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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Great Kilowatt Challenge

Written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

This is a repost from my personal blog regarding an energy challenge (which only started on Friday 18th Nov), that  I have set up to help folks save money on their electricity bills and to lower their consumption.  For those who would like to join and save a few bucks, please pop on over to this series of post.  I will provide a little update each fortnight during my Co-op posts as well.



Most of the readers of my personal blog will know that the initial motivation to change my lifestyle was because of my awakening regarding climate change and the fear of the impacts that it will have on my children and unborn grandchildren.  I wanted to (and still do) make a difference and this blog is a testament to my behavioural change and subsequent journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Lately, I have had many personal conversations regarding energy efficiency and energy auditing due to the legislation of the "Clean Energy Future Act 2011".  People want to understand the impact and how they can reduce their electricity bills.  It is about this time during the conversation that I usually ask them if they have monitored the outcomes of any of their energy efficiency actions to date.

Most look at me weird?  I repeat the question in a different way, and say "Do you read your electricity meter?".  The reply, more often than not is no, and they state that it is read for them by the power company.

Usually the conversation turns to me explaining how and why this is a good thing to do, even on a weekly basis.  I believe strongly that one cannot manage an action if you cannot monitor and evaluate the outcome of that action.  You may think you are making a difference, but how do you really know that you are.  Facts are our friends, and cold hard data are worth their weight in gold when it comes to implementing an energy efficiency programme.

When I first started had my green epiphany, I took weekly meter readings for three years running from 2007 to 2009 and still have the data I collected and all fully trended.  However, even I have let this behaviour slip and have not read my meters for a while.  So I want to get back into it again, so that I can see if anything has changed and to calculate my current carbon emissions and expenditure on electricity, natural gas and water usage.

So I put this proposal to you all.  Who would like to join me in an energy  challenge?  We will only begin with grid Electricity as most folks have it connected.  Subsequent posts will be about the following;

how to read your meter, the quick basics about electricity terminology, how to manage the data you are collecting, documenting your energy baseline for the first week, and then launch into an energy efficiency programme. I have an MS Excel spreadsheet that I designed that will help out.  For those who don't have Excel, Open Office or Google docs will suffice.  I will guide you all the same.

The posts for the challenge will be over four weeks and at the end of each of the four weeks we will post the total percentage of electricity reduction we each have made.  It should be good fun, and I hope that we can all achieve a big reduction in our consumption.

I also have another request.   In an attempt to spread the word about this challenge, please post about this on your own blogs (if you have one) and get as many people as you can to join us - every person who joins will add to a greater reduction.  Re post the button above with a link back to this post (it is just a picture) wherever you can, to highlight the fact that we all giving this our best shot.

Please let me know if you're joining in via a comment below. I will be here to help you out along the way.  After all, I haven't nearly completed a Diploma of Carbon Management this year for no reason at all.  I will be putting my learning to good use in this challenge.

Remember that not only are we doing this for the kids, but for our own hip pocket as well.  You can shout yourself a nice lunch with the savings!


4 comments:

Dani said...

Good idea Gavin.

I used an Owl electricity monitor to discover how much electricity we were using on any minute of the day. It was scary! (If you'd like to see the Owl, it can be found here: http://ecofootprintsa.blogspot.com/search/label/Owl)

We are a family of 3 who work from home, with 2 daily staff members.

We have managed to cut our consumption by 60% compared to a year and a half ago.

We only switch the geyser on for 1/2 hour prior to showering. The stove is permanently off - either my two plate gas stove, my hotbox, my solar oven, or the barbecue do my cooking. With the two plate cooker I use 9kgs of LP gas every three months.

The electric kettle, too, has been ditched, and a whistling kettle on the 2 plate stove heats our tea / coffee water umpteen times a day.

It's not hard to cut back on your electricity consumption when you are aware of your daily use - you just have to be willing. :)

Unfortunately, we are not able to sell any excess energy we may produce back to the power company, so very few people live off grid in this country. I live in hope that this situation will change...

Candi @ min hus said...

I'm up for giving this a go, although I have been trying to cut my usage and seemed to have reached a plateau. Great challenge idea tho!

notherethenwhere said...

I'm not completely sure how this will work in an apartment where I can't read the meter, but we could use some more energy cuts around here, so I'd be interested in giving it a go.

Rinelle said...

I'll be watching these posts, though I'm not sure how much more we can cut our electricity usage at the moment. Our average is hovering around 14kwh a day. Some days we are much lower, other's much higher.

We have a meter inside our house that also shows us how much we're using at any given time. Ours was installed by the Climate Smart people (a govt initiative here in QLD). Definately a bargain at $50. Was quite interesting to note that things like my washing machine only used their maximum kwh for a portion of the time that they're running.