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My Home Energy Project: Step 1 - Measure the Energy You Currently Use

Posted by Laura Paul on February 03, 2015
My Home Energy Project: Step 1 - Measure the Energy You Currently Use
The exterior or Laura Paul's condo in Ottowa.
The past year has been an exciting journey for me – after buying my first place (an older {1985} brick, 850 sqft condo, in a walkable part of Ottawa) I went to work renovating it to both my aesthetic tastes as well as sustainable passions. I finally feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do – create a home that has its own story, which has been so uniquely woven into mine.

I was surprised when my Grandfather, after being over for a family dinner, sent me an IKEA gift card in the mail as well as an offer to explore the store together this Saturday. It was such a sweet and kind gesture, and I was thrilled at the thought of getting some time just me and him.  I immediately knew what I would get, I had heard co-workers mention that IKEA now stalked LED lighting, and I had been drooling over the idea of doing a complete lighting swap for quite some time – but hadn’t had the budget. Now I finally could.

I plan to take on a new project: tackle my energy use. I’ll take it slowly, manageably. I want to focus on one small step at a time.  I’ve heard it said that you can’t manage what you don’t measure – so here we go…

STEP ONE: Measure what energy you currently use

Last year seemed like the most reasonable benchmark for this exercise. My energy use for 2012 is as follows: 6327.74 kWh (Shocker!). I’ll embarrassingly share my monthly usage, and cringe while I admit this is the first time I have looked at this in great detail:

Capture

I have compared this to 2013 year-to-date, and have had energy use higher than last year for 5 of the 8 past months. YIKES!! My energy use for 2013 is as follows:

Capture2

Taking an average of the overlapping months, I have come up with the following energy use baseline:

January – 1,100 KWh
February – 870 KWh
March – 590 KWh
April – 430 KWh
May – 300 KWh
June – 300 KWh
July – 390 KWh
August – 300 KWh
September – 240 KWh
October – 340 KWh
November – 500 KWh
December – 1080 KWh

Overall, my place comes in just over half the average household energy consumption (which is ~12,000 KWh, depending on location). There are a few things that are working in my favor already:

  • Size  – less space to heat/cool
  • Connection – four faces of my unit are linked to other conditioned spaces (rather than exposed to exterior conditions)
  • Updated windows – lucky me, the condo recently replaced my balcony windows with double glazing.
  • No AC – The eye-sore window unit was removed immediately when I moved in!

Baseline measured – check.

Stay tuned for Step 2: Heating (HVAC).

 

Laura Paul, Sustainable Consultant P.Eng and MBA candidate is a change agent and is plant-powered. She is passionate about compassion, gender equality, and all forms of art. She is also president of the Canada Green Building Council Ottawa Region Chapter.

This blog was reprinted with permission. You can view the original post here.

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