Electricity usage challenge week 2

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wirelesssetupOk, I don’t mind admitting I’m excited!

I love a good challenge, especially one that is going to help the environment AND save me money.

A week ago I took an electricity meter reading. It was 6364.

For the past week I’ve been living life as ‘normal’ here at Chez Green and monitoring our electricity usage by taking daily readings; with the aim of reducing it over the next three weeks. I didn’t tell Mr or Little Miss Green about the challenge so that they wouldn’t start trying too early! It was hard because I wanted to improve straight away, but I’ll own up to some of the bad habits  I’ve noticed we’ve been indulging in:

  • We’ve been using an electric heater instead of putting on an extra layer
  • The router and printer have been left on when not in use
  • Lights have been left on around the house when no one is in the room
  • Curtains have not been shut at night in the dining room – we have heavy curtains with blankets on them which help keep in the heat at night (and should prevent the need for a heater in the morning)
  • The stereo was left on – it has a power amp (we like loud music here 😉 ) so can be quite heavy on the juice
  • Little Miss Green seems to be leaving her computer on standby instead of turning it off at night
  • I’ve been leaving the ipad charging when the battery is full
  • I’ve noticed other units left on after the device has charged, such as the chargers for rechargeable batteries
  • We’ve eaten jacket potatoes four times this week which means the oven has been on for 1 1/2 hours or more in a day

Weekly electricity usage

In a week our electricity meter showed 6455 which means we’ve used 102 kwhs of electricity.

For the next three weeks I’m going to take weekly readings and see what I can do to reduce our electricity usage. Ideally I’d like to get it down to 10 units or less a day which is 70 kwhs per week.

It’s a difficult time of year because it’s not yet cold enough for the wood burner to be on all the time, but it’s chilly in the mornings and evenings – hence the electric heater. Fortunately we’ve had 2 or 3 fires this week, so I’ve only had to put the immersion on once; the other baths have been courtesy of the wood burner…

In addition, as I mentioned last week; I have a tree full of apples so I’m dehydrating them most days which is adding a couple of kwhs to our daily usage.

For this week I’m going to really focus on the first four items on the list.

Turn off the router

You’ll be excited (or horrified perhaps) when you hear what I’m planning to do about the router. I’ve honoured my weakness and have put my money where my mouth is by investing in a remote control unit! This means, when I’m lying in my warm bed thinking “I should have turend the router off”, instead of having to get up and walk downstairs (you can guess I don’t bother) I can just flick a remote control from the comfort of my bed and shut it all down. Yes it’s the ultimate in laziness, but there we are; it’s set up and ready to go. It will turn off the printer, router, telephone, my laptop, wireless mouse, keyboard and Mr Green’s computer all in one swoop.

I’ve even worked out, being the scientific chick I am, that this unit will pay for itself in 187 days – not a bad investment 😉

Leave the heater off

I’m going to toughen us up to the cold, wear extra clothes and say no to the heater (except when my reflexologist comes for my treatment; I’m not going to be cold for that otherwise I might as well not have the treatment).

Lights and curtains

I’ll be the lights police to see what a difference we can make as a family and give LMG the job of closing the curtains once the bunny has been put to bed.

Already this morning Little Miss Green reached for the heater switch. I told her to put more clothes on. We argued. I insisted. She wrapped up in Dad’s oversized cardy and got snuggly…

I’ll be back next week to compare my reading and see how much difference these 4 changes can make to our electricity consumption.

What about you – what are could you improve on to reduce your electricity usage?

Here’s my table of what we’ve used this week:



  1. nadine sellers on November 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    congratulations on your new remote–tech-wonderful–here are my flat facts on our energy awareness week.

    usual week’s usage beginning thurs nov 3 @read 65578 = 101KW
    4 wash loads (air dry)+ 2 blanket/pillow refresh for snuggling power–temperatures dipping to 27 low/47 highs..first snow–elec oven x 3 = 2hrs.

    apples, winter pears and last of heirloom tomatoes drying on strings, cotton threaded through and hung between wooden walls on porch, windows facing south.

    old gas furnace with elec blower therm.set @62F–gas water heater with recycled insulating wrap–both in basement which keeps pipes from freezing and floors warm.

    full spectrum music as well and netflix streaming movies/lectures/concerts as only diversion window treatments, no tv — 2 computers 1 seldom plugged printer-unplug all from wall at night.

    new family addition..a rolling infrared heater which focuses heat to immediate surfaces only-it has an eco mode and seems very comfortable..3 layers played by sun’s angles and time of day (my job)venetian blinds-sheers-drapes..also plastic on outside as the 100 year old home is tired and drafty.

    next year, even more insulation..this week insulate basement doors with quilted black cloth stapled over cardboard to form a backdrop on inside.every gesture will help..

