Google PowerMeter showed me I was wrong about something. Well, sort of.
Perhaps you have noticed: I am a little obsessive with my measurement of energy usage. Despite being an energy saving zealot, we still use our electric clothes dryer — perhaps as a rationalization, I had claimed that all those other people saying that we should use our dryer less had it all wrong. I said that this caused people to lose focus of the smaller items, especially the ones contributing to your “baseline” usage.
As I have pointed out, but said more nicely in a great article on PlotWatt’s blog, 100 watts, on all the time, costs about $100 per year for most people (more for us in the Northeast). Over the course of measuring electricity usage with several power monitors, I have reduced our baseline usage from about 700W to around 200W, which saves me a good deal more than $500/year in electricity bills. Finding the little energy vampires like my old Dell laptop which wouldn’t sleep on its own, to the old cable box (replaced with TiVo), to the 2 buttons on my “off” receiver, to the computer server in our hall closet — all eliminated, and all reduced our baseline. Success.
So was the dryer really that important? I have to say, it seems so now. Here is a series of screen captures from (actual) data from my TED 5000 now hooked up to Google PowerMeter, which I can see from my iGoogle home page.
What do you see?
Sunday — 13 kWh
Monday — 13 kWh
Tuesday — 12 kWh
Today — 20 kWh
So what happened today? The laundry. You can also see a similar spike on the first picture on the Saturday — 20 kWh. Guess what happened then? Yep, laundry. So if we keep this up, we’re using an extra 7 kWh on two laundry days a week. So about 13% of our current electrical usage is from the dryer.
On the bright side, our usage compares generally to a 2 bedroom apartment (we have a three bedroom house, 2 kids, the works).