Energy Savings and Auditing - What have you done?


After a suggestion by my wife I made a post here,10995.msg78772.html#msg78772

Well after a week on hospital and a operation on my hand, I have had a lot of time to think but really haven’t thought that much past this to date until now and I thought I would pose a few questions to one assist me develop ideas and hopefully assist others in the future.

  1. What is the most effective idea you have implemented to reduce your electricity use?
  2. Have you implemented any auditing to ensure this is still effective or to identify other improvements that could be implemented and/or to use to educate the best use within your home?
  3. Given the fantastic tools available such as dataMine, variable container, virtual switch, combo virtual switch and etc how have you utilised the plugins to achieve this?
2. dataMine / utility bills and a spreadsheet. 1. Vera & TED 3. Diligence in monitoring and then tweaking.


Thanks for the feedback.

  1. Vera. I originally implemented Vera to manage my office equipment power cycles. Just that alone provided significant savings. Then added additional devices in my home.
  2. I have automated lights and other power devices and use dataMine to capture historic usage but have not been proactive in auditing or improving. It is effective but only to a limited degree and there are improvements that can be made.
  3. I use all those plugins as tools to implement manange; however, they are capable of much more and wish to use this to educate my family and I where improves can be made. In Australia, the 1 Jul 2012 a Carbon tax was introduced and it increases electricity prices significantly, so it is a great time to review how we can reduce usage.
but have not been proactive in auditing
This is why I listed #2 first. Without knowing what and where your consuming, It's not an easy task to know where and what to cut.

I’ve been using Vera since it launched and had a fairly large Z-Wave network since inception, so my KWH usage dropped quite sharply with the initial investment. But the Vera bug bit me and I’ve spent the last 4yrs tweaking and tinkering trying to squeeze all I can out of her.

And I’m still saving now with a ~50Kwh/mth reduction over last year which only equates to ~$6/mth and certainly not worth the investment of time spent trying to get it. Reminds me of that saying…
The first 90% (savings) only takes 10% of your time (and money), it’s the last 10% that will consume the other 90% of your time.

It’s been a fun ride though…

[quote=“JOD, post:4, topic:172028”]

but have not been proactive in auditing
This is why I listed #2 first.
Without knowing what and where your consuming, It’s not an easy task to know where and what to cut.[/quote]So true in many disciplines. Measure, tune, measure again.

@JOD is also correct about the 90/10 (80/20?) rule also. Where I’m living power can be relatively cheap so subsequent savings, past the initial chunk (AC, Thermostat, etc), is minimal.

From my experiments, you start looking for the little surprises. Stuff that only shows up when measured (whole house). My baseline is down to about 200W/hr, so it starts to become how quickly you can get down to your baseline usage. I would never expected some of the things I found… I’m still puzzled by why my Microwave uses 6W continuously. :slight_smile:

Hello and thanks for the feedback,
From data we gain information, with information we gain knowledge, with knowledge we gain wisdom… My aim is to become a wise old man.

I got home yesterday and still limited in my capabilities (type with my little finger only) so, I have time to let my Mind work…
I totally agree with 80/20 (90/10) rule and the incremental gains after the initial improvements,
Some of our initial improvements were:
Beer fridge/second freezer. 147 watts constant - no longer used expect during Xmas.
Dish washer: peak usage 1750 watts. Now used less often
Clothes drier 1450 watts. (winter here with young children) now rarely used, put up a second undercover clothesline.
AV system and components (now only run on an as required bases)
office equipment is only on when required (computer especially like like when using Homeseer which running on a server)
Garden lights on for limited time not dusk to dawn. Will eventually add reactive to an outdoor sensor as an additional security measure.
Lights various auto off after x minutes.
This really did initially provided a significant saving on a quarterly bill and one of the reasons, my wife decided to lash out and buy the Vera 3

Next Step
Lights - my wife has a habit of leaving everything on during the day and this is where the incremental gain will be achieved. I have already changed globes. To MR16 low wattage and now are monitoring usage patterns and then use this information to educate us and notify us where we fail.

I have the Aeon Labs HEM but it was removed when they connected the solar power up, so it is time to get the Whole of Home Baseline (WHB) as @JOD identified as the starting point. Once I have the new WHB, I can really do some true monitoring and auditing.

I still haven’t audit all devices running on plugs and there are a few vampire devices like the microwave that I had not thought of measuring until @guessed identified this in his post. It is not they have to be permanently monitored but this is case of educated use.

I see this little project as an extension of why we purchase such things as the Vera and other add ons, to improve our lives or to save on power or to be more green… Anyway, if it results in a reduced payment to the electricity company, I will be very happy and any savings will go into the holiday fund, so it is a very good incentive.