A year ago I started a project to reduce the energy consumption in my condo. I’ve gone through two keys steps already (Measuring the energy I currently use, and taking steps to reduce the energy used for Heating (HVAC)). My next main area of focus, was on Lighting. Lighting accounts for approximately 20% of energy use, both in residential and commercial infrastructure. In order to reduce the energy used by lighting, I implemented two key upgrades:
- Replaced all of my lighting with LED bulbs. LED’s use 85% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, last over 20 years, and do not contain harmful mercury (like CFL bulbs do). LED’s are the best choice for the environment, your wallet in the long term, and waste reduction. Additionally the price of LED bulbs are dropping – I purchased most of my bulbs at IKEA for under $5 (IKEA has promised to source only LED blubs by 2016).
- Installed lighting controls. The lighting controls I purchased (Lutron) included both vacancy sensors as well as daylight sensors. The lighting must be switched on, but is programmed to automatically switch off if the sunlight is bright enough or if no one is in the room. Lighting sensors are under $20, available at most hardware stores, and programmable to your preferences.
So what exactly did the initiatives achieve last year? The total energy use for 2014 was 5179 kWh – while in 2013 it was 6484 kWh – well below the average household electricity consumption of 12,000 kWh.
I achieved an energy reduction of 20% in 2014!
Let’s take a more in-depth look at monthly energy use, starting with 2013 and moving into 2014. As you can see, below, the most notable difference was in the winter months (January, February, November, December). This makes sense, as last year I focused on improving Heating.
Additionally, during 2014, I welcome wonderful guests from AirBnB over the summer, as well as a roommate in the fall. Sharing a space is a great way to further reduce your personal footprint, as a good portion of the energy used is shared (heating, cooling, ventilation, refrigeration, hot water etc).
I would love to hear what your household is doing to reduce energy and/or report your yearly energy use for 2014, below! Make this your New Year’s resolution and create fun and engaging ways to get your household involved!
Step 4: Plug Loads…
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