Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This summer I tried an experiment, this was done in a large part because I was completely broke, and tried to limit the amount of gas and electricity that I used.
First, I stopped running all 5 computers in my house 24/7, and turned off the Playstation 3 when not in use. This saved me $40 a month in electricity from the combination of them not using electricity and lowering the need for Air Conditioning.
Second, when my hot water heater exploded (literally) I tried a number of ways to use solar energy to heat the water. This was done to some success but mostly from me and my wife’s stubbornness and taking freezing cold showers (which also saved on air conditioning).
I believe I’ve worked out the kinks of building a solar hot water heater and by next summer I should be able to get 17 gallons of water heated to 110 degrees twice a day solely by Solar Power, using the electric hot water heater only on chilly cloudy days.
By taking these steps to reduce the amount of conventional energy used I cut my usage last month alone from last years 57.6 kwh per day to 32.4 kwh per day a 44% decrease in electricity and I cut my gas bill from $30 per month to $0.
This winter I am planning on building a solar heater that should, if I’ve done the math on the back of an envelope correctly, take care of roughly 10% of my heating costs.
By taking simple steps to conserve energy and take advantage of solar power homeowners could with little effort reduce their energy usage by 5%. (That’s only 12% of what I saved over the year, but I went to extreme measures.)
If consumers reduced their energy bills by just 5% that would allow the US to continue its normal 1.5% energy growth (leading to normal economic growth) for 2 years without actually needing any more energy sources. That would give “green” industries a chance to start-up and start working on a post-oil economy.
In my next post, “What we know Wednesday: Peak Oil” I’ll explain why it is absolutely necessary to move to a post-oil economy.