We have had an amazing run of mild weather this autumn and early winter. Even up through Matariki – the winter solstice (fewest hours of sunlight for the year) – we have not needed any supplemental (electric or otherwise) heating for hot water or our living space. This has allowed us to keep our electricity use around one kilowatt hour per day for the last eight months. Our last bill was remarkably low. We used only 23 kilowatt hours in 30 days.
But those “cheap as chips” power bills are likely to hibernate until September, as we face two cold months ahead, and most immediately cool, cloudy weather and rain for the next 10 days. But I thought I’d share some of the best approaches we’ve chosen to save energy and money. From big picture to detail, they include:
Passive solar design: Increased glazing on the north side (toward the equator) for free heating.
Insulation: Holds that heat in at night.
Thermal drapes and pelmets: This is another form of insulation that happens to open and close daily. Mindfulness makes these much cheaper than double-glazing if you are conscientious about opening and closing them at appropriate times.
Solar hot water: Electric water heating is one of the biggest additions to a power bill.
Under-the-bench-fridge: Our refrigerator sips power while many others gulp it.
Compact flourescent light bulbs: This hardly needs to be said, but CFLs use 1/4 the power of incandescent bulbs for the same amount of lighting.
We use heaps of other strategies for saving power, but those will be highlighted another day. Which of these can you implement in your home? What other great energy saving strategies do you employ?
Oh, the sun just came out. Gotta go open the drapes… – Estwing