Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Cutting Down on Power Consumption

DTE, my electricity and gas provider, has a nice web site where I can track my energy usage year to year. Here's my most recent summary:


The January number is a freak; I think they overbilled me in December 2003 (that 715 KWH seems excessive) and made up for it in January. But you can see that I've substantially cut my electricity consumption from the previous two years. (Last year's April and May numbers were higher because my furnace was out and it was unseasonably cold, so I was using space heaters a lot.) Compact fluorescent lightbulbs, putting phantom loads on switchable power strips, and keeping the refrigerator full (ice in the freezer, water in the fridge) seem to be the main reasons for the drop. I also recently bought a laptop as my main computer which draws about 1/4 the power of the combination desktop/monitor I was using before.

All leading up, hopefully, to the purchase and installation of some solar panels and the necessary support equipment--charge controller, inverter, switches. I've already bought some batteries, but I may need more. I'll be going to the Midwest Regional Energy Fair in Wisconsin in a couple of weeks to learn more and maybe buy some equipment.