Conserving Energy One Home at a Time


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Do you know how much electricity you use in your personal office, cubicle or home? Do you know how much energy your desktop computer or laptop uses? Will you save more electricity by turning off your computer at night or shortening your daily shower by five minutes? Discover some counter-intuitive facts about saving energy, money and the environment.

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  • My name is Rich McCue, and I work for the Library at the University of Victoria.
  • I am a Linux, Mac and a MS Windows systems administrator.
  • I am also an Educational Technologist
  • I graduated from the UVic Faculty of Business a long time ago…

    More recently I completed a Masters in Education…
  • I’m currently helping setup a Digital Scholar Lab & MakerSpace at the Library at UVic.

    I’m hoping that this presentation will be useful, and even if it doesn’t make you a Super Hero...
  • … For saving the Environment…

    I hope that it will help you save yourself a lot of Money...
  • Let’s get started by finding out a bit about all of us…
  • Go to Google Doc spreadsheet to find out how much people are spending per month.
  • At my house with 7 people living there…

    [NEXT] we spend $85 per month.

    [NEXT] We use electricity for Heating, Hot water, Cooking and cloths drying.

    [NEXT] That works out to $12 per person per month.
  • Does anyone know how much electricity an average desktop computer and monitor use? This is a trick question...

    [NEXT] With the monitor at 50% brightness this computer uses 88 watts of electricity. About the same as 10 LCD bulbs.

    [NEXT] With the monitor at 100% brightness it uses 129 watts.
  • To produce 80 watts of electricity, you’d have to pedal quite hard on a stationary bike...
  • I’ve thought about trying to power my kid’s XBox and 60” LCD TV with a stationary bike... guess how many adult powered stationary bikes it would take to comfortably power game setup?

    [NEXT] About 3. XBox = ~100 Watts, 46” TV = ~75 watts

    Total wattage = 175 watts
  • How do we Measure?

    [NEXT] We Measure everything piece of equipment using a Kill A Watt (Only $25 on

    It can measure the power consumption of all types of equipment: printers, lamps, monitors, TV’s...
  • What unit do we measure electricity in?

    [NEXT] In Watt & Kilowatt hours…
  • Which Equals…
  • 1 thousand watts per hour…
  • So that lightbulb running for 10 hours would cost about $0.10 to light things up.
  • In BC it’s currently between 8 and 12 cents per kilowatt hour averaging at about 10 cents.
  • How much electricity do our electrical devices use? To be honest, I had no idea, until I measured a few years ago...   
  • 88 watts with the display at 50% brightness.
  • 22 watts
  • 4 watts
  • This is our jumbo dryer…
  • Electrical usage across devices varies greatly. The iPad uses very little electricity... Laptops also use electricity sparingly, but desktop computers without power saving settings enabled use quite a bit of electricity. Most people don’t know this.

    When my kids are playing on our XBox and the 60” TV, they use a lot of electricity: A combined 175 watts, as opposed to my 4 watts as I surf on my iPad ;-)
  • Electrical usage across devices varies greatly. The iPad uses very little electricity... Laptops also use electricity sparingly, but desktop computers without power saving settings enabled use quite a bit of electricity. Most people don’t know this.

    When my kids are playing on our XBox360 and the 46” TV, they use a lot of electricity: A combined 325 watts, as opposed to my 4 watts as I surf on my iPad ;-)
  • Let’s put some of these number into context... This is my office at work... and this next slide shows how my behaviours affect how much power my office consumes...
  • Office occupied & in use 194
    Rich just walks away 130
    Turns off lights & walks away 62
    Sleeps comps & turns off lights 10
    Sleeps comps, turns off lights & power bar 2
  • Next: To measure a single small appliance, I use a device called the “Kill-A-Watt”. It will both measure the draw at a point in time, or over a period of time

    Next: For measure the whole house, including large appliances like hot water tanks, heat pumps and stoves, your new smart meter can help you out…
  • Everyone in BC can now track their usage through
  • With an Energy Monitor I can view my energy consumption from in real time in my kitchen, which is very helpful for figuring out what the big users of electricity are in a house or apartment.
  • A short anecdote about why measuring power consumption of different devices and appliance is so important if we want to really make a difference.

    Next: Several years ago we replaced all our incandescent bulbs with...

