Friday, July 11, 2008

Energy Consumption - From Dave

A thought from the editor in chief of SW... we have really tried to stop being such energy hogs and although not all of our appliances are energy star, some of them are relatively new (3 -4 years old) and financially we cannot replace them at this time. We are leaving this afternoon so I hope to have new photos and an update for you by Monday!

OK, back to your regularly scheduled program...

Some quick thoughts about the Renewable power system and where we would like to be.

One of the items I neglected to mention in the previous post was a very helpful tool in gathering the necessary numbers (in order to size the system). I'm sure they are available on the web, but we got our Kill-a-watt EZ P3 from Northern tool. Its a small device that plugs in-line with the 120V AC electronics that you want to monitor. Sure, many of the books or calculators tell you to check the back panel of an appliance which is fine for say a radio or light, however if you want to check the power consumption of an appliance that goes on/off throughout the day, the kill-a-watt is a must and will stay running for as long as you want and continually update itself for current and total consumption. Our 7 cu ft chest freezer is a great example. Over the course of a 24 hour period the freezer (which BTW is in our basement which stays pretty close to 75 all the time) will consume 1 KWH. Multiply that out by 30 days and you've got 30 KWH per month required ;-)
Instead of spending 5X the money on a DC freezer, our intention is to use all 120V AC Energy-star appliances at camp. Current plan is to move our existing freezer to camp and attempt to make it even more efficient 1) by putting it in the stable/lower temps of the basement and 2) building a box around it made of high density insulated foam panels from lowes or home depot. Course we'll keep the vents open so all heat from the compressor is removed but in theory this should help at least a little.
Honestly we haven't done very much in the way of comparison with what the average American household uses for electricity for a family of 4. There is so much info on the web its difficult to know, so we are looking at our own numbers and using our previous usage with our current (more mindful) lifestyle as a baseline. We live in what I would consider a well insulated 1900 sq ft house, 100% CFL's, Oil Heat/Hot water, Well pump, Full Time Telecommuter and some appliances are Energy Star as all the normal things that you would find in any US household (TV's,Video Games, Computers, AC etc). Prior to making any attempts to conserve our normal monthly usage was in the 800-900 KWH per month range. Now that we have replaced all the lights with CFL's, Turned of Phantom loads, and are paying attention to lights and waste, our numbers have dropped to between 600-700 KWH per month. This was NOT difficult at all and we are not sacrificing comfort, we are just not wasting.
Our goal at the camp... 100 KWH per month and 100% renewable. Of course this is going to be somewhat skewed as we're not running big screen TV's, Oil Furnace, Oven, Dishwasher, Video Games, Telecommuting, however that is exactly why we are that we can escape from those things ;-)

1 comment:

The Scavenger said...

You are doing great on your energy consumption I think, we use 12-1400 per month. But I live with a pretty wasteful bunch. lol Your plans sound really good. Look forward to reading more. Dave, You Da Man !!