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How low can you go?
March 12, 2007
10:56 pm
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Hey all,

I just got my hydro bill -- wow, I'm really happy to see that compared to the same billing period last year, I used only an average of 5 kwh per day compared to 7 kwh last year. That's 28.5% less energy!

This is the billing period in which I have replaced a few incandescent lights with compact fluorescents, unplugged a few rarely-used appliances with clock readouts, and been more conscientious about turning lights off... so it's great to see that it has had a tangible effect.

However, I still don't know how my usage compares to other single people living alone in apartments. Maybe in days to come, that will be general knowledge and people will be competitive about boasting how low they have gotten their usage. (Does not apply to people who have gone off the grid and are using solar, wind or geothermal energy already.)

Next up is biting the bullet and downsizing my fridge... look for a really energy-miserly model. Can anyone recommend one?

And does anyone care to see my 5 kwh and lower it??

March 12, 2007
11:15 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Wow, Kroika, good for you!

I have just used the freeze in the dark model. I just let the house be cold, except for one room, where I live. Maybe I could do even more.

March 12, 2007
11:24 pm
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Hi WD,

You old freezer-in-the-dark, you. (Wasn't there a song about that? "Freezers in the dark, exchanging glances...." no?)

Yeah, I understand the draw of that. I'm a bit that way myself, and my dear ex A is. But, reading George Monbiot reminded me that the majority of spoiled consumers just aren't willing to freeze in the dark; and at this point that isn't really necessary. There is so much that can be done to maintain a comfortable way of life, just being more efficient.

I will let you know about the fridge. (Please anybody with info on that, please share!)

So.... how many kwh per day do you use?

March 12, 2007
11:58 pm
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Matteo
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Love the title, sounds so dysfunctional! I have no idea how much energy I use per day. I tried to save by installing electronic thermostats; I lowered the temperature in all rooms, but had to accept complains from other household members about the cold. Besides, my joints don't tolerate it very well either. Freezing in the dark is not the way to go for me, for I would get sick and depressed. I use a lot of hot water as well. Still, I should have some savings, but I will know how much only next year. I might recycle old bills till that time, though.

The one thing which I am saving on big time is the amount of garbage. You can be pretty amazed how much you are able to recycle if you really apply yourself. I have at least 2-3 times more recycling than garbage every week and if I would be able to compost, the amount of garbage would be much smaller, but unfortunately it is impossible.

By the way, can riding a bike compensate for the usage of electricity and hot water? Does it count as saving/not polluting in total?

March 13, 2007
12:51 am
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Hi Matteo,

Heh heh, yeah, I was hoping that thread title would lure folks out of curiosity... and that maybe they'll stay and give some thought to ways to reduce their energy footprint without f'ing in the d. (another song comes to mind "freezing in the dark" to the tune of "coming through the rye". Hey WD, look what you started. It's those musical vibes of yours...)

But anyway!

Yes, Matteo, you've brought up two excellent points. One is that most of us have no idea how much energy we consume in a day. Meters are not in easily accessible places, and even when you manage to find them, they're hard to decipher. Here in North America, the monthly (or whatever interval) bill is usually the only time you get an inkling, in hard figures, how you're doing.

I'd like to see that change. I gather that some places in Europe, there are moves toward having meters in easy to read formats, in a prominent place in the home. We are so far behind... but meanwhile, that could at least be a starting point. Find out how many kwh you use in an average day. Knowledge is power; knowing where you are helps you measure the progress to where you're going.

Second point, is that biking is great for the atmosphere (not to mention way better for your body)! Also using public transit. And I'm sure there are ways of generating numbers to express how each mile (or km) biked or bused saves compares to miles driven. However, the hydro bill reflects energy used in lighting and heating specifically, which I believe are the largest energy expenditures in northern countries. And that's the one I have a number for, for myself.

Ultimately you are right, it's the combination of all the things we do that gives the most meaningul info about our ecological impact.... but since I got my hydro bill today, I thought I'd start there.

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