Conservation by numbers. Our numbers.

I love numbers. I love how numbers can tell a story; I love how numbers sing a song, I love that numbers can paint a picture. But the stories told, songs sung, and pictures painted vary. Numbers can be, and very often are, manipulated. After reading this, this, and our power bill for March, I decided to do a little digging.

Nevada Power has a "green power" program which we can choose to support (min $5 each month, but we can give more). This doesn't say how much guilt is allayed on the dollar, but I can pretty much bet it ain't much. See, this is where the money goes. Wow--three whole houses! (Mom, I know you can hear my eyes rolling, but please understand that it is totally justified.) Thankyouverymuch, I will save my ten dollars each month and use that money to buy something useful, like a programmable thermostat or water heater blanket.

On to our numbers: Last year's average daily usage peaked in July and August at 57 KWH and 50 KWH respectively. Staggering, especially considering we are talking under 1100 square feet. In December, the average was 44 KWH, and we were gone for one of those weeks. Then came January, and one small change-- the power strips. Our usage plunged 28% to 31.4 KWH, and continued down to 28.6 in February. This month? Average daily usage of 28.4.

The real test will come when the 100 100's kick in. Last year was crazy, but we have made a few changes (all light bulbs are compact fluorescent, we have all wall warts on powers strips which can be turned off at night and while we are a work). Our goal is to keep the utility bills below $200 in July and August. Don't get me wrong, I would like nothing more than to see our draw below 20 KWH each day, but that will take some changes that may pinch a little. In the meantime, I am glad to see our adjustments paying off.

See, this is what it all really comes down to: each of us making our own decisions about our footprint. In our home, these decisions are made based not only on the economics of the situation, but the idea that we share responsibility for this rock on which we dwell. Do I think it makes sense to consume less? Of course. I also believe that each of us has to come to that conclusion for ourselves.


Anonymous said…
Hey Kelly, Im right up with you on the saving energy...
When you buy a house, invest $500 in a swamp cooler. Your power bill will be below $100 a month like mine in the summer.
The bulbs have also reduced my bill over the years.. Although sadly not all lamps & overhead lights, I have in the new place will take them.. need to shop around more I think.
Anyway, just a heads up on something else for ya.
Wow. I didn't realize the swamp coolers made such a difference. I had considered the portable units even now. I think you have clinched it for me. Lowe's will be rolling them out soon...

BTW, is this THE MEL? The girl from Oz?
Anonymous said…
Yes this is the drummers wife Mel..
Yes I was unsure before i got one also, if it would make a huge difference, but it does.
Lowes has them out already, we just installed ours in the new house.
I had it for 3 years in the last house, and never had a bill over $110 in the summer, even at 100 outside.
As long as there is no humidity, the thing works great.
It paid for itself within 2 years, so now its a bonus.
if you get one like ours, the big one that sits in the window, it has to be hooked up to a faucet outside, and requires alittle assembly depending where you put it.. and a window must always be left open when its running so the breeze can direct through areas you want it to... but its so worth it.
On top of that regular free standing fans can direct it and push it through a house ..
Anyway, im babbling.. im sure you new this.. When we work out our party again, or before, you will see it..
Have a good one.
Liz said…
This is great info to know.

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