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How much do you spend on heat and power?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 January 2009 at 10:42 am

Gas and electricity bills gobble up a significant chunk of income for most of us, but do you know how much you're spending week to week? I didn't, until a few months ago, when I discovered imeasure.

By just putting a weekly reading into the site, I can find out how much I spent last week on gas and electricity, how much carbon emissions that equates to, and most interestingly, how that compares with other people's usage.

Somehow having the weekly amount is much more meaningful and immediate than a monthly direct debit and quarterly bill. But it's still just a figure. The comparison with others is what provides a context. Maybe it's just my competitive spirit, but knowing that others manage to use less is just as strong a spur to reduce as the money saving.

Last week I spent £24 on gas and £7 on electricity. The former:

  1. is scary
  2. is more than average
  3. indicates our direct debit might go up soon
  4. is even more scary, given that we've got good insulation, solar hot water panels and I often freeze sitting at my computer all day rather than press the boost button on the heating

Happily we're using electricity less than average, and that figure indicates that our direct debit may be due for a reduction.

So what can we do about it? As I say, we've got cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and thick jumpers. Next on the list of home improvement / energy bill reduction schemes are:

  1. a room thermostat is being fitted today (we've already got individual stats on each radiator)
  2. curtains are on order for all the windows that don't have them

  3. we're looking into the idea of glazing in our verandah to create passive solar heating

With weekly readings I'll be able to tell how much difference - if any - these measures make and report back here.

Imeasure has been developed by the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. As well as giving us a great tool to keep on top of our energy bills, they will use the data gathered through the site to build a picture of UK household energy use - and use it to investigate how the UK can move towards a low carbon future.

Picture by Foto43


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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1 comments - read them below or add one


beyondgreenComment left on: 26 January 2009 at 10:57 pm

We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources.OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2X faster than new oil is being discovered. We need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail ourselves out of our dependence on foreign oil. Jeff Wilson has a really good new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. He explores our uses of oil besides gasoline, our depletion, out reserves and stores as well as viable options to replace oil.Oil is finite, it will run out in the not too distant future. WE need to take some of these billions in bail out bucks and bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. The historic high price of gas this past year did serious damage to our economy and society. WE should never allow others to have that much power over our economy again. I wish every member of congress would read this book too.

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