Friday, March 05, 2010

Riot For Austerity: Electric

The average United States consumption of electricity is 11,000 kilowatt hours per year. That makes for approximately 900 kilowatt hours per month. One tenth (the Riot Goal) would be 90 kilowatt hours per month.

Our family used 619 kWh this last month (or 33 days as our electric company calculates it). Well over goal, but well under average.

February is our largest energy consumptive month for two reasons: one, the sun has not quite yet decided to come out and two, seeds. We start our seeds indoors around early to mid February in order to have any decently sized tomato plants by March/April planting time. Most everything we grow can be direct seeded into the ground in our mild weather, but tomatoes just don't work. Seeds need 12 hours of direct, intense light a day and that makes for quite the energy consumption (even with energy efficient light bulbs).

The second major change which happened this month was saying Goodbye to our old green refrigerator. Old Greenie was AWESOME! She was a 1950's Westinghouse. Avocado on the outside, turquoise and white on the inside. The color fit for our kitchen couldn't have been any more incredible. She was small but with a built in butter dish, individual egg cups in the doors, and stainless steel racks and drawers she was definitely overstocked in the character department. She fit right into our fifties house and everyone (except Jules) loved her. What is more, we saved her from a landfill by purchasing on Craigslist for $50.

Old Greenie has been retired now and recycled through a local NGO. The thirty dollar rebate we receive from recycling her just makes her stay with us that much more enjoyable.

No, I am not without the practicality of realizing that a refrigerator from the 1950's is most likely not the greatest for energy consumption. She hogged power like nothing else and had to be manually defrosted at that. I was willing to have such a nice novelty as period appliances when there just wasn't the $1,000 to drop into a new refrigerator. However, tax time has rolled around again and Uncle Sam decided to donate to our Get an Energy Efficient Fridge Fund in the form of my tax return.

The two men who came to deliver our fridge were great guys. Moreover, they were incredibly strong guys!
That's right! They lifted this giant fridge by themselves! Strapping on their "human dolly" as they called it the two of them made very short work of hoisting our new appliance inside as if lifting a fridge by hand was what they did all day long (it actually is what they do all day, but it was still really impressive.) Jules and I stood back in complete wide-eyed wonder.

Our new fridge is now so large that both Jules and I stand back and stare at it. There is still a feeling of amazement whenever we walk into the kitchen. I can fit in the freezer without being very uncomfortable. It is just gigantic compared to Old Greenie. There are four gallons of milk in the door. Four gallons! This was Jules major issue with Old Greenie; she was just too small. By shopping only once a month, a small fridge can be a bit hard.

With the state and federal rebates for our fridge (and the incentives from Sears) the cost to us was only about $500 in reality. We won't see that money until next tax season when we cash in the rebates, but it is coming back. What is more, the entire fridge and freezer cost only $50 a year to run. I don't even want to think about how much less power that is than our old fridge!

With all hopefulness, the 68% of United States Average consumption we are currently using will drop to 40-50% by April and be as low as under 10% by the summer. Jules is looking into solar panels for the roof and the new washing machine is on its way over Monday.

This year of Rioting is more about showing us the places where our energy is going. It most likely won't be until next year that we are actively living under the 10% line. However, that is the horizon we are moving to slow and steady.

1 thoughts:

Karen Sue said...

Great Frig!
I am leaning into a kitchen re-do in the future few years, and think although my frig is still working well, when I add it up, it is older than my college student, so I'm sure energy efficiency would take a hop if replaced. Was there a reason you chose this style! I'm picking brains about kitchen 'whys' :o)

Post a Comment