Kill-A-Watt – Revisited
Since I wrote about receiving a Kill-A-Watt for Christmas last year (see blog post “Kill-A-What?”) I have been bombarded with a slew of inquiries about our progress. (OK, really, one guy asked! But I didn’t even know he was a reader, so it was still cool. Thanks Mark!)
You may recall that I was driving my wife crazy by plugging in the Kill-A-Watt, seeing how much power the device was “stealing”, and then shutting it off. We now have power strips all over the house. In that way we can shut off things like the TV, but leave the cable box with the DVR powered up so we don’t miss Lost; or I can power down my home office but leave the printer and the print server active (yes I AM a geek and we have a home network with more computers than people!). We learned (uh, I learned) don’t shut the power off to the cable box in the bedroom, it takes 10 minutes to reboot and by the time its ready, Letterman is done with his monologue.
So how are we doing? Over the last three months we have reduced our monthly kilowatt usage by almost 17% when compared against the average of the last four years (weather corrected, of course). That’s pretty good, I think. It equates to about a 12% reduction in our bills. Rates have gone up. Oh, wait, let me correct that. Rates have not gone up (they are quite proud of that) but a bunch of extra fees have been added on top of the rates.
My goal was to reach 20% so that we would offset the 20% surcharge we pay to have 100% Green Energy. While I haven’t quite made it to that level yet, it is in reach. I think wrapping the main heat duct in the basement (it’s the warmest room in the house) and wrapping the hot water pipes might push us over the top.
Meanwhile, its spring and my mind has turned to our yard and yard work. I recently purchased a (used) Neuton Lawnmower. The Neuton is a battery powered mower…no gas and MUCH quieter. It even comes with a trimmer attachment, so theoretically I will be able to do my entire yard without burning any gas and for pennies in electricity. I can’t wait to get out and do the first mow. (However, as I write this it is 40 degrees and yesterday it snowed! Maybe by the weekend!
Other yard projects include a small wildlife habitat, complete with native grasses, plants and shrubs and my wife’s favorite…ground cover for some little critters (maybe those chipmunks will move out from under the deck)! In the meantime, it’s more topsoil and mulch than I care to think about at the moment.
Final touches for this year, includes a couple of rain barrels (if approved by the HOA) and perhaps a couple bald cypress trees.
I will let you know how it goes…but you know, if you aren’t doing anything a couple Saturdays from now…beer and burgers at my place…did I mention that top soil and mulch?
I’m there! Just make sure the Beer is cold and the Burgers are done mooing!
Mooing? Why not use a cow instead of an atomic mower? With some patience you’ll then get Burgers, garanteed organic & home made!
And what about those “Chicken Igloos”? http://www.omlet.co.uk/homepage/homepage.php
[Quote: My goal was to reach 20% so that we would offset the 20% surcharge we pay to have 100% Green Energy]
Actually, I wasn’t aware that utilizing 100% Green Energy was an option! Is that per utility company? Would you mind writing a little about how you learned about that? Sounds interesting! And the more people who get involved in that type of idea, the less expensive its bound to be…
Yes, it is utility based. Many utilities companies offer their customers the option of buying some percentage of their power from green sources. We happen to be on IPL and we can select from 10% to 100%. For 100% it is a 20% surcharge per killowatt used. (Oh by the way, you still have to pay the levy for NOX emissions, but that is another post 🙂 ). We learned about the option from a message on our invoice, but there is information about it on their website.
Frankly, I do not know how it is regulated or accounted for in the background so that I know that 100% of my power comes from green sources. My understanding is that it is an aggregate and the utility must provide the IURC with documentation that shows x% of their customers bought x% of their power from green and the utility as a whole generates or purchase x% green power.