Here’s a chart of our electricity use at home over the last four years, showing an almost 50% reduction in use over the course of four years, saving us $118 per month at our current rate. You can make the same kinds of changes we have — nothing we have done is exotic, and nothing has really affected the quality of our lives.
Conservation is about as un-sexy as it gets; but it works and is easy for electricity. Measuring our gas bill is a little harder, but I have to think we have made some progress there, too. I did a calculation on our water bill, and that one is stunning, as well.
Conservation may be dull, but saving money is cool, and it’s very easy to save a pretty substantial amount. One way to think about saving money by conservation is that it is like tax-free income! Between state and federal taxes, you probably pay from 20% to 50% of your income; if you got a $118/month raise, you would see less thant $100 of it, maybe as little as $59! But if you conserve, it’s tax free income.
We started reducing our consumption in 2005, and I started this blog then. My goal was to find ways that people could reduce a little here and a little there to use just five percent less, and that’s where the name of the blog came from. So, every month, we looked at our electricity bill to see if the things we did had any impact. They did.
In the first month we saw our first 8% reduction, By 6 months we had seen about 27% savings. By June this year we were up to 40% savings, and then we started getting serious, and this September we were up to 45%. How low can we go?
Top Ten List (Drumroll, please…)
Here’s my top 10 list of changes we made to save electricity.
- Get 3 computers to standby and hibernate
- Get a Smart Strip and move most “vampire transformers” to it, unplug others
- Replace computer file server & router with Apple Time Capsule
- Lock out heat in the summer to reduce use of A/C to almost none
- Reduce the number of loads of dishes, clothes by about 20%
- Get an energy-efficient washer and dryer (and keep dryer vent clean)
- Change about 20 of our light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) — here’s my review of the best CFLs
- Figure out how to do without the deep-freezer in the basement; replace only with EnergyStar appliances
- Get a Cent-a-meter PowerCost Monitor
- And, above all: turn out the lights when you’re not using them (or don’t turn them on at all!!!)
What, you were expecting something exotic and dramatic? Sorry, it just works.