Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Saving on Energy

Typically, I consider the utilities the last place to look for savings, since in my mind, its practically penny-pinching compared to other expenditures where I could be dollar-pinching. However, in a recent conversation with my parents, I was shocked to learn that my energy consumption last month, 353 kWh, was only about 40kWh more than mine, but they in a much larger place, with many more lights and electronics plugged in.

So what was I doing to use so much electricity?

First, I wanted to know what the average consumption should be. Should I even be concerned about the energy usage? Turns out, both my parents and I are both below the average of 880 kWh per month (International Energy Agency). So in that regard, we are already saving pretty well.

However, I still wanted to know why my energy usage is so high. After all, I spend about 12 hours at work (including commute time), 6-8 hours a night working, and so all that leaves is about 4-6 hours on weekdays and more than half of weekends. Still doesn't make sense.

But then my dad pointed out there was one thing that I was running almost 24x7, my humidifier. And I don't know why that never occurred to me, but it makes perfect sense. After all, a humidifier is a glorified water heater, and I would estimate it probably uses about 100 watts an hour.

Assuming I have it on 20 days of the month, thats 480 hours or 48kWh, or 14% of my monthly energy consumption. That's crazy! I'm going to stop running my humidifier 24x7, and only running it when I'm at home. Hopefully, this'll cut it down to about 20kWh.

Although this is probably a small energy savings, it has really opened my eyes about my energy consumption. And considering at 353kWh, I owe $65, if I could cut half of my energy consumption, I could save $390 in a year.

1 comment:

~Dawn said...

A friend of mine learned how much money can be saved by unplugging her de-humidifier....cut her bill in half!
http://frugalforlife.com/unplugging-to-save-money/