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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Saving Energy

I would have been REALLY proud this year if I had played some role in getting Dennis Kucinich elected president. Instead, he got 3% in the Michigan Democratic caucus, and zero planks, give or take, put into the national Democratic platform. So I guess that I'll have to settle for something a bit more personal--that I've cut my electricity usage by over 50%. The chart below shows my usage over the past two-plus years. Note that my October total (actually for Sept. 21 through Oct. 20) is the lowest on the chart, except for January 2004 (which I think was a correction for misreading my meter in December 2003--probably both months should have been around 400 kw-h). I believe this October total reflects three major factors: 1) My general conservation efforts over the past year--compact fluorescent bulbs, putting "phantom loads" on power strips and shutting them off when not in use, switching for a desktop to a laptop computer; 2) Finding out what my biggest energy hog was during the summer and early fall, the dehumidifier, and running it much less often; and 3) my two solar panels. For most of September and much of October, I was able to power most of my TV watching and stereo playing from my solar-charged batteries. I also used a solarpowered 12-volt DC fan instead of a 120-V AC box fan for air circulation. Adding my second, larger solar panel is probably the main reason for the drop from August and September. The next bill may not be quite as good, since we've had a lot of cloudy weather lately, and I've been running the furnace on occasion. Even though it's a gas furnace, it has an electric fan which uses a lot of watts. Anyway, I guess the chart below and this blog are probably the two things I'm proudest of from 2004 so far.