Most of my readers will know that the initial motivation to change my lifestyle was because of my awakening regarding climate change and the fear of the impacts that it will have on my children and unborn grandchildren. I wanted to (and still do) make a difference and this blog is a testament to my behavioural change and subsequent journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Lately, I have had many personal conversations regarding energy efficiency and energy auditing due to the legislation of the “Clean Energy Future Act 2011”. People want to understand the impact and how they can reduce their electricity bills. It is about this time during the conversation that I usually ask them if they have monitored the outcomes of any of their energy efficiency actions to date.
Most look at me weird? I repeat the question in a different way, and say “Do you read your electricity meter?”. The reply, more often than not is no, and they state that it is read for them by the power company.
Usually the conversation turns to me explaining how and why this is a good thing to do, even on a weekly basis. I believe strongly that one cannot manage an action if you cannot monitor and evaluate the outcome of that action. You may think you are making a difference, but how do you really know that you are. Facts are our friends, and cold hard data are worth their weight in gold when it comes to implementing an energy efficiency programme.
When I first started had my green epiphany, I took weekly meter readings for three years running from 2007 to 2009 and still have the data I collected and all fully trended. However, even I have let this behaviour slip and have not read my meters for a while. So I want to get back into it again, so that I can see if anything has changed and to calculate my current carbon emissions and expenditure on electricity, natural gas and water usage.
So I put this proposal to you all. Who would like to join me in an energy challenge? We will only begin with grid Electricity as most folks have it connected. Subsequent posts will be about the following;
how to read your meter, the quick basics about electricity terminology, how to manage the data you are collecting, documenting your energy baseline for the first week, and then launch into an energy efficiency programme. I have an MS Excel spreadsheet that I designed that will help out. For those who don’t have Excel, Open Office or Google docs will suffice. I will guide you all the same.
The posts for the challenge will be over four weeks and at the end of each of the four weeks we will post the total percentage of electricity reduction we each have made. It should be good fun, and I hope that we can all achieve a big reduction in our consumption.
I also have another request. In an attempt to spread the word about this challenge, please post about this on your own blogs (if you have one) and get as many people as you can to join us – every person who joins will add to a greater reduction. Re post the button above with a link back to this post (it is just a gif picture) wherever you can, to highlight the fact that we all giving this our best shot.
Please let me know if you’re joining in via a comment below. I will be here to help you out along the way. After all, I haven’t nearly completed a Diploma of Carbon Management this year for no reason at all. I will be putting my learning to good use in this challenge.
Remember that not only are we doing this for the kids, but for our own hip pocket as well. You can shout yourself a nice lunch with the savings!
Count me in! I actually have read me meter before, and did write the results down too, but that’s all I ever did with them.
Though I honestly don’t know if we’d be able to cut down the usage, or how. I suppose going to bed early (so to keep the lights off) and not watch that much TV, but try saying that to my partner. I keep telling him that he should turn his computer off when he’s not using it, but that never works. At least he does put it to sleep…
Should enlightening at any case!
I’m in as well! I’m excited to start on our self sufficiency journey. It’s great to know that I have great people like yourself to show me the way, without all the sales/political gargon. You guys tell it like it is, what works for us normal people & what doesn’t work like they say it should. Thanks for the inspiration & keep up the great work!
tracking the use really does help when trying to cut down. I’ve got my down a lot by using indooor solar lights and being really strict with turning everything off at the powerpoint, my lowest days are 7Kwh. It’s certainly worth the effort with electricity prices the way they are.
Sounds great. I didn’t like my last electricity bill.
And I don’t know how to read my meter.
will pass your message on at my blog.
I’d love to know how to read my meter, unfortunately I’m not sure I can reduce my energy consumption too much…I’d love to see ideas and encouragement for the project!
I think reducing our electricity and water consumption has been what we’ve done best so far, but I still often notice small extra things we could do to improve. This is a great incentive to actually do them!
I’d like to think our energy consumption is already fairly low (except for those days when I crack and use the dryer) but I’m sure there’s things I haven’t considered yet.
Please tell me the challenge isn’t going to run over the Christmas week though – that week is going to be high usage.
I’m in! We’re just heading into the dark, cold days of winter here in Canada, so our numbers are going to look a little different from those of you heading into the long bright days of summer :).
Hi Gavin, I would love to take part. We have solar already and I’m not great on computers. I have a good understanding of our usage but would love to do the record keeping exercise. Do you think someone who can’t work out how to display a button could manage the challenge?!
Gavin, I’m in too! I’ll be posting a link to your post on my Blog today. Like many I haven’t done the exercise of monitoring usage apart from reading my bill! Top idea regards serendipity2000
Mrs B says
Count me in too 🙂 With Granny B’s new solar I’d love to keep track of it all.
Plus we settle on our new house soon and will want to know the ins and outs of the new house as we renovate.
Yes please! We have Solar HW with electrical boosting and I am currently trying to get our quartley bill under $400. Being able to read it would help!
Steph Cox says
I’ll be joining you! We’re aiming to use only as much as our solar PV produces, and I haven’t so much as looked at the meter in the three months since it was installed! Time to be a little more proactive. Thanks for the challenge.
It is great to see so many people interested in The Great Kilowatt Challenge. Thanks so much for joining in.
I have posted the next article in the series which will help you understand watts, kilowatts and how to read a meter!
Count me in!!
We have been “being carfeul” with our electricity usage for a while which has certainly made a difference to our bills. But as we haven’t been monitoring or measuring what we are doing, we were a bit stuck about reducing our usage further.
Looking forward to this!!
We’ll join (better late than never)… I have been recording my meter data (gas, power and water) on the iPod/iPhone app (http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/meter-readings/id320551309?mt=8)but probably not regularly enough… Marita
Another late entrant here. Thanks for facilitating this, Gavin!