Now that H and I have lived in this house for a year, I’m curious to see where our carrying costs for utilities ended up. I’m not going to concern myself with things that can be cancelled at our discretion (like internet) but more with things that we can not get rid of unless we move out of this house – mainly electricity and gas (paid as 1 bill) and sewer, water and trash (also paid as 1 bill). Right now, we dont have a fire place or anything like that, so we need to keep paying these bills to make sure that our house is in a livable condition. Since we need to keep paying these, we have started looking into how to keep them as low as possible, mainly through conservation and good habits (like turning off the lights when we leave a room). I didnt want to start looking too early, because I wanted to get baseline data from where we started at so we could easily track improvements.
Right now, our improvements have been pretty small. We’ve replaced 7 lights with LEDs, and about 10 or so with CFLs, but we do still have some incandescent bulbs in lights that are infrequently used (or in situations where the light was replaced and came with new bulbs). We also replaced the bathroom window with a newer, more efficient window but other than that, we have not made many improvements to lower the bill we pay to our electric utility. Once we get most of the higher priority stuff finished (like a door for the bathroom) we will start to move on to some of the low hanging fruit here.
Even though it’s only been a year, we have been lowering our electricity use month over month for the year. We used less kWh in june 2013 than we did in june 2012, by a fair amount, and that should continue to go lower as we make more replacements with LEDs. (As a note, our electricity is provided by our gas provider and we pay them with the same check, but use is broken out separately.) Now that we have a years worth of data on our side though, we are using that to help us focus our efforts even more.
Our patterns from last summer when we were living in the basement will be/are much different this summer, as we are rarely in the basement and spend most of our time upstairs. Most of our lights downstairs were changed out to CFLs and we didnt have that many lights down there to begin with – we spent all our time in one room. We do get daylight in the summer, but there are a lot more bulbs on now than there were when we were living in the basement, so I’m happy that we are using less energy.
In addition to us doing things to try and lower our energy bill, we’ve contacted our utility for a residential energy audit, which they preform free of charge. I have a feeling I know what they are going to say, but it will be nice to chat with the person and get some direction on where to go first. I’ll let you know the results.
Readers: Do you monitor your energy bill every year to see if you’re using more or less than you were the last year? If not how come?