Systematically Reducing Energy Consumption

The research guyNo Comments

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My wife and I moved into our house about three years ago. It was an energy guzzler. We considered Solar, but with the number of years to get to break-even, we thought we should first look at whether we can start by reducing waste first. And, of course, being a researcher at heart, the only way to gauge the extent of our success is to track it!

Using the data pulled down from P&G, our utility company, I reformatted the data to focus on cost (since that is what we cared most to control). I used the iPad Numbers App, because I wanted to see what it was like to chart in Apple’s spreadsheet program.

First, our change over to LED and compact florescent lights (CFL) has made a difference. We found the payback from our old school lights to LED on sale at $10 a piece is within a year for those rooms or lights that are on almost all the time (like our Kitchen, and entry lights). Even the $80 LED dimmable can light replacements will pay-off faster than solar.

The CFL is much less expensive — it is easy to find a deal for $0.99 lights. I don’t like these lights as much, because of the mercury and they seem sort of ugly. But, from an ROI stand point, they are hard to beat. The other thing that is an good ROI is getting the kids on board for conservation. (Kids please turn off your lights when you leave for school in the morning). Though, that is tougher to get done than it sounds!

While electrical cost has dropped a lot, gas has not moved much. This is mostly driven by winter heating. And, our next step will be to look to better insulation. The cost has dropped a little, which was probably our switch from gas range to an electric induction range. (iPad App Note: Numbers was kind of a hassle to get the data selection for charting, and to get the colors I wanted. I wanted the color to be consistent for the year across the charts, but gave up after a few minutes of trying to get Numbers to cooperate).

Conclusions: Faster ROI will be found by controlling energy costs with investments like CFL/LED and better insulation, and conservation compared with adopting solar.

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