I have been blogging about our energy use and efforts to reduce it for a relatively short amount of time. Today I googled hydro contracts to see how the hydro resellers pricing compares (more on that in a future post) and came across another Canadian energy use blog. I haven’t read all of his (her?) posts yet but it looks very informative. So go check it out http://dontwasteyourenergy.blogspot.ca
As of November, winter Time of Use (TOU) applies to billing rates. The problem is that the peak rate applies to 5 to 7 pm which is a prime time for most households, including ours. It gets dark so lights need to come on, people arrive home so the temperature needs to be turned up on cold days, dinner needs to be cooked, homework needs to be done, etc. Of course there are activities that we can delay until after 7 pm like laundry and the dishwasher but most of the activities listed are non-negotiable. I think it is a bit of a cash grab to make 5 – 7 pm a peak time. The summer peak time makes more sense when residential can adjust their behavior so as not to compete for power with commercial users. I guess I will be bringing out the candles and feeding the kids at 9 pm!
The title is not meant to be an introspective rhetorical question. This is the part where I give you the facts that will guide us through my energy project.
- We live in Whitby Ontario Canada in a detached 2500 square foot house.
- There are 4 of us, myself, my husband, and two boys. One is age 16 and one is age 12.
- Plus one very large Labradoodle.
- We are customers of Whitby Hydro and have been on Time of Use (TOU) billing since June 2011. We can access the hourly usage and download the data to excel.
- I operate my accounting and tax business from home which means that there are computers and lights on during the peak times for hydro use.
- We have an above ground pool with a gas heater and electric pump.
- We have a tankless water heater.
- Our house is heated with gas and we have one gas fireplace.
- Our basement is finished and we have an electric fireplace down there that we use to supplement the heat in the winter.
- We are technology addicted and have 2 iphones, 1 Samsung Galaxy III, 2 ipods, 2 desktop computers (1 workstation and one file server), 3 laptops, 5 TVs, 1 BlackBerry Playbook, 2 XBox systems, a wireless network, cable internet modem and a partridge in a pear tree (just checking if you’re still with me LOL). Yes, the list is actually somewhat embarrassing when its all written out like that.
- Most of our lights are on dimmers. Leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms is a BIG issue.
- We have an electric washer and dryer, a dishwasher, electric stove, fridge, microwave, coffee maker, Tassimo machine, toaster, blender, and other small kitchen appliances that we use periodically. All these appliances are relatively new, with the stove being the oldest at 12 years.
- In the basement we have another fridge which is about 12 years old, a chest freezer (about 20 years old), a treadmill, an aquarium (which is currently not in use), a projector system, a microwave, and a dehumidifier.
- One of the bedrooms upstairs is half over the garage (which is unheated) and has a whole wall of windows that face west. We do not have anyone directly across the street so in the winter there is no buffer to the wind. This room ends up cold in the winter and my son uses a space heater to help keep it warm.
I think that is enough to get us started. I will update this info if anything else relevant comes up.
The next post will be a summary of our usage over the past year and how much it costs. From that I will define some goals to start attacking this problem.
I just received our latest hydro bill. And it shocked me. Our hydro bill has always been high, between a home office, techno addicted kids, and bad hydro habits, that didn’t surprise me. But this latest bill was even WORSE than our last bill. Even I thought we were as bad as we could get before this. So something has to give.
I did a bit of research to see how we can decrease our energy usage and thought this would be an interesting exercise. Just how much money can we save, what are the big hits I can get right off the mark, and at what point will we have squeezed as much out of the exercise as we can.
Now don’t be confused. I am not about to become one of those crazy Extreme Cheapskates people. I am not peeing in a bottle to save $10 in water. But there has to be a stop to this madness.
My next post which I will do right now, will be a brief introduction to who I am and the way the house works now.
Of course, I welcome any constructive input that readers can offer. Again, remember I don’t want any wild and wacky suggestions. And of course, I know the common sense stuff, which is what I am going to try to implement first.