Last year, we added just over 900SF to our Paradise Valley home in a long-needed home addition. Faced with an insatiable amount of energy consumption (and I was convinced, an even larger power bill from APS) from that and the crazy number of computers we run at our house (hey, I'm married to a technophile), we made some changes.
Some were needed- we needed an A/C unit for our new addition and our main A/C unit crapped out! They were replaced with 12 & 13-seer units. Then, even though we had no leaks yet, we realized it was just time to recoat the roof, so we added some energy-star, efficient skylights to add more natural light to rooms in our home that still needed lights on even during the day.
Some were optional- my husband's love of tinkering and an unreasonable obsession with automating our light dimmer switches (Z-wave switches, if you care to look it up) to be controlled with computer/mobile devices in 80% of our home. We also opted to switch from a 40-gallon gas water heater and an 88-gallon electric one, to a single, tankless gas water heater installed on the exterior of our home (which meant more usable interior space too!)
Also, during the addition, our electrician kept fighting me and my ridiculous LOVE of incandescent bulbs and steering me toward more energy-efficient LED ones in our kitchen & family rooms- the ones that stay on seemingly ALL. DAY. LONG in a household of 5. I'm not going to lie- I'm still learning to love the "true white" light of these bulbs, which just reminds me of the dismal experiences many women experience trying on swimsuits in the greenish tint of fluorescent bulbs of women's dressing room (men, you will never understand this- just trust me), but I'm trying my best.
Yesterday, my darling husband took the entire history of our energy consumptions since we've lived in our home and plotted it. The findings honestly were staggering... See for yourself.
Look at the little blue line closest to the X-axis- yes, this is for 2014! You may not be as excited as I am about it, but when you translate that into actual savings on your electric bill, you might be. We haven't equated it to actual $ savings yet because we are on an equalizer plan that averages our consumption and charges us the same bill for about a 6-month period and adjusts accordingly. But since we're not at that point yet, we'll wait on pins and needles to see how much we adjust down.
If you look closely at just our 2013-2014 year-over-year stats, we're on track to use just about HALF of what we used last July!! Half!! Can you imagine? It's the little things that add up and become big things people. With the forecasted high today in Phoenix of 111-degrees (God help us!), this is where it starts to make a difference.
So, go out, look at your consumption and see what things you can do in your house. And if your spouse starts obsessing about improving energy efficiency. Kiss him/her on the cheek and encourage them. Your interest and inquiry can be as dedicated as an energy audit or a simple as new light bulbs anyone, a weekend sloshing some elastomeric foam on your roof or adding some weatherstripping under your doors (which I still need to do myself...), see what you can do to make your house efficient and start reducing your energy consumption and save your hard earned cash for better things like- SUMMER VACATION or a NEW HOUSE!! ;)