    Next: compact fluorescents (and later LED bulbs) to try to reduce our electrical consumption. And it did, a little bit... we could see a small savings on our monthly bill... We also strongly encouraged our children to turn off any lights that weren’t being used...
  • After we started measuring how much electricity we were using in real time, we discovered that...

    Next: Whenever our hot water tank turned on it uses 4500 watts of electricity. Compare that with the...

    Next: 10 Watts that a lightbulb uses. I did some quick calculations and discovered that...
  • If I turned on the lights in our…
    [NEXT]: Kitchen, and our
    [NEXT] Living Room, and our
    [NEXT] Front Entry Way for 10 Hours
    [NEXT]: That would Equal....
    [NEXT]: A 15 minute shower! So if you like taking leisurely 30 minute showers. Cutting it back to a 15 minute shower would be the equivalent of having all your living area lights turned off for 10 hours!
  • [NEXT] $4000 for windows & insulation
    [NEXT] $1500 for heat recovery
  • Solar hot water $4000
    Power Pipe $800
  • Heat pump $6000
  • How fast your payback is depends on how much you use the system. For example 7 people using hot water in a house will pay back an investment in a solar hot water, shower head & power pipe system much more quickly than a couple would.
  • 4. Buy Energy Star equipment... make power consumption a consideration along with price...

    Factor Energy cost into long term pricing.  
  • Now back to electronics & technology... Now that you are taking shorter showers at home, how can you save electricity in your cubicle at work?
  • 1. Turn off your computer at night.
  • 2. Enable power saving options on your computer.
  • 3. Turn off your lights whenever you leave your office
  • Conserving Energy One Home at a Time

    1. 1. Conserving Energy One Home at a Time Rich McCue – January 2015
    2. 2. Linux
    3. 3. How Much do we Spend on Electricity?
    4. 4. $85 / monthHeating Hot Water Cooking Dryer$12 / person
    5. 5. 88 watts 129 watts
    6. 6. 175 watts
    7. 7. How do we Measure Electrical Usage?
    8. 8. Kilowatt hour
    9. 9. 1000 watts per hour
    10. 10. X 10 hours = 1 kWh 100 Watt
    11. 11. X 10 hours = $0.10
    12. 12. What does a Kilowatt Hour of Electricity Cost in 2014?
    13. 13. How much electricity does your Home use?
    14. 14. 88 watts $39 / year Dell Optiplex 780
    15. 15. 22 watts $10 / year Dell Latitude E5400
    16. 16. 4 watts $1.75 / year iPad
    17. 17. 4500 watts, 2hrs / day $360 / year 60 Gallon Hot Water Tank
    18. 18. 6000 watts, 1/2 hr / day $120 / year Cloths Dryer
    19. 19. Relative Consumption per Hour
    20. 20. Relative Consumption per Hour
    21. 21. How Do We Measure Electrical Draw at Home? Per Plug: Kill A Watt
    22. 22.
    23. 23. BC Hydro “Home Energy Monitoring Program” $35
    24. 24. 60 watts 9.5 watts
    25. 25. 4500 watts 9.5 watts
    26. 26. 10 Hours = 15 Min
    27. 27. What Has Rich Done at Home? Heat Recovery… $1500 Windows & Sealing & Insulation $4000
    28. 28. What Has Rich Done at Home? Solar Hot Water $4000 Power Pipe $800
    29. 29. What Has Rich Done at Home? Heat Pump w/ programmable thermostat $6000
    30. 30. What Has Rich Done at Home? $35
    31. 31. What Did It Cost Rich? ● Windows & Insulation: $4000 ● Heat Pump & Thermostat: $6000 ● Solar Hot Water: $4000 ● Heat Recovery Ventilation: $1500
    32. 32. Where to Start? 2 No Brainers: ● Home Energy Assessment: ● BC HydroHome Energy Monitor
    33. 33. Next Steps: ● Work on low cost items: ● Insulation ● Seal up a Leaky House ● clothesline http://
    34. 34. Returns on Investment? ● Programmable Thermostat. 1yr. ● Air Leaks. 2yrs. ● Water Heater Insulation. 2yrs. ● Shower Head. 2yrs.
    35. 35. Look for Energy Star equipment ... Next Computer or appliance?
    36. 36. Suggestion, Comments, Stories? Rich McCue UVic Libraries