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bragging: lower energy footprint

 
Posts: 267
Location: On the plateau in TN
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urban books food preservation
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I use an avg of 3kwh per day 100kwh per month.
Electric is expensive here $0.22/kwh for production cost + $0.22kwh for distribution cost + a connection/account fee. So way over 44cent per kwh, closer to 50cent for me.  - S Bengi

Great, when I got here and started setting up the even hit me for turn on costs, one utility was $50!  The cost here for running (distribution, supply) is 17 cent per kWH!

Looks like am paying higher costs here for kWH, just looked at the socialist NJ and my running costs were from 14 to 17 cents per kWH (over ~5 years or more).  This table is for my old apt, as I moved out.  date, kWH, total cost, cost divided by kWH.  I started living here in late July and shut of the frig in NJ as last step mopping up as I left.  So the ~24 kWH was the hot water mostly.  I ~never ran electric heat in my apt, was on second floor facing south.

Jun 18 174 $29.88 $0.17
Jul 18 195 $31.22 $0.16
Aug 18 103 $17.36 $0.17
Sep 18 24 $5.81 $0.24

As a nerd, I have been recording kWH, $, BTU/therms, gallons of water (muni).   I used ~699 to 800 gallon per month in roughly the two months in my new house.   The house is ~35 years old ranch.  It was a small mystery why the same cost for muni water each month, when I used different gallons.  Looked into it, and found I could use up to 2000 gallons until the cost changed!  I have two toilets, one economy, one old school.  I already took 2 plastic bottles filled them up with gravel ~half way and the rest water, lowered them into the (old school) tank.  So see still works fine, but I am saving the volume of those two 'jugs' in gallons per flush. :)  I am saving water at the sink, some of the water ends up in two watering cans, along with my urine at times!

Paul W. did an awesome job documenting differences between CFLs and incandescents!  I had one of my lights that I used just like the tester, ~25 seconds on.  The CFL started flickering, I was like what the?  Then I recall it died, so got on the chair, to check, a big store CFL, luckily was a two light, so removed dead CFL and screwed fully in the other unused one.  Yes on lower light.  When I removed the dead one the base of it was pretty hot, ^$#%$^# could this thing burn my house down? :)  Then was sad, I put the dead thing in trash, it is long gone.  The flickering CFL would have been great for Halloween.  But the last one up there might have great timing for Halloween.  Turn out all lights and let it flicker.  :)

The contractors for this house went cheap everywhere, plus half *&&#*# finished with the job.   I have to get on the real estate agents *&&(*& to get him to do the other half.  I got a credit of $4K when buying.  I figure he has spent about $1.4K.

 
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Greetings! I am very new to permaculture. I read a little on the subject during my youth, but those books perished during a flood in 2010, and I've been a pretty typical suburbanite for all my life. I currently work as an emergency dispatcher for my local government. I just started reading "Building a Better World in Your Backyard," and I was intrigued by the Eco-Poser test. I found it to be a simple and straightforward approach for understanding where I need to begin and getting started on this journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Reducing one's electric bill is a gateway drug any Dad in America could eagerly embrace, and then before you know it he's stopped shampooing and drinks raw milk every day.

All that being said, I have a quibble (of course). The average energy bill in terms of dollars isn't a useful metric to me. This is because energy rates vary across jurisdictions, so there's a doubt in my mind that if I compare my bill against the average I'm not really getting an accurate measure of my energy usage so much as I'm measuring how much or how little I pay for my energy, relatively. The usefulness of measuring several different forms of energy (gas, electric, etc.) by expressing them in terms of dollars isn't necessary because my home only uses electricity. This makes it simple for me to look at my bill and see exactly how much energy I am using expressed in kWh.

So, I've decided to do my analysis by comparing my energy usage against the average kWh usage in the United States. According to the World Bank, the average US resident as of 2014 uses 12,993.94 kWh annually, which averages to about 1,082 kWh per month. This is quite a bit higher than the average according to the US Energy Information Administration which is 10,972 kWh annually per residential customer in 2018 or 914 kWh hours per month. I will err on the side of conservation and use this lower number as my measure for the average. Interestingly, the EIA also indicates that residents of my state (Tennessee) have the highest annual electricity usage for residential customers at 15,394 kWh annually or 1,282 kWh per month. Although I don't have any data on why exactly that is, I suspect it might be due to many Tennesseans using electricity for all their energy needs without any offset from other energy sources such as natural gas due to the historical and market forces of the TVA system.

My power company provides a very helpful graph of my total energy usage for the past twelve months. I am consistently below average for a Tennessean, but in terms of the EIA national average I am only below average for four out of the past twelve months. These four months correspond to the four mildest months in terms of temperature: April, May, November, and April again. When the temperature is neither very hot nor very cold, I usually turn off the A/C completely. When I do this, my energy usage isn't just below the national average, but it is easily half what I use in the hottest and coldest months.

