster

            What about polluting less than you need to? Does that contribute to asthma too?

            And we all know what you meant by your snide little comment. Shouldn’t you be out slashing some Hummer tires somewhere?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            My dad’s doctor told him to have the house air conditioned, he had it so bad that he almost died from an asthma attack before the house had A/C. That was 1982. With the A/C and medication combined, he lived to pass in 2009 when he was 88. Would not having my house air conditioned and having him die in 1982 been a better choice?

          • Jackflops

            1961, I’m so sorry for your loss. Clearly, you did the right thing for him.

            (Ignore the thoughtless taunts from safe behind the veil of anonymity.)

          • doodly

            No. Nobody is saying don’t air condition your house, are they?

            I’m just saying that today, many children suffer from asthma due to air pollution (a proven link) and if everyone took simple steps to save energy – steps that don’t cause them any less comfort at all and save them money – asthma would be less of a concern.

            Why is that so controversial?

          • doodly

            And jackflops, it’s not a taunt. It’s an expression of sympathy for those with asthma, which has affected my family too by the way.

          • doodly’s arguement is better suited for lobbying the government to give out air conditioning units to those who don’t have them than it is to telling people how to use the devices which make life more comfortable.

          • There’s a coal fired power plant right down the street, for sure.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Jackflops, you, like Overgrown Bush, are what I would call a gentleman in the complimentary sense. I wonder if these from aways on this thread would have advised me in 1982 that I should “euthanize” my father since his “suffering made him useless and unproductive”, so leave the house un-air conditioned, let the heat finish him off ’cause we can’t “pollute” you know. The comment made above by the individual that I responded to came across as common and offensive to me. That person may not have intended it that way, but I’ve had enough of people telling me how I should live my life.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            P.S. Overgrown Bush and Jackflops….to set the record straight, my dad had a programmable thermostat installed when the house was originally air-conditioned and had it replaced with a new one a few years before he passed. And he was into recycling and doing other environmentally friendly things long before he died, too.

      • Energy Hog

        So you see, other people’s choices do indeed effect you.

        • Miriam Webster

          They affect you as well as having effects upon you.

      • ed

        So you guys want to lecture other people how to live their lives re. cutting down trees, eh? You sound like rad enviros.

  • Concerned

    Think of the energy savings involved if “doodly” didn’t feel compelled to offer his opinions on absolutely everything he knows nothing about.

    And be sure to check out his opinions about Arlington’s neighborhood reconstruction project.

    • doodly

      If you don’t like my opinions, ignore them.

  • JamesE

    Anyone that leaves their cable box, modem, router etc in stand-by mode is wasting valuable power and truly a monster who should be put down. I also recommend hand washing and drying your clothes if you care about the future.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Remember Orwell’s “Animal Farm”….it went from four legs good, two legs bad to four legs good, two legs better.

      • doodly

        Um, yeah, any law or regulation is bad because it could be taken too far some day. Nice slippery slope there.

    • There is too much coal ash in the air to be outside at a clothes line! Are you crazy!?

    • doodly

      Gee, the “let’s take things to ridiculous extremes” comments are coming out just in time.

  • JimPB

    — How many Dominion customers are participating in D’s “Smart Cooling” plan that allows D, through a wireless single, to shut off power to a customer’s heat pump or A/C (but not the fan) for brief periods during weekday power peaks? This is a good way for customers to save money on their bills AND to reduce the demand for electricity that can result in expensive new power plants.

    • The technology is in place to have this kind of control locally, without Dominion controlling it. They should propose a locally controlled system that, when put into automatic mode, can regulate the interior temperature based on the exterior temperature. I think more people would participate if they could choose what day they want the auto mode and what day they don’t. I believe, overall, load shedding would be greater if they would offer this kind of system.

  • JimPB

    — How many ARLNow.Com viewers are doing the two quick, easy and effective ways to reduce their power use and its cost — turning up the thermostat (each degree higher means power savings of 2-5%) AND closed drapes and blinds when the position of the sun would otherwise result in solar heating?

  • Like You, But Smart

    All this back/forth reminds me of something:

    A few years ago, a neighbor around the corner e-mailed me to ask if the wife and I had ever considered replacing our back-door porchlight with a programmable one. (We normally turned it off once we got up in the mornings.)

    This busybody a$$hat who was so concerned with OUR environmental footprint had just expanded his house–in which he was the SOLE occupant–by at least 1000 SF and owned two cars at the time–at least one of which predated any emissions regulations.

    So here’s this hypocrite sitting alone in his ginormous 4000 square-foot house with his two cars–oh, and I nearly forgot to mention his obnoxious, hideous decorative neon-lit ornaments on his front porch, no doubt consuming tons of juice–b**ing about our back-porch light.

    Physicians, heal thyselves.

    • Maybe he just didn’t want the light shining into his window at 3 a.m. when he was trying to sleep.

      • Like You, But Smart

        Then he shouldn’t have built a huge towering extension onto his house. Because his original house wouldn’t have had this problem. (Besides, there are these things called blinds. Also, shades. Also, curtains.)

        • Those things would ruin the view from the new tower.

          • R

            I’m sorrry but you should be ashamed of yourself for leaving your backdoor light on all night because obviously your neighbor couldn’t have just used blinds to block out your light because most likely electricity from coal-fired plants would be used in making the blinds which are probably manufactured by exploiting the labor of people in thrid world countries, then trucks that spew horrible noxious emissions are used to ship them, oh and don’t forget that it is the evil big oil companies providing the fuel to power those trucks for shipping and they probably drilled for that oil in the ocean and recklessly spilled oil into the water. So all because of your selfish behavior countless children are developing asthma, horrid conditions in Indonesian sweatshops are perpetuated, baby seals and other cute ocean creatures are dying from being coated in oil, and as all completely indisputable scientific evidence proves, in 2014 all of us will be forced to live like those people in the god awful movie Waterworld because of rising sea levels due to global warming, er, I mean climate change. I hope your happy with yourself! Just turn off your damn backdoor light and the world will be all rainbows and unicorns and happiness!

