But, until we have our wind turbine and deep cycle batteries, we are using the Owl at home. It has been tremendous. On a daily basis we can see, at any given time, how much power we are consuming, what it's costing us, and how much green house gas our electricity consumption is causing. Each of us, in passing the machine, which is located on our kitchen counter, has said - "wow, we're using that much - what can we switch off?"
The Owl monitor showing (top) energy consumption (the dishwasher was on and (bottom) green house gas emissions
I have kept a spreadsheet of our electricity consumption for the past 3 years - below is a summary of the average electricity consumtion for the month of March in those years:
March 2007 36.414 kWh / day @ 30.05 cents / kWh
March 2008 29.464 kWh / day @ 32.21 cents / kWh
March 2009 22.042 kWh / day @ 47.38 cents / kWh
March 2010 20.862 kWh / day @ 64.44 cents / kWh
Scary to see the price increases - and we have a minimum of 24.8% increase ahead of us - effective in July. But it has been very rewarding to see our consumption coming down. It wasn't that difficult :
- I cleaned out and switched off our chest freezer "(out of date' food tends to collect at the bottom anyway and we have two fridges which both have freezers)
- the number of lights we have on in the evenings have been reduced and all our lights globes have been replaced with CFL's
- our geyser is turned down to 50oC (I still have to get a geyser blanket)
- we stopped leaving sundry equipment on standby
- the pool motor now only runs for an hour in the morning and another in the evening - and the pool is sparkling!
This is all good practice for our future farm living - being more aware of everything can only benefit us in the long term.
And it is educating our son, who still lives at home, about his own future place and the real costs of living.