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Old 04-27-2016, 02:39 PM   #41
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I looked at solar but the payback period for us is very long. Instead I bought a book by an energy auditor with a household that uses 6 kwh a day (avg US is 30 kw) of electricity and we have been working towards that level of usage. We used to be above average users of electricity for similar homes in our area on our utility charts and last month we were right around their efficient homes cutoff (390 kwh for efficient homes vs our 388 kwh, around 12 kwh daily avg).
+1 We looked at solar a couple years ago. They proposed a $23k system that was $14k after federal and state tax credits. However, our average monthly bill as is was only about $75/month so our savings would be ~$800/year or a 17.5 year payback with 0% interest. With 3% inflation on the savings (increasing electric rates) and a 5.5% cost of money I figured a 25 year payback and that assumed no maintenance costs. Just didn't make sense for us.

We have use ~8-16 kwh/day when we are here, and ~4-5 kwh/day when we are gone.

Other than LEDs what other things have you done?
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:25 PM   #42
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+1 We looked at solar a couple years ago. They proposed a $23k system that was $14k after federal and state tax credits. However, our average monthly bill as is was only about $75/month so our savings would be ~$800/year or a 17.5 year payback with 0% interest. With 3% inflation on the savings (increasing electric rates) and a 5.5% cost of money I figured a 25 year payback and that assumed no maintenance costs. Just didn't make sense for us.

We have use ~8-16 kwh/day when we are here, and ~4-5 kwh/day when we are gone.

Other than LEDs what other things have you done?
I think we use around 5 - 6 kwh baseline, 8 kwh when DH is traveling and I'm here alone, and the 12 kwh when we are both here and making meals together. We use more kwhs in the middle of winter. I can post details on what we found helpful later - I have to do some errands this afternoon.
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Old 04-27-2016, 05:29 PM   #43
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I just can't see why I should pay higher electric rates or taxes to encourage my neighbors to buy or lease systems.
To save the world. Right?
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Old 04-27-2016, 06:04 PM   #44
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The cheapest electricity is that you don't use.

Prices for solar panels have dropped significantly but it makes no sense to install them unless you get a nice return on your investment. I would NEVER recommend a leased roof-top installation.

My DD installed solar panels on her roof in the Bay Area last fall. The only reason she did that is that she purchased a Tesla.
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Old 04-27-2016, 11:17 PM   #45
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Other than LEDs what other things have you done?
Your usage is also much lower than national averages - what do you do different?

We lowered our bill as a part of our "we have to cut expenses to have enough money to ER project" and:

- Bought a Kill a Watt meter
- Fan sound app instead of a real fan for white noise at night
- Small energy efficient appliances instead of the built-ins - Instant pot, electric wok, thermal cookers, Presto pizza oven and an assortment of other low energy gadgets
- LED and solar lighting
- Reuseable plastic ice cubes instead of ice maker on 24 X 7
- Low energy, low water washer + drying racks
- Unplugged some stuff, sold the second fridge
- Bought draft stoppers
- Caulked and sealed
- Replaced an old energy hog plasma TV
- Reuseable batteries with a solar charger

We didn't do any home improvements or add insulation. We just try to reduce our electric usage a few kwhs every month or so with small changes here and there.
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Old 04-28-2016, 06:39 AM   #46
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Not sure if this reeling off-topic, but I just moved to a new apartment with a smart meter. I'm making a small challenge out of it to see how low I can go. Single so I'm fully in control.

Turns out I use <2kwh per day, and about 0.3m3 of gas. When I'm home. When I'm out it drops close to zero: 0.3kwh and <0.1m3 gas. My base load is 11W (unpluggable built-in devices) and anti-freeze heating + keep the boiler warm.

Pretty exceptional situation though: new building, surrounded by neighbors so I only use gas for my long warm showers. Since I live on my own it's at most 1 LED light at a time (6W), one laptop (40W) and the phone (5W when charging). Add a bit of cooking (induction 1.3kW) and washing + ironing, and I'm mostly done. No dryer, because it ruins clothes much faster.

