Tuesday, March 25, 2008


We are currently participating in a an energy monitoring study with Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy.

"Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control the state's growing demand for electricity and natural gas."

We have a device that hooks up to our electrical meter outside and provides a real-time display in the house of how much energy we are using (in terms of dollars and cents). The purpose of the study is to see if observing one's energy use in real time changes how a family uses energy. In our case? Yes! It has become a game to see how low we can keep our number. The furnace blower and dryer use the most electricity. For the past two weeks I have hung our clothes inside on hangers and a drying rack. It does make laundry take two or three days but it is at a leisurely pace, the basement smells fantastic and we are saving $6 a week!

Two years ago we decided to insulate our house. It was built in 1941 and at the time, insulation was not standard--we had NONE! The company we used came and did a blower test on the house and ten made recommendations on what to insulate and with what materials. We went with blown cellulose insulation and expanding foam in the crawlspaces and roof. The first month our heating bill went down by $140. I felt like an idiot for not having done the work sooner.

Our windows are the original windows, we have to hang the screens or storms according to the season. They are leaky and broken down. Maybe I can learn how to repair them and work through them over the summer. Having efficient, well-maintained windows would help our energy efficiency even more.

We have a programmable thermostat, 68 degrees is as high as we go in the dead of winter. Solar hot water is a dream. We are connected to the grid and we are working to be responsible vocal consumers--where will the next few years take us?


Eluciq said...

This is awesome. It is funny when our minds think so much alike...Rick and I were just talking about our next project...ya know now that iditarod is over. One of the ideas we came up with is to build a home that was totally green. We think that would be quite a task...but definitely rewarding!

Love the game...I can see you running out and looking at that gauge. :)

Lynch Family said...

We don't even have to go outside to read the display. It came with a wireless unit for inside the house! I have been thinking a lot about how to use our home better. This is part of it.

I like a good project too, the Iditarod is WAAAAAY out of my league! WE are so proud of all of you!