          • Jackflops

            Haha! Yes, I am truly evil. Kevin Costner—shudder.

    • doodly

      Yes, you should be responsible for your own footprint and not someone else’s.

      • Me

        Seems to me you’re awfully concerned about other peoples’ footprints.

        • +10

          Disclaimer: By posting this message I realize I’m energizing monitors, switches, and routers throughout cyberspace thus using energy unwisely. I apologize in advance to those I have offended with my needless and wreckless behavior.

          • Me

            To cut down on e-waste, I’m personally going back to smoke signals. Of course, that could mean burning trees, which are sacred, so I think I’ll use some of that coal from the nearby coal-fired plant.

  • speonjosh

    As to windows –

    Even the Empire State Building decided that replacing the windows made sense, as part of a major retrofit designed to save money and energy.

    Of course, being the ESB, they were able to do things like save the glass itself and reinstall it into the new window frames. Also, it was a holistic retrofit, which involved upgrades to the heating and cooling systems themselves, etc.

    It’s a great story about a property owner taking the steps to upgrade their property to make it more energy efficient while preserving its historical aspects as well.

  • Maria

    It’s so nice to see everyone having a rational, mature discussion without resorting to scare tactics, exaggerations, and name calling for once!

    Oh. Wait.

  • Frank

    Well, I skimmed through the many comments here, so forgive me if this has been covered, but during my skimming of the comments it seems to me that something really important has been missed by a lot of the commenters wrt energy loss – and that is the subject of Air Infiltration. Typically this is the biggest component of energy loss, although by no means the only loss. In many houses, even newly built houses, this is by far the largest loss of energy, equivalent to an open window (or more) of energy loss. Sometimes new windows and doors make a big difference because they are quite often a source of air infiltration, but they are not the only source (not even close to the only source). There are a lot of sources on the ‘net that discuss this subject, but one i will pass on is finehomebuilding dot com (subscription required for most of the site), as well as Building Science Corporation. I will just pass on my experience, living in a house that was built in 1944. With around 2 saturdays of time, and somewhere around 8 cans of spray foam and some scrap drywall, I was able to cut my utilities by 50% – perhaps a bit more than in a more modern house, but I had a similar experience in my previous house, a townhome built in 1989. By sealing air leaks I was able to cut my utilities by nearly 40%. If you are concerned about energy efficiency I suggest you contract with a “blower door” contractor. For a very reasonable price they can tell you just how much you are losing to this problem, and more importantly where you should spend your limited $$$.

    • How do you feel about emitting the CFC’s into the air from that spray foam? Poor penguins…..

      • Josh S

        Your comment is about 25 years out of date. There are no CFCs in that spray foam…..

        • Sorry. How do you feel about emitting isocyante vapors into your home and subsequently the environment? Same point.

          • Josh S

            Which is?

            Guy tells a story about taking action to improve his home’s insulation and thus save money and energy and you want to talk about the components of the foam insulation?

          • Yes, because the incrimental amount of energy he is saving saves that much coal pollution. Yet, taking the action creates pollution as well. In fact, the incrimental coal pollution from somewhere out in West Virginia is likely going to impact you less than breathing the isocyanite vapors.

            Now, if you are wearing your isocyanite mask you might have an arguement. Although we could discuss how it took energy to make the mask and what happens to it in a landfill…. on and on and on…..

            That’s the point.

          • Josh S

            Well, I think you are mixing scales a bit. If I’m a homeowner with leaky windows, I take steps to solve that problem. Adding insulation solves the problem. Unless you are huffing the insulation, I think you’re probably OK from a human health standpoint.

            Now, we step back and contemplate the comparative energy savings of a well-insulated versus a leaky home and the energy required to manufacture the can of insulation. There are obviously many unknowns, including how much longer the home will remain standing, etc. I don’t claim to know the answer. However, taking the guy’s word for it that he’s saving 50% compared to what he used to spend, my money is on the energy savings being greater that whatever it cost to make the can.

            I note that you refer to coal pollution in West Virginia. This makes me suspect we may be talking past each other. I haven’t been talking about the kind of pollution you can see. Particulates in the air, sulfur dioxide that causes acid rain, smog – that’s not what I’m talking about. Curbing those things is important, surely, but stopping or weakening climate change is far more important and it doesn’t matter where the carbon dioxide is burned – it affects all of us worldwide.

            Finally, as far as the incrimental change that is made by any one of us making a decision this way or that. No doubt. No doubt you are right about that. And in fact, given the fact that our world is but a speck in the context of the galaxy, let alone the universe, all of our actions are of, shall we say limited importance. But I don’t think this is reason for inaction. Otherwise, it’s reason for no action at all – might as well curl up in a ball now and blow away.

  • Vik

    Doodly is absolutely right. If you bother to point out any sort of waste or reckless behavior, you’re automatically an extreme liberal tree-hugging environmentalist to some people. They will assume you think a certain way on every other social, political and economic issue and reflexively take the opposite, just for spite. With a populace like this, I can see why Congress isn’t getting anywhere right now.

    A lot of these HVAC contractors and building engineers are right-of-center and don’t drive Priuses and would be just as quick to point out some of these tips and make us aware of easy ways to reduce energy and some of the more common mistakes people make. It’s just too easy to take a post about this and use it as a diatribe against the opposite political movement.


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