Carbon budget Oct/Nov. 08

Oct Nov Budget
Gals Gas 45 65 25
Air miles 1925 0 690
KWH elec 401 450 375
Propane 0 0 33
Wood (face cord) 0 0 .25
Total lb carbon 2121 1486 1542


  • How is it that we drive so much?
  • 4.5% of our electricity is used when devices are off
  • Wood heat has been really nice to add to the mix

Details after the cut…

I guess I have totally mis-estimated the amount we drive. Sometimes I know where the miles go – long road trips – but sometimes it’s kind of a mystery. Electric usage is up from last month, but down about a third from two years ago. (Last year we had a hot tub in November, so no real comparison there). It’s hard to say how much impact the new freezer has – it was, after all, Thanksgiving this month with lots of baking in the electric oven and extra hot showers.

I did run around with the Kill-a-Watt some this month, and discovered to my horror that the TV/DVD player in the yoga room has been drawing almost nine kilowatt hours a month when it’s OFF. So, that puppy’s getting unplugged except when I’m actually using it. The goal for a solar-powered home or the Riot for Austerity is 3 kwh/day. We’re currently at around 13 kwh/day. Three of those are just hot water – but we don’t really have a choice on our fuel for heating water, we can only use less of it. Ditto for the stove/oven, but I have no way of breaking that out separately. I figure the lowest reasonable budget for us is 5 wkh/month of non-hot water electric and 2 kwh/month for hot water. So this month’s project was just to find out how much “phantom” energy draw we could eliminate. That TV was sucking 3% of our total monthly electric usage (non-hot water) when it was off (and there’s an additional 1.5% for things like the laptop, cordless phones, etc.). That’s nuts!

Showing monthly usage of wood and propane continues to be difficult. We definitely used both this month, but didn’t buy any, so it doesn’t show up here. We’ve used about half a face cord of wood so far this year, and we’re just now getting to the cold part of the year. I do think our propane usage is way down, though. It’s hard to tell because the gauge is, at best, an estimate. I will know better when they come to refill it. The propane company has a magic formula to guess when we need a fill-up. They tend to show up when the tank has 20-25% left. I’m guessing their estimates will be off this year, and show up when the tank still has 35% or more in it. We shall see. I rather like heating with wood…especially when we also have the luxury of just turning the thermostat up and letting the machines do all the work. I’m still concerned about soot and other pollution from the wood, but it’s hard not to feel ok about a fuel that derives from standing deadfall, travels exactly 3 miles to your house, saves you money, and puts the money you do spend into the pockets of your neighbors.


1 Comment

  1. December 6, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Great post! Living green and yoga…what a life eh?
    Keep blogging..I picked it up and I’m sure others will as well
    Ben C

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