#45 How Much Energy Can You Really Save?

Yesterday I signed up for a program called OhmConnect

A power plant that produces 3x the normal amount is about to turn on. Wouldn't want you to get caught using dirty energy, would you?!

Sign up with OhmConnect with my referral link at https://ohm.co/jon-lo

It's an online platform designed to help people save energy and make some money doing it. You can also win some cool energy saving things. Yesterday I won a free Smart Thermostat from Honeywell. It's worth about $300. Pretty cool. I did have to pay $10 for shipping, but when I install and connect the smart thermostat to OhmConnect I will get $20 in points which will more than offset the shipping cost. YAY!

A few times a week OhmConnect will have something called #OhmHours where you are challenged to reduce your energy consumption for that 1 hour. If you can reduce your energy consumption below your "forecast" (last 10-day average during that hour), you will get reward points which can be redeemed for cash or gift cards.

Last night was our first #OhmHour. We shut off all the lights except for the dining table and kitchen, where we were hanging out. We unplugged the charging cables. We turned off the furnace and put on sweaters and long pyjama pants. It really wasn't that cold actually, but it's nice to have a fuzzy sweater on. 

The result!

We were successful in saving below our "forecast" by about 6%. This earned us 1 reward point. And saved us 0.015 kWh of energy usage during that 1 hour.

#ohmhour

What is this in dollars?

Not much.

1 point is worth 1 cent. 

And 8-9pm is considered off-peak hours, where energy costs 6.5 cents per kWh. This translates our 0.015 kWh energy savings into 0.1 cents or a tenth of a cent.

UGH!

Definitely wasn't worth my wife's complaining.

To be fair, the forecast used at least 4 days of almost zero usage when we were in Japan, which skewed our average usage.

Without those 4 days, our forecast would have been closer to 0.4 kWh with our #OhmHour usage at 0.29 kWH, that would have been a 28% savings.

The energy savings for that 1 hour would have been about 0.7 cents.

Taking that level of savings over a full year would equate to about $60 in annual energy cost savings, not bad.

That's about what we paid last month for our electricity bill.

The important thing is to be aware of our energy usage.

This has revealed some easy tips to save some money

1. Running high energy appliances (stove/oven, dishwasher and laundry machines) during non-peak hours will save:

50% of the cost compared to peak hours (7am-10am and 5pm-6pm), and

33% of the cost compared to mid-peak hours (11am-4pm).

7pm to 7am and all day on weekends and statutory holidays are non-peak hours. See the diagram below.

energy peak hours

2. Along the same lines, running the heat during off-peak hours when we are asleep is a good way to stay warm and save money.

During the day, when the sun is out, we can save some energy by turning the heat off.

Note that the furnace uses both natural gas for heating and electricity for the fan since we are heated by forced air vents.

3. Getting a smart thermostat will help with adjusting our heating usage to be more precise with our requirements.

The new smart thermostat I won for free with OhmConnect apparently has a built-in geofencing feature where I can set it to recognize when I'm more than 500 metres away from my house and turn off the heat automatically. When I return within 500 metres of my house, the heat is turned back on so that it's back to a comfortable temperature when I step in. Amazing!

More than half of our electricity cost is fixed

With Toronto Hydro, we are paying about $40 in fixed delivery and regulatory costs every month.

On average our actual energy usage comes out to about $0.75 a day or about $24 a month. When we were in Japan, our latent energy usage was $0.21 a day. So being at home added $0.54 per day or about $17 a month.

 

With these 3 tips we learned about today, we might be able to close the gap slightly between the $0.75 and $0.21.

Can we save $60 a year or about 20% a day?

I think so, just by being more conscious and aware of the time of day we are using the most electricity.

Remember NON-PEAK hours when electricity is the cheapest is 7pm to 7am and on weekends.

Run the dishwasher at night.

Do the laundry on the weekends.

Turn off the heat during the day when you are away.

Cook after 7pm?

I'm not sure I can comply with this last one, but we will see. You don't have to give up everything.

If you think OhmConnect is something cool that you want to try for yourself, sign up with my referral link at https://ohm.co/jon-lo

 

Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.

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