My Electricity Eco-Challenge

About two months ago I received my power bill, (here in Qu├ębec they only come every 2 months), and saw that in the previous 2 months, (April and May), we had used 1800 Kilowatt-hours of electricity. Since we are trying to reduce our costs around the home I resolved to try to reduce the bill as much as possible.

In order to reduce my electricity consumption I did a few things. First, all my room mates left for the summer, (one left at the end of April, halfway through the previous bill, and my girlfriend left in the middle of June, 2 weeks into the new bill). However, my sister was here for 2 1/2 weeks. By having fewer people in the house I knew that I would have a smaller bill, but I wanted to take it further. I changed the light bulbs in my office to compact fluorescent bulbs, (that light is on almost all day). Most other lights in the house that get a lot of use already have fluorescent bulbs. Also, I used only the low energy cycle on the dishwasher and I made an effort to turn off any lights that I wasn’t using.

I stopped short of changing all my bulbs to compact fluorescents for a few reasons. First, cost. Compact fluorescent bulbs are expensive and I didn’t want to buy a lot of them. Second, they take up to two or three minutes to achieve their full light output, and fluorescent bulbs wear out faster the more you turn them on and off so if I put them in rooms that I just pop into to get something the expensive bulbs will wear out faster and not give much light when I’m using them.

Finally, I went away twice during the last two months, so no lights or hot water were being used, and no laundry or dishes were being done.

Now, the results: my new bill arrived today and in the past 2 months we used only 1180 Kilowatt-hours. That’s a 620 kWh or 34 percent reduction in electrical consumption! I know that it’s a bit false because there were so few people here during that time, but it’s still a great reduction.

For the future we’re going to try to reduce electrical consumption further still, so even when we have everybody living here again we, (hopefully), won’t consume as much as we did last year. Our next step now is to reduce phantom loads as much as possible. Post another update in two months.