Saturday, April 22, 2006

E-Plan Diet Update

It's been about 210 days since I started my electricity diet, and there has been some successes and some failures.

We have managed to reduce our electricity consumption from 8.9 units per day (average) to 8.24 units, but we have found it difficult to stick religiously to turning off the TV/video stack when not in use. Left on idle, the TV stack can consume about 0.5kWh per day - doing nothing!

The fridge and freezer have used an average of 64 watts - considered an essential, but the TV stack has used an average of 34W, or 173kWh over the 212 days.

I have also had a laptop screen fail on me in January- so I am now forced to use the laptop with a more power hungry CRT monitor, and the computer is on sometimes for up to 18 hours a day.

Our main living room light is still an incandescent - this is because we use a dimmer switch, and having blown up a low energy bulb in a matter of days running it on the dimmer switch, (DON'T DO IT) we reverted to the 100W dimmed incandescent. I am however going to replace the dimmer with a dual light switch, and so have the option of having one lamp or three, in order to get the right level of illumination. 3 CFL bulbs switched on is still less that the incandescent.

We also have a rather wasteful pair of 4 bulb spot light units in the kitchen/utility room. I would like to replace these with CFL bulbs if I can find the correct miniature screw-in fitting. For the mean-time we turn these lights on when needed, and then straight off.

In the course of the last 200 days, we have managed to get a better feel for our consumption pattern, and also identified the main culprits of consumption. It is undoubtedly the low wattage devices being left on for considerable periods of time that use the power.

For example, the TV uses the same energy in the 18 hours of not being watched, that it uses in 6 hours of viewing! Turning it completely off for those unnecessary 18 hours, will half its annual consumption and save you 5% off your typical electricity bill.

Other improvements would be plumbing the dishwasher feed into the hot water -rather than the cold. The dishwasher accounts for about 12.5% of our daily consumption, and most of that is because it has to heat the water to 65 C from cold. We generally have a surplus of hot water, heated efficiently by our gas boiler, so it seems foolish to use wasteful electric heating for the 40 litres that the dishwaster uses.

The gas consumption has however been more of a success story.

The heating from October 1st to April 21st is down from 17809kWh last year to 15367 kWh this year.

This is a saving of 13.7% or nearly £75 off the gas bill!

Whilst we cannot live without domestic energy, I still believe that there is room for improvement, and certain trade-offs could be applied.

For example if we turn off the TV stack religiously every night, and convert the living room lights to CFL, the saving we make will go to power one of our kitchen luxuries - the dishwasher!

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