52%, 55%, and 78% reductions - check out the numbers in the attached two slides!

10 years ago, significant efforts to reduce energy use (kWh and kW) began with a comprehensive energy upgrade. This included addressing insulation defects, additional air and duct sealing, replacing the heating system and AC system, and the addition of efficient appliances.

Bruce and Andrea Ceniceros, and their children, Annika and Kira have all been part of the team effort to manage their energy use in their Sacramento, CA home. In early 2014 two steps, the addition of 3.1 kW PV array and replacing the home's natural gas water heater with a heat pump water heater, contributed to surpassing the home's customized 1000 Home Challenge OPTION B threshold several months sooner than expected. 

Ceniceros_Energy Use - Time_03-19-2015.pdf

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  • Bruce, congratulations!  The 1000 Home Challenge is not designed to be easy to meet.  You're setting a nice example of how to do it with buy in from your family!  Please do keep us up to date on how your water heater behaves over time. :~)

    Yours,  Larry

    • Larry, Could you provide a comment on the Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) results and info shared at the Dry Climate Forum? Who in CA is testing the CO2 HPWHs? Did anyone have info to share on the HPWH that are one head of a minisplit? Seems like Mitsubishi was working on that in collaboration with a US water heater manufacturer.

  • Congratulations to Bruce and his family!  How wonderful to have a focused conversation around the dinner table to keep the family motivated towards THC goals.  Even more exciting to think that your kids are talking to other kids and perhaps sparking an interest (or perhaps curiosity) with their families.  Way to go in setting a fine example -- well done!

    I'm curious about your natural gas usage.  Is it just the furnace or does it include cooking or clothes dryer?

    • Bruce - How many therms do you estimate that your gas water used, and how many kWh do you think that your heat pump water heater uses?
    • Thanks, Chie.

      Our gas use is mainly in our gas furnace. Although it is a 95% AFUE condensing furnace that is right-sized (35,000 BTU/hr versus the previous 100,000 BTU/hr model), we keep the house a comfortable 70 degrees in the winter. The other gas appliances are a clothes dryer and cook top, but they only use about 2 therms per month total.
    • Nice!

  • Kudos Bruce & family for achieving such exemplary energy use. Are your SMUD colleagues sufficiently impressed?! I'm interested in your heat pump water heater, as water heating (with a natural draft gas storage WH in the center of the house) is our biggest load. Is yours located in the living space, and if so, how well does that work - noise-wise and cooling-wise?

    Keep up the good workJudy

    • Our Vaughn HPWH is located in the garage, where the cooling is welcome in the summer when it would otherwise get pretty hot in there. It doesn't seem to make the garage more than a couple of degrees colder in the winter (still stays at 60 degrees or above).

      The compressor and fan can be heard in the house only when the house is quiet--mainly in the bedroom above the garage, where a low level hum seems to conduct through the wall to which the water heater is earthquake-strapped. Overall, it is considerably quieter than an air conditioner, but I would not find the noise level acceptable if the WH were located in the house. My wife says she would not find the noise level acceptable if she had to sleep on the room over the garage herself, although my daughter has never complained. Maybe other models are quieter?
    • You might consider installing Roxul's acoustic batts, which are not for thermal insulation and provide excellent sound attenuation. (http://www.roxul.com/residential/create+a+quiet+home). We're planning on doing it for our house when we install the HPWH. It will be in the mechanical room and not next to a bedroom, but we'd still prefer it not to be a problem. 

      Congratulations, Bruce! Wonderful job and inspiring for those of us who are still working on our projects. 

    • Yes, Bruce, please answer the noise question.  I hadn't considered that, and it could be a deal-breaker, since ours is also located in the center of our house.  Did you also have to run a separate circuit (20 AMP?) from your breaker box?  These are the costs that really add to any fuel switching project.  Thanks!

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