  2. nadine sellers on November 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    this weeks read. thurs.Nov 10–elec. 65679. 9 keeping close track now. fun!

  3. EcoGrrl on November 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    highly recommend, if you don’t have already, putting in power strips with shutoff switches where you plug in your tv/dvd/stereo and shutting it off when it’s not in use (while at work, when you go to bed, etc), huge phantom load to be avoided by this. my electric bill is pretty low at only $40/mo and $45 with a tenant downstairs so this is one way i attacked mine and now it’s automatic that i switch it off. 🙂

  4. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ on November 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I love the idea of turning of the wireless & router at night not only for conservation, but also for our health. My dh is very resistant to it, though. I’ll keep working on that. I hadn’t thought about how closing the shades might help hold in heat. I think we’ll give it a try.

    I just scored an unopened water heater blanket on craigslist. I have a feeling that will help. And I’m thinking of investing in a toaster oven for when we cook things like potatoes…Good ideas. Thank you!

  5. Mrs Green on November 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    @nadine sellers: Well how about that. We virtually used the same amount of kwhs. I’ve definitely noticed a need for less heating since double glazing and cavity wall insulation were put in. Mr Green has insulated our bedroom and loft with polystyrene sheets too. How long do fruit take to air dry? We get a lot of flies (horses in the field at the back of the house) and dust from the open fires…

    @EcoGrrl: Sounds like a great gadget – we have one of those in the bedroom for dvd / monitor / surround sound luxuries but not elsewhere. $45 a month is incredible. We pay about £48 per month and that’s pretty low for around here. What is $45 in kwhs?

    @Zoie @ TouchstoneZ: Yes! I don’t like all those EMFs circulating around the home – Mr Green is not of my sensitivity so we do kinda fall out over it. I’ve stopped using the DECT phones but he still insists on carrying them around. What a great find on craigslist!

  6. Marius @ go-crazy on November 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, 100 per week is a lot. We use (2 adults and 2 shorts) 200 per month with the electricity heated floor in the toilet.

    What light bulbs do you use? Are they LED or simple power savers? They can be a reason of electricity waste. Also do you use the electric water boiler for your tea, microwave besides the oven?

  7. Mrs Green on November 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    @Marius @ go-crazy: Are you in the UK? And do you have gas? I thought 100 was really good for us LOL! We use LEDs and have a kettle; no microwave. We’re home all day too, so all food is eaten here and lights, computers, heating is used …

  8. Rachel on November 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    It’s so difficult to compare one household with another. We use about 40 kWh per week, but we have a gas oven and heating is now fully wood fueled (yippee!)

    I have to ask – did you use your vacuum cleaner this week? I remember you posting about it a while ago, but I notice its absence in your table.

    I’m intrigued by your router switch-off. I thought the router used so little power that it wouldn’t be worth turning it off overnight (especially as my husband would get seriously annoyed, as using his blackberry to check emails first thing in the morning allows him longer lie-ins than he’d get if he had to get up to check!) but you’ve calculated a pay-back period for your remote control – where did you get the figures from to do that? Come to that, where did you get the remote? If the husband could switch the router back on remotely, he wouldn’t complain about me turning it off at night.

  9. Mrs Green on November 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

    @Rachel: 40kwhs is amazing. I found when we went away for 3 days we used 9 units then – just on the fridge, freezer and one LED light – I thought that was a LOT.
    I used the vacuum a couple of times a week and brush the rest of the week. With pets there is only so much fur you can brush; the rest of it just floats into the air and goes everywhere!

    As for the remote control switch – I’m planning a full post on it, so watch this space!

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