Electricity Summary

Goals:

  • Good: Reduce electric need to under 16 kWh/day average, including charging one plug-in hybrid vehicle; from reduced carbon footprint sources.
  • Better: Reduce electricity use to under 10 kWh/day average, supplanted with on-premise generation.
  • Best: Full on-premise generation of electricity for all needs based on renewable sources; and have left over for a community electric car charger.
  • Non-goal: Reduce electricity use by externalizing demand or increasing use of mains water, natural gas, etc.

Measuring Techniques

These are indirect measurements – they measure how much electricity you use, not its environmental impact. For example, house A may use twice as much as house B, but if house A is signed up for renewable-source power generation, but house B is not, B’s environmental impact will be drastically higher. That’s why your first step is to research how to sign up for clean power with your utility.

Improve Supply

You can fortunately tell most utilities to supply you power bought from renewable source generation (wind, solar, etc). If this is available by your utility this is the FIRST thing you should do to reduce your footprint from electricity use.

Demand Areas

In rough order of importance:

  • Fan for House Heating (our heating is natural gas.)
  • Electric Car (Plug-in-hybrid) (22%)
  • Fridge & Freezer
  • Washer & Dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • House Lights
  • Workstation (7%)
  • Internet connectivity & phones and other “must have always on” gear 5%
  • Cooking- Burners, Oven Microwave (1.5%) & small appliances (toaster, blender)
  • Miscellaneous phantom loads
  • Entertainment Center & Home Audio – seldom used.

Decreasing Demand

  • Program thermostats well so the heating uses less fan electricity (Post)
  • Use natural light
  • Unscrew/unplug bulbs & lamps that are not useful or nice.
  • Maximize appliance use (i.e. fully load washer, dryer, dishwasher)
  • Experiment with less workstation monitors

Increase Efficiency

  • Change Bulbs (Post)
  • Maintain Appliances (clean fridge coils, clean heating filters etc).
  • Change Appliances

Smart Controls

  • Auto Off  (Master-outlet controlled) Power Strips (post)
  • Auto off timers/outlets (post)
  • Occupancy sensor/timed light switches in garages, closets, etc.

Common Myths

  • Appliance and light bulb spike when turned on adds significant electricity use
  • Your cooking methods change your direct electricity use significantly

Quick wins

Relatively cheap & simple things you can do to use less:

  1. Program your thermostat (get one that is easy to manage), and be agressive about dressing appropriately and needing less cooling/heating.
  2. Minimize appliance use (full dryer/dishwasher loads, use cold water clean, avoid dryer if climate allows).
  3. Clean fridge and freezer coils.
  4. Change for LED bulbs that are used a lot of the time

Big wins

Significant investments that show drastic results:

  1. Improve the insulation of your home, especially attics and crawlspaces.
  2. Change appliances -refrigerators, dryers, furnaces- for newer energy-efficient ones.

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