Quick update on energy use:
This week, I got my second electric bill. Unlike the last one, it reflected a full month’s use, so a comparison was a little difficult. But, based on the assumptions I made in my initial post that I would use 312 KWH and spend $37.44 on electricity, I have made progress!
From August 16-September 16, I used a total of 255 KWH and my bill (for energy, not counting the carbon offsets I purchased) came to a total of $30.50. Yay progress!
No worries, I’m not stopping here. We can always do better.
Here’s how I accomplished the decrease so far:
1) Less air conditioning. I pretty much regulate the temperature in my house on the very threshold of comfort. My thinking is that the only way to adapt to a particular climate is to experience it (within reason, of course) so I run the AC just enough to decrease the humidity and keep the temperature mostly uncomfortable. I’ve also given up running it when I sleep. Honestly, it wasn’t doing that much good anyway.
2) Turning off my computer during long absences. If I know I’m going to be out for most of the day, there’s no reason to leave the computer on. Same for sleep. And I don’t just turn it off, I turn off the power strip on this side of the room, which also services the printer and two reading lamps. I have another power strip in the kitchen which services another lamp, my cell phone charger, and my electric kettle. Not in use? Off. Appliances and chargers which are plugged in still draw small amounts of energy and can increase your bill.
3) I cook large meals 2-3 times a week instead of every day. Not only does this appeal to my natural laziness, it reduces the overall amount of energy I use cooking (cooking a 2-3 serving meal doesn’t use much more energy than a 1 serving meal). I also limit my oven use, since that creates the most heat, which then requires cooling during hot months. Hey, half the time I don’t even want hot food.
I’m going to engage in these activities as often as possible to keep my carbon footprint and my energy bill low. See? Everyone wins. A healthier planet and more beer money for the poor graduate student.