Saturday, November 17, 2012

Steel WÜl - Kilo-Thermo Challenge

We all know that in the racing world it is all about power to weight ratios and aerodynamics but on the home front it is all about cutting the wattage and slimming the power usage. Eddy Merckx used to say that everyone has a finite amount of energy and the finest world hour record racers could allocate that energy so well that their tanks were completely empty as they passed the finish line.Why not take on that same philosophy with home energy allocation. With the first cold front of the year passing through we decided at SW Head Quarters that it is time to initiate the first Steel WÜl Kilo-Thermo Challenge.

Typical PG&E bill:

What is a Therm?
The therm (thm) is a unit of heat energy equal to 100,000 British Thermal Units (BTU). It is approximately the energy equivalent of burning 100 cubic feet of natural gas. Since (natural gas) meters measure volume and not energy content a therm factor is used by gas companies to convert the volume of gas used to its heat equivalent and thus calculate the actual energy use.The therm is about 29.3 kilowatt-hours.

What is a kilowatt?
The kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit of energy equal to 1000 watt hours or 3.6 megajoules. The kilowatt hour is most commonly known as a billing unit of energy delivered to consumers by electric utilities.

What does this mean to us? 
If you are currently hooked to the "grid" then you are paying someone for your gas and electricity. Why not be more mindful of who delivers that energy, how it is used, and how much do we actually need. Be like Eddy - allocate your energy to perfection.

Link to home energy savings

Having lived in the same house for almost 10 years we don't have anything to compare to so here is a snap shot of our PG&E usage. I know we have room to improve. How much energy does an LP player draw?

Hess House (single family dwelling) November billing cycle
Kwh per day - 6.2
Therms per day - 0.4
Gas total charges = $12.62
Electricity total charges = $24.20
Total PG&E bill for November = $36.82

Overall Lowest Challenge:
Award to the overall lowest combined Gas & Electric bill for December billing cycle. (must email bill)

Most Improved Challenge:
Award to the most improved bill (November vs December billing cycle).

Most Energy Produced Challenge:
For the folks that produce and redistribute energy through solar radiation (December cycle).

For the record: PG&E did install a smart meter even though it is technically illegal to install them in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County through the spring of 2013- viva Live Oak!

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