Monday, July 5, 2010

Holy energy savings, Batman!

I installed a retractable clothesline about a month ago. We have plenty of space, sun and gentle breezes, but it just never occurred to me to put one up until I visited the Green Festival when we went to Chicago in May. Not only was line drying something of a mission there, clotheslines were used in a couple of non-clothesline vendor displays.

So I figured if clotheslines were trendy (heh), I might as well jump on board.

I knew, of course, that line-drying is gentler on your clothing than machine-drying. That's why the tag on your delicates suggests you "hang" or "lay flat" to dry. And I read somewhere recently that the clothes dryer users a huge amount of energy in the whole appliance scheme of things. I figured I would not only extend the life of our garments, but might just reduce our kilowatt usage, as well.

I had no idea how much.

We get three electric bills every month, one for the house, one for the garage and one for our water pump, because each location has its own meter. So it was pretty easy when the bill came over the weekend to see that the clothesline was a good investment.

Our garage is two stories, the upper floor of which is an office/family room; the laundry room is in the lower portion. My computer is upstairs, along with a big-screen television. The building is completely insulated and has a heat pump for comfort.

As you can see from the usage chart, May's estimated usage was 644KWH, and in June we used only 29KWH. Comparing last year to this year, in 2009 we topped 700KWH.

Apparently we were very comfortable last year!

Honestly, though, we haven't been uncomfortable at all this year. We've limited the use of the room, simply because we have a little den in the house where we watch television these days. I use the computer first thing in the morning, when it's coolest, and I turn it off when I leave the room. We keep the windows open to let the breeze blow through, as well.

I realize I'm kind of comparing apples to oranges, since no one actually physically read the meter in May. I'm going to submit our usage for July, instead of having it estimated, and hope to see similar energy savings next month.

Of course, energy isn't the only thing we saved. Our bill went from more than 60 bucks last month to … get ready … $6.61. I kid you not. I figure I'm using the dryer about half an hour a week instead of my former six to seven.

All in all, my $10 investment for a ticket to the Green Festival and my $30 investment in the clothesline and clothespins have already been paid back, in the form of energy savings. Good for the checking account and good for the planet.

How are you saving energy, now that the heat of summer is upon us?

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