Hardly need a fridge, so it's unplugged most of the time. Turns out with a bit of planning I don't really need one. I live <15 mins bike ride from the supermarkets which are open late every day.
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Old 04-28-2016, 01:21 PM   #47
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Not sure if this reeling off-topic, but I just moved to a new apartment with a smart meter. I'm making a small challenge out of it to see how low I can go. Single so I'm fully in control.

Turns out I use <2kwh per day, and about 0.3m3 of gas. When I'm home. When I'm out it drops close to zero: 0.3kwh and <0.1m3 gas. My base load is 11W (unpluggable built-in devices) and anti-freeze heating + keep the boiler warm.

Pretty exceptional situation though: new building, surrounded by neighbors so I only use gas for my long warm showers. Since I live on my own it's at most 1 LED light at a time (6W), one laptop (40W) and the phone (5W when charging). Add a bit of cooking (induction 1.3kW) and washing + ironing, and I'm mostly done. No dryer, because it ruins clothes much faster.

Hardly need a fridge, so it's unplugged most of the time. Turns out with a bit of planning I don't really need one. I live <15 mins bike ride from the supermarkets which are open late every day.
I used to work with a single guy who lived in an apartment, ate out frequently and I think he may not have owned a TV. He was charged $5 a month by the local utility company as that was their minimum charge at the time. He used to laugh about it because he actually used less than the $5.
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Old 04-28-2016, 01:28 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Totoro View Post
Not sure if this reeling off-topic, but I just moved to a new apartment with a smart meter. I'm making a small challenge out of it to see how low I can go. Single so I'm fully in control.

Turns out I use <2kwh per day, and about 0.3m3 of gas. When I'm home. When I'm out it drops close to zero: 0.3kwh and <0.1m3 gas. My base load is 11W (unpluggable built-in devices) and anti-freeze heating + keep the boiler warm.

Pretty exceptional situation though: new building, surrounded by neighbors so I only use gas for my long warm showers. Since I live on my own it's at most 1 LED light at a time (6W), one laptop (40W) and the phone (5W when charging). Add a bit of cooking (induction 1.3kW) and washing + ironing, and I'm mostly done. No dryer, because it ruins clothes much faster.

Hardly need a fridge, so it's unplugged most of the time. Turns out with a bit of planning I don't really need one. I live <15 mins bike ride from the supermarkets which are open late every day.
So based on your super-low electricity usage. May I ask how much your electric bill is every month ?


For me, My electric company has sizable "base" charges for generation and distribution. The electricity on top of those charges is then very reasonably priced. Still I pay quite a bit more (relatively) than I used to before "base" charges were enacted.
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Old 04-29-2016, 03:20 PM   #49
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Less than 10$.

The way it works here is that you get government set fixed charges for connectivity, and then a fixed rebate for 'basic electricity use'. The rebate equals a small hookup, so in effect you pay no fixed charge to the distributor for a small residential line. The generator offers you whatever deal they want, but I managed to find one with no fixed charges. So in theory if I used 0 kwh, I'd pay 0$.

Variable cost is about 20 cents per kwh. Most of that is the variable part of the government tax and connectivity charges.

The actual electricity provider gets only 4 cents per kwh. Raw deal for them .. they have to handle all my billing and administration for less than $25 a year.

Since I already called their helpdesk three times because of faulty admin issues I highly doubt my account is profitable.
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Old 05-02-2016, 01:27 PM   #50
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My usage in DFW:

ELEC: 2015: Total = 6399, Avg = 552, Max = 1172 Aug), Min = 222 (Dec)
Highest since beginning of 2010: 1621 (Aug 2011)
Lowest: 194 (Mar 2016)

NATGAS: Total = 350, Avg = 29.2, Max = 90 (Jan), Min = 4 (Aug)
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