Friday, May 6, 2016

My Up-To-Date Energy Usage Histories

This is an update of my post More Tracking Of Electricity Usage , dated 11/19/2014. Data is from my own home, and is intended first, to show utilities that better feedback to customers can inspire energy conservation. A longest-possible timeline is needed to see and understand usage change. My usage changed dramatically at end of 2011, where I replaced an electric clothes dryer with a natural gas appliance, and continued to reduce electricity usage: with upgrade of all lights to LED downlights, with elimination of CRT computer displays and with move-out of a boarder. It is nice to see confirmation of all of this sudden economy.

The charting of electricity usage including billed amounts adds important information my utility might not wish me to see, that with base charges, my economy is not fully rewarded. The bill will stay above $20 per month, whatever my usage. It is right that I should know this, and that I might then question too-high base charges.

I find no inspiration in the historical usage bar chart contained in my April, 2016 monthly billing.

I said this in my earlier post:
What I really want, and a purpose of this post, is to inspire utility companies to offer better, routine, reports to inspire customers. 
That is still my intent.

My natural gas usage also changed dramatically in 2012:

The big decline is despite new demand for the gas clothes dryer. It is not a result of lifestyle change. I have always been thrifty, leaving the thermostat at 55°F or less except briefly bumping up as easiest way of avoiding condensation in the bathroom while showering.

Whether or not I could be an example to others, my charts with visible and persisting change, are what a utility might wish for its customers. Let all utilities offer longest-term charting to its customers, upon request. Requests might be routine at onset of home upgrades with weatherization. Let there be annual followups, utility-volunteered, for such requests.

At 9/18/2017, look further at my natural gas usage as a component of my carbon footprint. I think to do this upon self-assessment , at site , not asking much of me, and rating me at 22 tons CO2 emission per year. I last considered my carbon footprint in a blog post dated October 29, 2009, adding it up to about 20,000 pounds, 10 tons, using a now-censored EPA Emissions Calculator .
I am not at 20 tons. This calculator does not inspire energy conservation. Sorry, new friend retired engineer, who brought this to my attention. 

We need a renewed inspiring calculator. We need an end to hijacking of EPA by polluters/ monsters.

How does my home weatherization measure up in "carbon" significance? Look at annual totals of energy consumption in my home. Here is a current chart for natural gas usage:

Annual totals are a better display of weatherization achievements. Reduction of natural gas usage by more than half is evident, and is sustained. Say my current annual usage of natural gas is 140 therms.

There are 0.00548 metric tonnes of CO2 per 1 therm of natural gas . (Source: U.S. Department of Energy)

Multiply therms by 0.00548, to compute tons, result now about 0.8 tons, and about double that before 2012. I reduce my carbon footprint by less than 10% in conserving natural gas heat, but it does matter, and is painless.

US avg.: In 2014, 67.2 million households used natural gas. Collectively, they used 5.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually, or 730.84 CCF (approximately 748.38 therms) per household or 283.27 CCF (approximately 290.07 therms) per person per household using natural gas. (Source: Energy Information Agency, US Census Bureau.)

My 300 therms per year, reduced by half, is consistent with these census numbers.

Look too at me electricity usage up-to-date at end-September 2017, for "carbon" significance.

It seems that $30 per month at peak each year is what I expect to pay for electricity, based on long history. I regained control of my expenses in 2012, now at $30 per month average, after doubling of the cost of electricity. There is not cheap hydro power for us along the Columbia River, after all.

The simpler picture in yearly totals has its own story to tell, that 2012 conservation, persists. If current electricity consumption is 3000 KWH per year, that converts to carbon equivalent at 1.5 lb CO2 per KWH, 3000 KWH is 4500 pounds, 2.25 tons. This is nearly three times my footprint for natural gas for room heat and that thrown away in clothes drying. This is not welcome news. I want more justified pride in weatherization than in getting rid of an electric clothes dryer and eliminating all incandescent lighting. I am saving about $300 per year of natural gas, and $300 per year of electricity, by my responsible behavior, but the electricity conservation matters much more. These insights are not intuitive. Are you glad that I have shared them? Will someone please learn things with me, and talk with me via post comments?

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