June 8, 2009

An awareness of electricity consumption

So how can we know how much energy we actually use? Electrical detectors such as "The Energy Detective" can be used to determine just exactly how much energy we use. Imagine if we knew how many kilowatts each bulb and clock used every day and knew the cost per kilowatt in our households. These devices can essentially micro-manage a house's electricity and put the exact cost to electricity ratio in the present moment.

Also, in addition to detecting bill costs by machine, a heightened awareness of one's household electrical bill is equivalent to reducing and saving. For instance, one may turn off the air condition during the summer nights and open the doors and windows to bring in the night's coolness, saving up to $200 on the electrical bill...of course there are exceptions, being a southern state with night time air that tends to be blanketed with humidity, many people would not want to do such a thing. These examples, though, are only a few of the simple methods to conserve energy.

Some homes may not have that opening-up advantage since many homes in South Carolina are manufactured homes with little window openings and limited door accesses. Unfortunately, many of these very closed-up manufactured homes were not constructed under newer environmental codes. A housing bill, Bill 3550, the "Energy Standard Act," was recently pushed through the House and will take place in July.

The new bill "deletes outdated energy standard language from our state law and establishes the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the state energy standard for residential construction and renovations. The simple changes H.3550 accomplishes are estimated to cost about $600 for each new home, but the average annual energy savings is estimated to be $400, so the payback to consumers would be less than two years" (see more at SC Conservation Legislation).

This bill is great news as it brings our living spaces to a higher grade of efficiency. If there is a 1% increase in energy efficiency, there would be no need to construct more coal plants. It's important to know as much as we can about our energy consumption, especially in a state that needs more efficiency. Whether using an energy detector or the act of simple awareness of energy consumption, we can smooth our bumpy walk to a cleaner and more efficient state.

1 comment:

  1. You're right, James -- being more aware of your energy consumption can make you do better in reducing and saving. It's like budgeting your salary: when you know how much you spend in a month, you'll also know how much you can save. It's also good that energy efficiency has now been incorporated in the industry standards. That ensures better management of energy consumption.