Continuing with our previous article Saving Energy in Our Apartment where we began by saying how important it was for us to get a new energy attitude and new knowledge.
It is important that you do an apartment energy audit, not necessarily a perfect audit, but at least a "basic" audit. Do not allow the word "audit" to overwhelm you. It is simply the process of discovering as exactly as you can, where your apartment is using energy.
Most people will adopt one of the following three approaches!
The first is FREE and can be done by ANY apartment owner. Fetch the last 3 months of your electricity or energy bill and write down the amount of energy in Kilowatt hours you have consumed. It may be useful to note if there are different rates and/or times being used to convert the amount of energy you consumed into the money you are being charged. Now walk through each room in your apartment and make a list of all the things that use electricity; lights, appliances, heating, home electronics, home office etc. For each, use either the product labels or the internet to find out the amount of electricity it uses - in Watts. Estimate the number of hours each device is switched on in a typical month.
According to the internet my computer uses between 30Watts and 75Watts, depending on what I am doing with it. I use my computer 4 hours each day, 5 days per week. My total computer use is 40 hours per week, or 80 hours per month. Note: this is a rough average and it demonstrates the advantage of accurate monitoring, see Energy saving for a laptop Computer where I monitored my exact hours of use, and exact electricity consumption. But a rough estimate is MUCH better than no estimate! If we use an average of 50Watts, then the 80 hours of use calculates to 4000 Watt Hours, or (divide by 1000) 4 Kilowatt Hours.
Use the example of my computer to calculate the number of Watt Hours every electrical device, and particularly your lighting, is using. If you have children this can be a great way to introduce some real life use for school mathematics, while teaching energy awareness and good stewardship of our natural resources.
The second way to do an energy audit is more costly, but it will also be more accurate. Install a home energy monitor in your apartment. There are many choices, see the earlier link for a complete list. Depending which you select you will either be able to see the amount of energy being used in your home in real time, or equipped to calculate the amount of energy being used on each circuit. By turning items off in sequence you will know the amount of electricity each uses.
The third way to do an energy audit is the most costly, call in an energy expert. It may not be cost effective for many apartment owners where the energy bills are typically lower than in homes, and the number of electrical circuits and devices are fewer. They will do what I have described above, but in more detail.
But, so far you have not actually saved any energy.
All you have done so far is PREPARED to save energy. Now you need to convert your new attitude/awareness and energy usage information into practical activities that will actually save energy?
Over the next few weeks we will be posting a series of articles on how to save energy, starting with apartment lighting and then working our way through the apartment.
I do also encourage to you visit MapaWAtt where I see that Chris is sharing some of his experiences, and has had a number of interesting suggestions contributed.
Open4Energy - Get Smart about Energy™