July 13, 2008

energy usage

I'm trying to solve the mystery of our home's energy usage. You probably think here at casa go green that we have a low amount of energy used. Ha! Looks like we are above average.

I have been analyzing our bills from the utility because I was inquiring about installing solar panels. Our quote for solar was surprisingly high because as our salesperson said, our usage is "juicy."

But I don't get it. We practically sit in the dark at night. We don't have air conditioning (don't need it in the San Francisco fog), our appliances are energy star rated, and our windows and furnace are all new, too. All I can think of is our computer usage may be higher than normal, but geez!

I'd love to have someone from PG&E come evaluate our home, because it just isn't making sense to me. I used their online assessment tool and it was perplexing. It made a nice pie chart of our energy usage and the biggest slice of pie was dedicated to "other", as if they have no explanation for it, either!

What is the average usage for gas and electric in your homes? Tell me what part of the country you live in as well as how many kilowatts of electricity you use each month.


remember that time said...

Is that chart for the year? We live in Wisconsin (used to live in Marin!) and I get the same chart from our local gas and electric co. Our usage for last month was 15 kwh per day but that was high because we were raising baby chickens under heat lamps for 10 days of the billing cycle. We tend to run more in the 9-12kwh/day. Our gas usage in the summer is running less than 1 therm a day (.48 on the last bill). We have central air but haven't used it yet, we have all cf light bulbs, ceiling fans in most of our rooms, and powerstrips on all our electronics that get flipped off at night and when not in use. Your chart usage is pretty shocking unless it's for the year. We had an energy assessment done when we first moved in. It was REALLY helpful in providing information so that we could make good decisions about where to spend money on improvements. Hope you solve your mystery!

mom go green said...

hi sarah,
the chart is indeed reflecting a year's worth of data.
another thing i forgot to mention is that we have essentially 2 home offices, with the equipment that goes with that. we try to be mindful about powering off when not in use, but i wonder how much that stuff can add up to?

Anonymous said...

We're lucky that our home seems to be insanely efficient. Without air conditioning in the summer and with low heating costs in the winter, our power bill is usually relatively low. We live in Eugene, Oregon--which means the temperature is pretty manageable most of the time so that helps.

I love thinking about how to make my home more energy efficient because it's a win-win-win solution that saves energy, money and the planet.

Over at greenbabyguide.com we’re looking for more simple solutions by hosting our first ever blog carnival. Starting on July 24th, any blogger can get a piece of the action by commenting on our “Thrifty Green Thursday” post. Just write a post on a simple way that families can save money while going green. Then comment on our blog including the your thrifty green topic and include a link back to us in your post. We hope you join us next Thursday (and every Thursday thereafter) with your own thrifty green tips

remember that time said...

I think office equipment and tv/dvd player/ stereo equipment can make a big difference. When we switched everything to power strips and turned those off at night, there was a noticeable drop in our electric usage. Computers/photocopiers and entertainment equipment have what is often called a 'phantom draw'. That is to say that if they sit in 'ready mode' still pulling power even when they are turned off. The only way to really turn them off is to unplug them but we're just too lazy so hence the strategically placed power strips that we flip off at the end of the day. I wonder if that would make a difference - even in the dead of winter when we're paying high heating costs, we're not spending as much as you are but it probably makes more sense to compare therms and kilowatts since I think energy costs vary from region to region.

AmazinAlison said...

You should borrow (or buy) a kill-a-watt and see exactly how much your office equipment is draining. I'd also checkout your fridge...you mentioned energy star appliances, but fridges are rated in peer categories, so it could still draw a lot, or maybe it needs its coils dusted, or it needs to be pulled out from the wall a bit for better air circulation.

Great blog btw...just came across you googling something else!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mom Go Green,

I would have no idea how to decipher that nifty little eye catching pie chart either...not sure how that is supposed to show where and how your energy is being used.

If you are using energy efficient kitchen appliances, unplugging your electronics when not in use, AND not using a/c, then not sure how these numbers of energy consumption are not less?

Let me know what happens.