Monday, September 3, 2007

Let the Challenge Begin!!!

Today is the first day of our electricity challenge.

Meter readings last Monday were 21322.8 for regular electricity and 3230.2 for hot water.

Meter readings today are 21452.0 for regular electricity and 3256.8 for hot water.

That makes our usage for the week:

Regular - 129.2 or 18.45 units/day average (3.69 units per day per person)

Hot Water - 26.6 or 3.8 units/day average (0.76 units per day per person)

That's already a LOT better than our last bill but a dramatic drop was expected. This is our much lower usage time of year than winter.

I'm going to attempt to read the meter around 8am on Monday's for continuity. I'm not sure what time last Monday I read the meter so we're not exact here but close enough.

One of the things I'd like to get done over the next day or so is compile a list of suggestions for things the kids can do to reduce our electricity usage.

Here's what I've thought of so far:

* Turn off lights if you're the last person to leave a room.

* Open your bedroom curtains instead of using the light.

* Dress for the weather (If you're cold - add jumper, socks, beanie etc. If you're hot - find shorts, t-shirt etc).

* Wear clothing (not underwear) more than once if it's not dirty. Hang or fold it when you take it off so it doesn't get creased. This will reduce the use of the washing machine and iron.

* Every time we open the fridge door, cold air escapes and the fridge motor has to run to cool it down again. The less amount of time it is open, the less cold air will escape. Try to decide what you want before you open the fridge. Avoid standing there staring and letting all the cold air escape.

* Watch less TV. Go outside instead of turning the TV on. Play a game, do a puzzle or find something to do other than watch TV. When you do watch TV - make sure you turn it off as soon as you're finished.

* Keep your showers short so we don't use as much hot water.

If anyone has any other ideas I can add to this list for the kids, please let me know in the comments section. :-)

Also, can anyone tell me what kind of store might stock those timers that are waterproof? I'd like to put one in our shower so DS can time his showers - he seems to get in a daydream in the shower.

So, the challenge is on! It'll be interesting to see what the coming weeks bring. :-)


Ali said...

You'll certainly find it interesting auditing your electricity! The list for your children is great, I can't think of anything else for it :) I'm not sure about the waterproof timers ~ my daughter daydreams in the shower too!!

I've been doing it daily for the past week and taken note of how many loads of washing I've done, tv & computer usage etc. and those little things really do make a difference! There are 3 of us in our house and we average 10 units a day in total for main power and 4 to 5 units for hot water.

lightening said...

Wow Ali - 10 units a day sounds excellent. What size home do you have?

Ali said...

our home/living area (not including garage) is about 160 sq m. We don't use heating of any kind. Our bill will be higher in summer as I can't go without using fans or the air conditioning ~ hate the humidity here!!

Kez said...

I got our timer from Bunnings, so any hardware store might be able to help. HTH!

lightening said...

Thanks Kez - I'll try that. :-)

Lisa said...

My shower time is a "ripple" brand that I got from a homewares store. I just googled the name after I saw a picture in a magazine. Mine is blue star shape and seems to have survived well...I think it is close on two years old so it is going well. Also has a clock on it.

lightening said...

Thanks Lisa. A shopping I will go. :-) Googling hadn't even occured to me either - doh! LOL.

Ali - Sounds like we have similar size homes. Wish I had your power usage though. I do run 2 freezers and a large fridge. Wonder if that makes it higher? Oh well, we'll see how we go with the challenge. Not expecting to get down to 10 units a day but any improvement is better than none.

willow said...

To save buying a special timer you could always use your kitchen timer in the bathroom (outside the shower!!) or the stopwatch on a mobile phone.
Enjoy the challenge you've set yourself. After measuring our electricity usuage monthly for almost two years, we are down to 8kWh / day and I think we've levelled out now.
Its difficult to make comparisons though as it depends so much on your own individual circumstances, number and age of chidren, climate, time of year etc. I found it more satisfying to try and "beat my own figures" than to try to reach some arbitrary goal.

lightening said...

Thanks for the suggestion Willow. I'm thinking about it more. I do want my 9 year old to be more aware though and if he can see the timer that might help.

8 kWh a day is great!!!

I agree with the "beat my own figures" idea although I do find it interesting knowing what others have managed to achieve.

Ali said...

we run a larger fridge/freezer as well as a smallish chest freezer and a bar fridge full of homebrew!!

My hubbie is an electrician and he says unless the fridges/freezers are opened frequently they won't use heaps of power as it's the compressor that uses the energy.

Anonymous said...

Another suggestion but not so much for the kids if you have Air con. Make sure that filters on air conditioning are clean before you start using them for summer. Also I think that you already mentioned that you have energy saver light globes.

Make sure that the coils etc at the back of fridges are dust free too. Maybe check your electricity suppliers website to see if there are any other hints and tips to cut down power usage.

I found an hourglass type sand timer at Woolies which has a suction pad that sticks to the glass on the shower. My kids get one *run* of the timer or I use my beeping timer and leave it on the vanity in the bathroom. They still need chasing to get out of the shower though.

Good luck with your challenge.


lightening said...

Ali - thanks for the tip about the freezer. One of my freezers is kind of a "back up" freezer which I use when I buy bulk meat so I'll have to watch I don't often it more than necessary.

Priscilla - thanks for the reminder about the air con filter. I'll try and remember to check that tomorrow. We vacuum it periodically but now and then it can do with a good wash. Our air con is reverse cycle so gets used a fair bit.

I couldn't find a timer so told DH he might have to find a way to attach an egg timer to a suction cap for me.