Monday, April 28, 2014

Energy savings

I've been doing some home improvements lately and most of those are intended to increase energy efficiency. There's new insulation over the living room and kitchen. I've also replaced most of the bathroom floor and added insulation between the joists.
The weather during the first two weeks of March was warm which meant the furnace was off. About the 18th of that month I started putting the insulation in which I think I finished it about the 28th in the living room and kitchen. That's also when the LED lights went up over the kitchen. The bathroom got its insulation about the 23rd of April when I replaced the sub floor. Here are some of the results.

Propane usage

Our heat, cooking, and hot water are on propane which is very expensive. With the April 7th fill up the monthly average had hit $174.64 per month. On November the 4th the monthly average was $151.94. That’s an increase of $23 per month.
I'd already been trying to do a few things to lower the amount of propane used which is why it had already been decreasing over the past year. On November 4th the average per fill over the previous year was 54.1 gallons, as of April 21 it was 48.9 gallons. That's a difference of 5.2 gallons so far and it will be dropping a lot more for the average, can't believe the last two fill ups were about 30 gallons each (33.5 and 29.8). Anyway, 5.2 gallons figures out to about $10.92 per fill up or about $207 per year which is about 9.6%.

On our electric

I have several years of electric readings available of which there is a little over three years totaled. In 2012 we averaged 12.7 kWh per day, and in 2013 it was 12.5 kWh. I believe most of that small amount of change had to do with our new washing machine we got in early May, 2013. As of December last year the monthly average for the previous year was 383.17 kWh.
Now for what’s happening this year. This last billing cycle we average at 10.46 kWh per day. It was nice to see the bill for $40.95. I'm looking at a 2 kWh per day difference right now which figures to about $102 per year or about 16%.
I'll note the LED lights in the kitchen are about 500 watts of the savings which figures to about $25.50 per year. I'd also changed out the string of lights on the porch but I think they're a smaller amount of savings, they're LED's also.
An interesting note would be that I could get my power from solar panels cheaper than I can from the city grid. The most recent info from the Department of Energy numbers is 11 cents per kilowatt and I'm paying about 14 cents for power from the grid. To hit 11 cents per kilowatt I'd have to use about 800 kWh per month.

Total savings

So far we're looking at the utilities decreasing by $309 per year. Now that number should increase quite a bit through the year. We had some warm weather in the earlier part of March which helped but that month was pretty close to the average. This March was 352 kWh, over the last three years I averaged 360 kWh.
The end of March I finished the insulation and put in some new lighting that's more energy efficient. I was happy to notice in the newest electric bill it was 293 kWh and over the last three April's its averaged 329 kWh. I'll note the only time in over three years the monthly usage had ever been below 300 kWh before was in May 2013.
To put the electrical usage in another light the average daily usage last year was 12.55 kWh, in April it was 10.46 kWh. Basically it figures to 29 cents per day which is about $8.75 per month or a little over $100 per year.
The electric is not the big one, the propane is. An average fill up is down by over 5 gallons which is a lot, almost 100 gallons per year or about $210, a 10.6% difference. I'm happy to say the monthly average is now $170.54 which is decreasing and I'm expecting it to drop a lot further. I'll do another post that updates everything after the new windows are in.
The insulation I used cost about $100. It's basic R-13 batts that's available at any home improvement store. I should see it pay off in four months.
Anyway, the savings is off to one hell of a great start. I was expecting a difference but I wasn’t expecting this much of one. We'll see how close I am but I've begun projecting a 30% total decrease next winter.
I'm going to making a water heater wrap and new insulated door for its enclosure. The stuff I'll be using makes me think of bubble wrap with a reflective Mylar layer. The new windows should be on the house in another month. I believe they're LEED certified.