Update: Energy update!
We are nearing the end of October and gearing up for a winter of fun family adventures!
Now that we have spent a month of so living with our sustainable upgrades it’s time to take a look at the raw data.
Goal 1: Upgrading LED lighting fixtures
We chose to replace the mismatched lighting fixtures throughout our house with new fixtures featuring adjustable spot lighting and efficient LED bulbs. We replaced 8 major fixtures in our house (Kitchen, Hallways, Bedroom). Sustainability for our family means not just energy efficient but practical. When we bought our house, the first thing we did was replace all our bulbs with LED, but they were not giving us the right kind of light in the right places. They were the wrong tool for the job, the wrong fixtures with the wrong bulbs in wrong places. We had changed our layout doing some renovations so we did some rewiring moved stuff around and created a much better environment in the process.
The electricity used to light a home like mine accounts for about 5-10% of my electricity use-age. Now I was not expecting a dramatic reduction in the amount of energy used because I was switching from LED to LED. Where we’ve seen the most dramatic improvements has been in our life around the house. So I was expecting flat numbers, but we actually saw a small improvement!
Below is some exciting date showing the kilowatt/hour usage as listed on my energy bill. We installed the lighting during August.
June – 284.00 KWH
July – 270.00KWH
August – 245.00 KWH
September – 254.00 KWH
October – 264.00 KWH
August – 261.00 KWH
September – 265.00 KWH
October – 315.00 KWH
So we are seeing a small but exciting decrease in energy use of about 20-40 kw/h per month, which works out to a dollar or two a month in savings. Now that we’ve seen an improvement in our energy bill just from the exchange in fixtures, I think it will motivate us to see if there’s a few more pennies to be shaved off!
Looking back over our bills has been very interesting. The other change that we made that has made the most impact on our bill was upgrading to newer energy efficient washer/dryer. Actually the month before we replaced them we saw a huge spike in both electricity and natural gas as we ran the malfunctioning washer/dryer harder before it finally broke. The following months saw a considerable drop.
Goal 2: Water & Natural Gas
Our other major upgrade was our kitchen sink & dish washing system. The faucet we chose uses an system that aerates the water so that it’s flow is reduced by about 30% but still maintains good pressure. We also chose a washbasin and drying rack to complement the sink. This change has made me much more conscious of how much water I’m using, and I’ve made efforts to reduce water usage whenever possible, use cold water instead of running the tap until it warms up. My gains in this department are once again small but encouraging. I’m not sure the data from my bill is fine-tuned enough to give me an accurate picture of my results. But I have noticed a decrease of about 1 cubic metre of water off my bill. Which works out to about $1.80 a month. Which might not seem like much, but it adds up over time! That’s like an extra $20 in my pocket every year.
Being the end of summer, my heater has been mostly off so my natural gas usage has been way down. Based on last years numbers I’ve seen a very small decrease in usage.
The improvements I’ve noticed have been small but measurable! Which is actually very encouraging. Nothing got worse, which is even better! The energy efficiency gains are real and that’s something we can build off of which is exciting for me! Summer is the hardest months to measure these gains, we naturally use less lighting with longer days and with warm weather our furnace is off. The real challenge is over the next 3 months as it gets colder, the days are shorter. We will use more electricity and natural gas of course, but now we are motivated to maximize our gains over last year and go from saving pennies to dollars!