In my last two posts, I described some basic water conservation measures we’ve taken at the Poole Ancestral Homestead. We’ll return to that topic in the near future. But for now, I’ve turned my attention to optimizing our home’s use of electric power.
Utility-provided electricity is often an expensive form of energy. And it’s seldom efficient, because coal- and gas-fired plants (from which most of us get our electricity) actually waste a great deal of energy in the form of heat released during the generation process. Additional power is also required to transport generated electricity to the consumer. In fact, the so-called source efficiency of utility-provided electricity is only about 30%, on average. In other words, unless your electricity is generated on-site, it might require as much as 100 watts of power (of various kinds) to provide you with only about 30 watts of electrical power. So, it behooves most of us to reduce our daily demand for electricity, as much as possible.
Recently, a number of relatively inexpensive tools have emerged that can greatly help in measuring and reducing household use of utility-provided electricity. P3 International’s Kill A Watt™ EZ Power Meter is one such tool. Combining an electric power meter with a cost calculator, the Kill A Watt™ EZ can help you identify which of your appliances consume the most power, and determine how to reduce this demand. (Note that the Kill A Watt™ EZ is designed to work only with common household appliances in the 120V/15A range.)