Average Home Energy Consumption

velvetfoot Posted By velvetfoot, Nov 20, 2012 at 10:25 AM

  1. Slow1

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 26, 2008
    Eastern MA
    Honestly I never expected that we'd make it that low either, but we've been chipping away at it over the last 5 years or so. We dry our clothes almost fully on the line now (by the stove in the cooler months, outside on the deck in the summer) and the kids are well trained at turning off lights etc. Even burning wood has helped as we don't need the fans to circulate the heat of the central oil heat. I expect we are at the low point now though as the kids are getting older and I'm sure our power demands will increase over time - if nothing else cooking demands will shift some. I really am out of ideas on how to reduce further around here - we have LED's in our main lights (those that may be on 12-16hrs on some days), CFLs in others and very few incandescent bulbs left (there are some as not every light is used enough to justify the cost of upgrading). The refrigerator may be the next change, but that won't likely save me anything as the wife has her eyes on a larger capacity model to avoid having to shop as frequently once the kids get more 'grown up' appetites going. As it is we buy 4-5 gallons of milk when we go shopping each week so you can imagine what it may be like later!

    I'm not really a big fan of counting CO2 emissions as a way of measuring things as it really does seem to be very abstract. Then again, I suppose Mbtu's aren't all that much more concrete really. I think that tool is tilted in favor of showing improvements in electric usage making a difference though. It seems that when I adjusted my wood consumption down it didn't make nearly the difference I expected it would compared to electric changes.

    I am not a huge "climate change / save the earth" type either, but I don't care for waste in general. I'd like to think that even though we're a larger family than the average we still consume at or below the average resources. We re-use most everything we can etc - we've adopted a lifestyle that goes beyond turning off lights. The funny thing is that beyond the clothes hanging up and folks who notice the lights not being on in parts of the house we aren't using (and habit of turning lights off in unused rooms, even in other people's houses at times - funny when a 3yo does it actually), I don't think most folks would realize just how 'green' we live - and I like it that way as we don't feel we've given anything up.
  2. jebatty

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 1, 2008
    Northern MN
    Using the tool I have a score of 6.2. It likely should be adjusted because I burn aspen at 13.7 Mbtu/cord, and the 17.7 Mbtu for wood is not accurate for me. A few other comments.

    Electricity at 30% is pretty accurate for a coal-fired plant and electricity available at the plant. But this does not include the energy used in mining, transporting, and handling the coal before it is burned. And it does not include transmission losses to get the electricity to a home, which average between 8-14% in the US.

    As to wood, efficiency can be all over the board. Wood has a theoretical maximum btu content of about 8,660/lb. That's at 0% moisture and combusted in pure oxygen, obviously not the home situation. For burning wood and using a 20% moisture content for seasoned wood, and 400F stack temperature, wood has an available btu content of about 6,050/lb. When I use 6,050 btu/lb with my Tarm wood gasification boiler, I measure efficiency in transferring btu's to the 1000 gal storage tank at 79%, and because the boiler is in my shop I need to include btu's transferred to the air to heat the shop during the burn. I have measured shop heat loss, and adjusting for the btu's heating the shop during the burn I achieve an 89% efficiency. Efficiency Now, adjusting this for the theoretical maximum of 8,660 btu/lb, efficiency would be 62% of theoretical maximum vs 89% for available btu's.

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