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Old 04-29-15, 04:23 PM   #1
AC_Hacker
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Default 16 years later...


I came across some energy bills from 16 years ago, and I compared them with current bills that almost perfectly match the months involved.

It is interesting that my electricity use has stayed pretty constant, but my gas bill dropped significantly.

Conservation improvements:
  • Nat Gas central air heating replaced by 3/4 Ton Mini-Split.
  • Tank style Nat Gas DWH replaced by Nat Gas tankless demand DWH.
  • Mix of incandescent and CFL lighting replaced by all LED lighting.
  • Nat Gas cooking replaced by induction cooking (except for gas oven).
  • Occasional air conditioning replaced by ceiling fans (+ mini-split A/C when it is just too dreadful).
  • Poor to no insulation replaced by very serious rigid foam, and some mineral wool insulation... more upgrades still needed.

Anti-Conservation:
  • I still run my Gas oven on "warm" to cut the chill, during the worst winter days.
  • I now seem to be running 2 computers 24/7.
  • My sound system is much improved.

So, in the big picture:
My gas heating burden has been almost completely shifted to electric mini-split heat.

My gas use for DWH has gotten so low, that the cost to read the gas meter in the "no-heat" months is higher than my gas use. Since my gas cooking has shifted to induction, this also has a reducing effect on gas and a very small increasing effect on electricity use.

My electricity use has remained the nearly same, despite it being the greatest source of heating.
My insulation jihad is really paying off.

Best,

-AC_Hacker

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Old 04-29-15, 05:25 PM   #2
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This is great!
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Old 04-30-15, 07:34 AM   #3
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I can't go back 10 years as I haven't kept the figures, but I have just been comparing our electricity usage, year-on-year. Giving 2011 (the earliest year for which I have figures) an index of 100 our usage has been:

2011=100
2012=93
2013=76
2014=69

So our usage is lower every year and in 2014 had dropped 31% compared to 2011. Our house is totally electric powered with no gas, and our change from oil to GSHP heating was prior to 2011, so these figures are comparing like with like: there is no other energy use to confuse things.
I am happy with a 31% drop but I think there is potential to get it a lot lower. The big mystery though is how we have got it down so much because there have been no big projects to account for it, just lots of little things.
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Old 04-30-15, 08:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDMCF View Post
...The big mystery though is how we have got it down so much because there have been no big projects to account for it, just lots of little things.
I like the way you presented your information in the form of an index, makes it much easier to see the improvements.

What were some of the "little things" that you did?

-AC
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Old 05-01-15, 03:53 AM   #5
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Good job bringing down the therms while keeping the power flat. I always like to check my monthly power bill usage to the same time of the previous year. Its quite satisfying to see it go down consistently for the last 2 years. Once you've achieved moderate efficiency it really is the sum of all the little things that add up. I think most of us here have found out there's no magic bullet to super efficiency without attention to detail and lifestyle change.
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Old 05-01-15, 09:06 AM   #6
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Interesting thread!

I dug up my own data and reformatted it a bit. I really liked SDMCF's way of looking at it, but mine jumped around too much due to huge swings in heating requirements (my largest energy usage by far). So, I added a HDD (heating degree day) column to show how cold each year has been. kWh includes my electricity and gas usage (converted).

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Old 05-01-15, 09:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC_Hacker View Post
What were some of the "little things" that you did?

-AC
The little things are so little that I have probably forgotten most of them. All I can say is:

Insulation
Changed some bulbs
Insulation
Draught-proofing
Insulation
No longer run a server 24x7
Insulation
Set-back period for the heating
Insulation
Stopped running under-floor heating in a WC and a bathroom
Insulation
More care about turning things off when not in use
Insulation
New (more efficient) freezer
Insulation
Cut down the heating in unused rooms
Insulation


That's about it. I keep banging on about insulation even though we haven't done any big insulation projects. We have done several small insulation jobs though and my gut feeling is that they add up to be the most significant factor.
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Old 05-01-15, 09:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
...I really liked SDMCF's way of looking at it, but mine jumped around too much due to huge swings in heating requirements (my largest energy usage by far)...
Daox,

I really gotta hand it to you, you are a record keeping monster!

I looked at your data too... but then I divided KW-hr by HDD, so you get "KW-hr per HDD", and things don't look so chaotic:


When looked at that way, there has been consistant, steady improvement despite the weather, with a slight rise in 2013 and 2014. I guess you've had your mind and energy more on construction than on conservation.

Best,

-AC
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Old 05-01-15, 11:43 AM   #9
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Excellent recompilation of info. That is much easier to read. Thanks AC.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:59 AM   #10
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AC, good job! Our improvements were over a length of time too. All have to be accepted by the wife, but at least she wasn't a hard sell.

SDMCF, I got a real kick out of the post where every other line was insulation! I don't know that it's possible to put in too much insulation. I heard an engineer friend talk about diminishing returns on how much insulation to put in the 8000sf McMansion he was building. He decided about an R value of 30 for the roof and 19 in the walls was plenty. Insufficient return to add more according to his calculations.

Some folks just don't get it. It's like trying to sell the idea of adding solar power to someone. They ask, what's the payback time? I say, "About ten years or less." They nix the idea because it "takes to long" to pay back.

Just like the idea of insulating the thing until you can't put more in, insulation and distributed renewable energy do actually pay back at some point in time. Lack of insulation and buying your electricity from the local utility are a constant drain on the budget.

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