Friday, October 10, 2008

The Results are in: We met our energy savings goals!

It's nice to know that one family can make a difference.

Last year my wife & I decided to make a conscious effort to do a better job of conserving energy around the house.  We didn't want to do any major home improvements, but we thought we could make an honest effort to do some good.  I wrote a few posts as we identified our goals and built our strategy:

My Family's attempt to conserve energy - and our challenge to you.

Our energy savings plan.

Energy use of household appliances.

We started the process in mid-November last year, so it's been almost a year.  I've reviewed our APS usage in 4 distinct categories:  Total kWh used, Highest Peak kW usage, Percentage of off-peak usage, and Billable charges.  Here are the results:

Total kWh Used.

This was the single most important goal.  Time-shifting is important, and hopefully all our effort would lead to saving money, but the driving force behind the project was to use less energy.

Result:  We used 15.4% less energy than the previous year, trouncing our goal of a 10% savings by more than 50%!

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Highest Peak kW Usage.

In plain English, what was the most energy you needed at any one point in time, during peak hours, during the course of the month?  Obviously the more appliances you have running at the same time, the more energy you'll require at that moment.  This is an important number, because APS uses it to calculate the largest percentage of your monthly bill.  (this means that if you have one bad hour, with everything running and the doors open, you're going to pay dearly at the end of the month!)

Result:  Our average Highest Peak kW Usage was down by over 10%.

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Percentage of off-peak Usage.

This matters for 2 reasons.  A) We have a plan that charges us less for off-peak usage, and B) by shifting our usage off-peak, we're reducing the aggregate demand for Highest Peak kW Usage, which means we're helping to reduce the overall amount of energy needed for our city.

When we started this challenge, our average off-peak usage was 57%.  We set our goal of raising that to 67%.

Result:  We exceeded our goal by averaging 70% off-peak usage!

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Billable Charges.

This one was disappointing.  I had assumed that since we did such a great job of using less energy AND switching our usage to off-peak hours, we would have saved a fortune.  Not so fast, my friend (to quote football analyst Lee Corso.)

Result:  We saved a grand total of $124 over the course of 11 months.  (granted, APS had a rate increase at about this time last year, so who knows what our bills would have been like if we didn't reduce our usage.  But still - I had hoped for better...)

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Bottom Line - it feels good to know that we can have a significant impact on the environment without making significant changes in our lifestyles.  If everyone reading this could reduce their usage by 10%...  Talk about environmental impact!

Your doing his share Realtor,

Chris Butterworth