Do you know how much electricity you use in your 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.
Good evening, my name is Rich McCue, and I manage the makerspace in the University of Victoria Libraries. Today I am going to talk about conserving energy.
I work in the Library at UVic.
I manage the Digital Scholarship Commons in the library, where we help students, faculty, and staff explore and express their ideas using technologies like:
Using technologies like: 3D Design & Printing Electronics, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Data Visualization, Etc. We are a library so we loan or provide access to all the technologies we teach.
Besides having a strong interest in technology and energy efficiency, I am also the father of 5 wonderful children.
By a show of hands, how many parents are here today? How many have roommates?
How many of you struggle to get your kids, roommates, or yourself to turn off lights when leaving a room? It was only fairly recently that I learned that, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT...
After we started measuring how much electricity we were using in real time, we discovered that... Whenever our hot water tank turned on it uses 4500 watts of electricity. Compare that with the... NEXT: 9 Watts that a light bulb uses. I did some quick calculations and discovered that...
If I had been able to get my kids to turn off all the lights in our [NEXT]: Kitchen, and our [NEXT] Living Room, and our [NEXT] Front Entry Way for 10 Hours [NEXT]: That would Equal.... 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!
“I believe that all of you, and most other people, would like to conserve energy to either help the environment or save money, but when it comes to conserving energy at home most people don’t know how to change their behaviours in order to meaningfully reduce their energy usage.”
In BC it’s currently between 8 and 13 cents per kilowatt hour averaging at about 10 cents. We have things pretty good relatively speaking.
Let’s look at Electricity Consumption Around the House… And see if there are any surprises.
4 watts with the display at 50% brightness.
A 60 watt incandescent bulb = a 9 watt LED bulb.
22 watts with the display at 50% brightness.
88 watts with the display at 50% brightness.
88 watts with the display at 50% brightness.
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 ;-)
Our hot water tank, heat pump and cloths dry are the biggest energy users in our home.
Measuring Electricity Usage at Home
Next: To measure a single small appliance, I use a device called the “Kill-A-Watt”. Next: For measure the whole house, including large appliances like hot water tanks, heat pumps and stoves, your smart meter can help you out…
For measure the whole house, including large appliances like hot water tanks, heat pumps and stoves, your new smart meter can help you out… https://rainforestautomation.com/bch/ To find out how much your hot water tank or clothes dryer uses see what your home is using, then turn on the appliance, and see what the difference it.
Everyone in BC can now track their usage through BCHydro.com… For free! Not real time however… you can see your usage for the previous day.
Once we know how much energy different appliances and electronics use around our homes then we can make informed decisions about changes that we can make to our activities that will
How much do we spend on electricity & natural gas?
At my house with 7 people living there… [NEXT] we spend $120 per month on BC Hydro. [NEXT] We use electricity for Heating, Hot water, Cooking and clothes drying. [NEXT] That works out to $17 per person per month.
What Has Rich Done at His Home?
Clothes dryer rack… a huge energy saver!
Sealing windows and doors can help reduce our heating bills significantly.
Solar hot water $4000 [NEXT] Power Pipe $800
Heat pump $6000 With a programmable thermostat.
$4000 for windows & insulation [NEXT] $1500 for heat recovery
Yearly Savings: $2000 Payback: 8yrs (note: for a family of 7)
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.
Lastly measuring our carbon footprints…
Because the carbon impact of electricity in BC is so low because of our hydro dams... The largest carbon culprit by far for me and my family is transportation & air travel.
An airplane trip to Paris for two = 3 tons of CO2 emissions Drive a Prius for a year (or 20,000 km) is 1.7 tons of CO2.
20,000K is two round trips for a 2 from Montreal to Victoria!
An airplane trip to Paris for a couple = 3 tons of CO2 emissions Leaf or Tesla = 6000 Kwh for 20,000km BC Hydro CO2 per Kwh = 0.000009
In other words... One trip to Paris for two = driving a Leaf for 56 years!
Note: This excludes the carbon involved in manufacturing the Leaf.
How Can We Measure Our Individual Carbon Footprints?
The Saanich Carbon Calculator helps us calculate how big my personal climate impact is? Vehicle travel data (per year) Air trips (per year) Hydro bills Gas and heating oil usage Food habits (your personal choices, not your entire household) Consumption and waste habits
I believe we all want to reduce our impact on the environment, and save money, but we need to learn how to change our behaviours in ways that will make a meaningful impact.
We can start by measuring how much electricity different appliances use around our homes.
Once we know where the energy hogs are in the home we can decide what changes we want to make in order to reduce our energy consumption.
Instead of turning off lights we can shower for 10 minutes instead of 15?
Instead of turning off lights can we use a drying rack instead of our clothes dryer?
Instead of turning off lights can we wear a sweater around the house and turn the thermostat down a degree or two? By making just a few changes in our behaviour, in the right places, we can reduce our carbon footprint in a significant way…
Much more than just turning our lights off.
Thank-you for your time today. Are there any comments or questions?
Conserving energy one home at a time
One Home at a
“We help the UVic
community explore and
express their ideas in ways
other than text.”
What Did It Cost Rich?
● Windows, Sealing & Insulation: $4000
● Heat Pump & Thermostat: $6000
● Solar Hot Water: $4000
● Heat Recovery Ventilation: $1500
● Drain Heat Recovery: $800
● Lighting: $300
Yearly Savings: $2000
Payback: 8yrs(for a family of 7)
Typical Returns on Investment?
● Programmable Thermostat. 1 year.
● Air Leaks. 2 years.
● Water Heater Insulation. 2 years.
● Shower Head. 2 years.
● Insulation. 5 years.
● Furnace / Heat Pump 13 years.
● Windows. 20 years.
Where Should We Start?
● Work on low cost, high impact items:
○ Clothesline & Dryer Rack
○ LED bulbs
○ Programmable thermostat
○ Shorter showers
○ Insulation & Seal up a Leaky House
● Home Energy Assessment:
● BC Hydro Energy Monitor.
● Compare Energy Star Ratings on appliances.
How Can We Measure Our
Carbon Footprints in BC?
● Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash
● Rich McCue - https://richmccue.com/
● Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash
● Photo by Pascal Debrunner on Unsplash
● Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash
● Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash