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Friday, March 19, 2010

Energy Savings Update - March Edition

As far as energy savings goes, this is a big milestone in Lowerfootprint's journey! I received my electricity bill for mid-January through mid-March, arguably the worst part of the heating season and historically my biggest bills of the year. At the last bill and subsequent update, the window and insulation upgrades to the house were just about complete, thus this is the first bill that reflects the entire project's impact on our heating costs.

Needless to say, I'm not at all disappointed. Energy usage for the period was down 28.1% over the same period last year, which over two months of heating is roughly $300. So, how did that happen?

First, the windows and insulation greatly improved the house's ability to hold heat once it was generated. This is clearly a more bang for you buck situation. The longer the heat lasts, the less often the electric radiators come on. Obvious enough.

Second, with all of the programmable thermostats installed, every room was only heating when necessary, instead of an all or nothing situation. The house was more comfortable, bathrooms were warm in the morning, and so on.

Third, we used up about half a cord of wood during January and February. This cleaner, efficient and sustainable heat source did a lot of our space heating and kept the house at a comfortable level while also drying the air and making the house feel warmer.

Fourth, the pop can solar furnace has been working hard over the last two weeks of the billing period. With cool temperatures but lots of sunshine, the solarium has been reaching into the 30C range (yesterday it hit 38C!) and that completely free heat drove the average temperature in the main areas of the house up by about 3C in the early evening when we get home from work.

Finally, by all accounts it was a very mild and reasonable winter. An early thaw did a lot to offset the need for a lot of additional heat. I think it's time to re-program the thermostats for summer mode. Between the longer days and the warmer outdoors temperatures, I think it's safe to rely on the pop can solar furnaces for the rest of our heating needs... with some chopped wood in reserve in case it's cloudy for an extended period.




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