Here is a picture of my household electricity consumption over the last two years, extracted from my most recent utility bill. This represents my total power usage since there is no gas installed at the property.
Please note that I post this merely to show that it is possible in these times of soaring energy usage where the trend is towards global planetary warming, to personally reduce our impact on the environment. This is not to set myself up as some paragon of virtue in this regard when I fully know that is not the case …but I am trying to limit the damage to the Earth for which I am personally responsible.
Three factors have changed over this period, which have had a marked effect on power consumption this year from the previous year.
- I changed my power plan from a 15% renewable energy one to 100% renewable energy around August 2011. This means that I am paying more per kWh but I have a reasonably clear conscience regarding my energy usage effect on global climate. The energy supplier is supposed to purchase my equivalent energy usage from a supplier producing electricity using only renewable resources. Yes, I know that ‘renewable energy’ is really a complete misnomer and is just as unsustainable in the long term as fossil fuel based energy, but it is better than doing nothing except of course for reducing our energy use to only basic essential levels. This is what the remaining changes are all about.
- I installed Solar Water Heating back in March 2012. I did this even though I am living in rented accommodation on twelve month renewable leases. I figured that if I were to remain where I am for several years then the savings in power consumption would go at least some way towards paying for the installation and even if I was forced to leave for some reason, then someone else plus the planet would still benefit.
- I decided not to install solar power generation tied into the national grid because I wanted a level of security around me that, should I need to move house, or for other reasons require a more mobile lifestyle, I would continue for some time at least to enjoy a level of independent, ‘portable’ power generation capability under my own terms. To this end I have built a 1 kW, solar fed, battery backed power source that I have been able to use to take up some of my daily electricity requirements over the last 6 months or more. It is usable even though not in a finished state at this time. I will at some stage post a detailed review of my system and as I am not an electrician, look out for any helpful hints from others on the way it operates.
A season on season comparison of my power consumption is not easy to make because in 2011 there was an estimated meter reading in July followed by an actual reading in August, resulting in an additional consumption bar for that year. These two bars need to be combined. Also, of course, the differing weather patterns over the period would have had some impact. The May quarter (Autumn) shows around a 50% decrease in consumption. August (Winter) shows at least a 50% drop (2 bars combined). Oct/Nov (Spring) shows not much difference. I can’t explain why that is. February/current (Summer) shows around a 30% drop. Very pleasing overall, with an annual reduction of around 40% average.
…Of course the cost of power has increased over that period, meaning cost to me stays much the same regardless.