After figuring out our [baseline electricity consumption](http://green-change.com/2008/11/07/baseline-water-and-electricity-usage/), we were mortified to see how much electricity we use. I had honestly thought our usage was about half of that amount.
So, where are we wasting electricity?
We have over 30 50 watt halogen downlights throughout the house. They use a lot of electricity, and we’re pretty slack about turning them off when we’re not using them. We also often leave a couple on as night-lights for the kids, in case they wake up and need to go to the bathroom or something.
Our hot water system uses a lot of electricity (10-15 kWh/day). Sure, it’s cheap off-peak power, but it’s still a lot of electricity.
We have an old fridge down in the garage. It’s mostly used for storing milk, juice, beer and wine. Given its age, it’s probably not very efficient.
We don’t turn off appliances like TVs, videos, computers, etc at the wall. I’ve read that standby power use can be significant, so maybe they’re contributing. We also often end up with multiple TVs turned on and nobody watching.
The kids often use the high-power bathroom heater lights instead of the normal light. They often forget to turn it off when they leave the bathroom, too.
We don’t use the clothes dryer very much at all, and we only run the washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full. We don’t have an air conditioner, and we use gas for heating and stove-top cooking.
I can’t think of anything else that would be using significant electricity at the moment.
From the above list, it’s pretty obvious there are several things we can do to reduce our electricity use. I’ve begun investigating alternatives to our halogen downlights, and we’ve already started replacing normal incandescent bulbs with CFLs. Turning off lights in empty rooms needs to become more of a habit. I’ve also got a power meter, so I’ll start measuring how much electricity various appliances are using.
Ally and Rich
Sounds like you’ve done a great job identifying the high energy using culprits. The old second fridge, electric hot water and halogen down lights are quite common key culprits, and likely to be responsible for the bulk of the excess energy use. You’ll make a really noticeable change by getting onto those guys! Good luck!
Ally and Rich
I think so too. The biggest problem I have is what to do about the off-peak hot water system. It’s not that old, and it seems wasteful to junk it and spend a lot of money on a solar system. Can the tank be kept, and maybe a solar heater added to it or something?
Maybe it’s fate that the Solar Hot Water Information Night is coming up in Gerringong next week!
We use even more than you do Darren 🙁 Just had solar hot water installed, so cannot wait to see the next bill. The rebates made it affordable. We also have down lights everywhere. That is another job to change them over. We run a cool room for our business – can’t do much about that I am afraid, but are planning to replace the electric stovetop with gas and I would LOVE a combustion stove for winter.
Will watch this with interest thankyou.
Hi Elizabeth! Yep, it’s a challenge. I’ve started researching the downlight options, and it looks like replacement with 240v CFLs will be the cheapest and most effective way to go. It’s a lot of work crawling around in the roof, though!
I love what you guys are doing with the pigs. I wish we had someone like that near here. I’m shopping for a chest freezer at the moment so we can buy bulk meat and freeze surplus from our garden.
After installing a gas cooktop, my following electricity bill was less than half. Do you think it was a coincidence??
@Sonia: I’d be surprised if an electric cooktop was using half your electricity, unless you cook a lot of stuff for long times. But they do use a fair bit, so I’m sure it was a big contributor to your lower bill! Did you do anything else during that time to reduce electricity use?
We’ve got a gas cooktop, which we cook on every night, and we haven’t even used up a full bottle of gas in the 18 months or so we’ve been here. When we used gas for heating as well (at our old house), we’d got through 2 or 3 bottles a year I think.
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