This confirms that heating and cooling are indeed the worst energy culprits. It also gives me a goal to work toward, since it's obvious that if I can find better, less ecologically impactful ways of maintaining comfortable temperatures in my home, I'll be able to level-up on the Eco-Poser scale. I assume there will be some sort of shiny badge for this achievement, with exciting and exclusive benefits, which if they were widely known, would result in neighborhoods of wofatis stretching so far and so wide that the McMansions of America would become but a distant memory.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2899
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
265
forest garden solar
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Amber it sounds like your combined Electrical + Heating (electric) + Domestic Hot Water (electric) is 12MWH/yr or 1000KWH/month or 33KWH per day.

That sounds pretty impressive (unless you clarify stating that you also charge your electric car at home 80% of the time, in which case my mind would be blown)
 
Amber Adams
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S Bengi wrote:Amber it sounds like your combined Electrical + Heating (electric) + Domestic Hot Water (electric) is 12MWH/yr or 1000KWH/month or 33KWH per day.

That sounds pretty impressive (unless you clarify stating that you also charge your electric car at home 80% of the time, in which case my mind would be blown)



I wish I had an electric car! I interned with Dr. Cliff Ricketts at MTSU back in the day, so the fact that I haven't built one yet causes pangs of guilt and regret now that I pause to think about it. You are correct that's my approximate electrical usage, with it being lower a few months out of the year and significantly higher during the hottest and coldest months. I've never gone above 1,400 KWH in a month, so I'm winning in terms of my local average. TVA also has a "Green Switch" program wherein you opt to pay $4 per 150 KWH to "purchase" or subsidize solar, wind, and biomass "renewable" energy generation, so for $36 extra I can completely offset even my highest usage months. You can pay these offsets for more energy than is on your bill, so if you wanted to pay enough to offset the fuel you burn in your car, for example, that's an option. I pay the extra $36 currently. There's also a solar program through the Nashville Electric Service wherein you pay $215 to subsidize a solar panel, and receive a "solar credit" on your bill. You can even gift these solar credits to other households. I haven't used that program yet, but it seems pretty neat. I still think it's ideal to try and reduce my electricity usage, though, if for no other reason than it would be more financially sustainable. In my gut, I feel like not using electricity is much better than (maybe?) offsetting that electricity with renewables.
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2899
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
265
forest garden solar
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The avg car drives 1,000miles per month which for an electric car would uses 333KWH (33kWH/100miles). So it's completely feasible for that number to include your driving too.

I am always confused by the solar energy/carbon credits that utility companies trade.
 
pollinator
Posts: 120
Location: North Idaho
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With my 20 some odd thousand trees 40 to 60 feet tall my forests are sequestering about 3,303,000 pounds of CO2 a year or 1,651.5 tons of CO2 per year.  So in my forests I sequester the amount of CO2 per year that the average 83.4 Americans produces.

I am slowly returning my fields to forest as well so each year that amount goes up.

As for Carbon footprint, with a family of six and running a farm our electric bill runs around $105 a month in summer and $120 in the winter.  We produce most of our food so we do not buy a lot of food shipped in from other areas and due to my food allergies and those of our children we never eat out at fast food joints.  We only have to leave the farm once a month generally for the wife's doctors appointments at which time I do all of our monthly shopping and errands.  We drive on average about 150 miles a month including my driving here on the farm.  With six people there is a lot of laundry here, about 40 loads a month, but we air dry our clothes winter and summer, in the winter we use the clothes lines in the house and summer the lines outside, or when it is hot in summer we use the lines in the house which helps to cool the house off as we do not use any kind of air conditioning.

We produce about 1/4 the carbon footprint that the average American does and we sequester enough CO2 to cover our production as well as the average production of another 82 Americans.

This does not include the carbon sequestration of our fields which is relatively low but does sequester a few more tons of carbon each year.  In another 10 years we will likely sequester enough carbon to cover the production of a hundred people beyond our own use.

I admit to laughing a little when I see people bragging about their small CO2 footprint.....  When you get into negative territory I will be impressed a little...
 
Amber Adams
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S Bengi wrote:
I am always confused by the solar energy/carbon credits that utility companies trade.



Yeah, I am skeptical that it actually works at all. I've never been able to shake the suspicion they're selling empty marketing to assuage our consciences, which is part of why I'd rather reduce my energy usage. TVA has never been trustworthy when it comes to ecologically responsible power generation, and their behavior within the last few years is sending some regressive signals. I've often debated with myself whether to continue paying the green power premiums, so I'll feel better with the less electricity I use.
 
Destroy anything that stands in your way. Except this tiny ad:
how do we get more backing of the brk?
https://permies.com/t/145583/backing-brk
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