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Our Carbon Footprint is Shrinking

March 19th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I'm making very good progress on my goal of reducing our http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx by saving energy. Here is the analysis of our PGE bill (gas and electric) for the last three months compared to last year:

1/2008 $165.17
1/2009 $154.07
~7% less

2/2008 $186.94
2/2009 $151.70
~19% less

3/2008 $109.03
3/2009 $ 72.77
~33% less

I was pleasantly surprised at the savings in February, especially since I am home more now that I'm retired. But the reduction in March was even better, so my challenge is paying off. Here are a few things we've done or are doing that have helped:

~ Switched out all the incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent;
~ Lowered the thermostat on our FA heater;
~ Unplug appliances/computers that are not in use;
~ Grab a sweater when it's chilly instead of turning on the heater.

5 Responses to “Our Carbon Footprint is Shrinking”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    Not to rain on your parade, but did you compare the actual energy usage to last year? PG&E lowered their gas rates in our area something like 20% this year over last. I was all impressed with our bills until I looked at the detail. Our usage was down a tad (due to mild weather) but the rates were what shrunk ou rbills.

    Though March would seem impressive then, considering you are home more...

    BTW, did you notice PG&E has a feature to track your energy usage by day??? I just noticed this recently. I thought we had an "old fashioned" meter but they seem to be taking daily readings and converting it onto graphs online. Pretty cool!

    (BTW, we don't have PGE for electric).

  2. lartiga Says:

    monkeymama - That's nice news on lower gas costs. I did check usage and we consistently used less kWh (electric), about the same therms (gas) in January but less in February and March. Our savings due to usage is definitely better for electrical. I think shutting off our desktop computer helped as well as changing all the light bulbs.

    I really like PGE's website... I was not able to find the feature you describe, though. I can go in and see our average daily usage but not until after the monthly reading has been done. How do you access daily usage information before the monthly meter reading? Maybe since you have PGE for gas only, you get a different screen than I do.

  3. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Good for you! I am already noticing that switching to a laptop from a desktop plugged in all day is cutting our electricity bill down by 10%. Now that we have to keep our senile microwave oven unplugged when it's not in use, who knows what savings we'll have.

  4. ThriftoRama Says:

    I am also trying to use less energy. We want to try solar panels in a few years and we need to seriously reduce our electricity usage first. All of my bulbs are already CFL, so we are trying to just go room by room and tackle any obvious offenders. I installed a smart power strip on the computers, we air dry the laundry when we can. I would like to replace our washer as well, as it is not energy star and switching to a front-loading energy star could save us a ton of water and KWH right there!

    I am trying to save water as well. I replaced a 5 gallon toilet with a 1.6 gal a couple weeks ago, and I Am adding three more rain barrels in April, for watering the garden.

  5. AnotherReader Says:

    Check your March PG&E bill. Your reduction in gas usage in January and February may have qualifed you for the Winter Gas Savings credit. Look under the Gas Account Detail to see if you got the credit. My gas usage was up for March, but the credit knocked about 15 percent off the gas bill.

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