Sunday, July 25, 2010

Half Plan Update for 2010

We started the "Half Plan"  back in 2006.  The initial object was to cut our total energy use in half.  "Total"  was to include energy for space heating, electricity, and transportation -- basically all the energy use we have direct control over.  It seemed like a pretty big commitment at the time.

We went about this in a pretty systematic way.  We worked out how much energy we were using and for what.  Then identified a whole slew of potential projects we could tackle to reduce our energy use, and then went about doing the ones that paid off the best. 

Here are the results in a nutshell:

Space Heating energy use is down from 1610 gallons per year to 700 gallons, or a 57% reduction. 
At usual propane prices, this is worth $1,800 a year.
The CO2 emissions reduction is 12,300 lbs a year.

Electricity use is down from 940 KWH per month to 170 KWH per month, for an 82% reduction.
At 10 cents a KWH, this is worth $925 a year.
The CO2 emissions reduction is 13,900 lbs a year.

Gasoline for car transportation  Switching from a small SUV to a Prius has cut our gasoline use by more than half.
The dollar saving per year at $3 a gallon is worth $1,880 a year.
The CO2 emissions reduction is 11,900 lbs of CO2 a year.

So, we have exceeded the going in objectives in all areas -- sometimes by a wide margin.  In hindsight it was a lot easier than we thought it would be.  No lifestyle changes.  It has also proved to be a very good investment with an excellent return.  
We are still working on further reductions -- I can see lots of remain opportunities.

I guess the thing that puzzles me most is that there is not more interest in the plan.  It seems like its just a no-brainer way to save energy, save money, and save Carbon.  But, while other areas of Build-It-Solar get ten thousand of visits a day, the Half Plan gets a couple hundred.  I get very few emails on the plan.
Maybe the Half Plan section is poorly done? Poorly organized?  
Does not get the message across?

Anyway, I'd really be interested in hearing your thoughts on why it does not work better and what might be done to improve it  --  you can leave a comment here, or email me...

It seems to me that if this plan were widely adopted it could significantly change the picture of energy consumption and carbon emissions in the US.


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