Author Topic: How much energy do you consume at home?  (Read 3399 times)

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How much energy do you consume at home?
« on: July 16, 2008, 11:59:33 pm »
I decided to put this in general discussion since paleo man lived with far less energy than we industrialized humans do.  Also, RPDers should consume less due to the lack of energy needed to cook.  I am curious about the size dwelling and the usage.

I live in a 2000 square foot all-electric, single-family, single-story home and consume between 900 and 1500 kilowatt hours (kWh) a month generally.  That comes to 0.45-0.75 kWh per square foot per month.  I would like to give up air conditioning, but it is tough in this hot, humid climate I live in.  It gets pretty cold for a couple months in winter too.  I keep the air at 78-80 in summer and 60-63 in winter.  I hang clothes out until they are almost dry when the weather allows it, then touch them up in an electric dryer.  I have a water well (thankfully), so water is pumped by a motor and stored.  I would like to conserve more and plan to do some DIY projects like a solar water heater, windmill driven water pump, mechanically driven computer (I like the idea of a cycling mechanism so I can pedal and work) and other things like that.  I don't want to spend a ton of money on any of it.

What is your situation like?  Are you attempting to conserve energy?  If so, what are they ways in which you are doing so?

I find it interesting to hear in the media about "needing to heat" or "needing to cool" when many people even recently survived without centralized environmental controls.  Fires were used, but entire buildings were not heated to spring-like temperatures.

Offline lex_rooker

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Re: How much energy do you consume at home?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2008, 01:35:49 am »
I have no idea how much energy I use but I do know that compared to neighbors we use much less.  30 years ago I got rid of the central air and heating.  I put a small 25,000 BTU gas heater on the fireplace hearth and this heats the familyroom and kitchen where we spend most of our time.  I put in a 10,000 BTU window air conditioner and that cools the same space in the summer.  Ceiling fans in the bedrooms make it comfortable to sleep at night and we usually leave the front and back doors open all night (we lock the screen doors) to allow the cool night air to circulate through the house.

I changed out the water heater to a Rinnai tankless.  It's wonderful.  It only heats the water as we use it and we can take a shower, do laundry, and wash dishes all at the same time.  I also noticed a drop in the gas bill of about $10 per month.  There are several brands and all are equally good: Rinnai, Takagi, and Noritz are all highly rated.  All of these are gas so if you only have electric available you are out of luck as far as a whole house unit is concerned.  In our back bathroom we use a small electric instant water heater.  It's very small at about 6"Hx10"Lx2" thick.  If I didn't have gas I'd put one of these at every place I needed hot water (laundry, kitchen, and one for each bathroom)

My wife cooks a lot as she has a large family and we entertain 40 to 50 people several times a year.  I put in an electric double oven and this made a huge difference in reducing the temperature in the kitchen compared to the old gas oven.  I also changed out the regular gas cook top to a couple of Induction Hobs (see picture).  These things are amazing.  The burner never gets hot - it only heats the pan.  You can even spread newspaper over the  top of the cooking element and put your pan right on top and cook through the newpaper to catch all the drips and splatters.  Then just wad up the newpaper when you're done and throw it away.  The burners (or hobs) are rated to use a lot of energy, however we almost never use it.  Rather than starting things on HIGH as we did in the past, we now start on MEDUM (50%) and do most of the long term cooking at 25% or less.  The HIGH settings allow you to do things you could never do on a standard electric or gas burner.  We use the HIGH setting when my wife makes a traditional Grape syrup.  We have an 8 gallon pot where she boils 5 gallons of fresh grape juice down to about 1 gallon of syrup.  On one of the Induction hobs we can bring 5 gallons to a full rolling boil in about 30 minutes.  My wife would never go back to normal gas or electric.

Hope this give some inspiration,



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Re: How much energy do you consume at home?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2008, 10:30:04 pm »
Nice kitchen, Lex.  Thanks for sharing.  And thank you Craig for enabling ALL of us to see attachments!

I remember when I was a raw vegan, my e- bill dropped substantially.  To give up ac in Texas?  Ugh, I don't think so.  One of the larger rooms of the house is without ducting, so that's some help.  And ceiling fans in all the bedrooms really does help at night.  The humidity is high and temps stay in the mid to high 70s, so windows remain shut.  We do have a whole house fan which sucks in air from windows and dumps it out the attic, which is great in spring and fall to cool things off in a hurry.

Anyone who is not cooking want to share?  BTW, I am paying almost 20 cents a kWh this summer.  :(


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