Tuesday, June 05, 2012

household energy

Stuart Staniford recently published this image of EIA data regarding average household energy use.

It inspired me to update our household energy numbers.  Maybe one day I'll convert these into BTUs but not this particular day.  First natural gas, which we use for heating water and most cooking.

Next electricity.


Our overall trend is definitely downward.  In addition to conservation measures, we are burning wood in a high efficiency wood stove which accounts for a significant portion of the NG reduction.  We're in the market for a front loading washer and new dryer (yes we line dry but not every time) and we will have a new compressor for the AC system within a month which will likely lower this summer's numbers.

Back to the first chart (colour emphasis added is mine).  Two things in particular struck me. 

The Midwest uses nearly 3 times as much energy to heat the average home as does the South; the Northeast 3 1/2 times as much- almost as much energy for heating as the South uses for all home energy use combine.

Keeping cool in the South will certainly get harder in a world with ever increasing energy constraints.  But I'm wondering what Kunstler would say about these numbers.  As I read them it looks like keeping warm in the NE might be more of a problem than keeping cool in the South. 

The other is the amount of energy spent on heating water, particularly in the South.

Talk about some low hanging fruit!


baloghblog said...

To convert fairly easily...

every 10 therms is a million BTU. Converting kWh to BTU is a little trickier, in direct energy conversion terms 1 kWh = 3412 BTU, so about every 300 (293) kWh is another million BTU. I don't know if they consider the primary energy to make the electricity or not, but that conversion is only about 33% efficient. So to be conservative, every 100 kWh is a million BTU of primary energy.

So if you sum your monthly totals for therms and divide by 10 = MMBTU, then do the same for kWh and divide by 100 (or 300, I'm not sure) = MMBTU. Then you'll be able to compare to the averages from the EIA.

Let us know, I'm curious. It seems as though you'll be well below the average.

nulinegvgv said...

Thanks Steve.

2010 - 67 BTU
2011 - 43 BTU

However this is just kWh and NG. I'm guessing the conversion for our wood heat is going to be a bit trickier.

Anonymous said...

I think the best chance up north is a few acres of hardwoods to draw from and a wood stove. Electricity... maybe. From a generator? Not for long. From natural gas? Fugheddaboutit!