Energy conservation is sure to become a necessity. Think of a home and its energy use and how little control we have over the cost of the use of each individual component. For example, new appliances have yellow stickers that convey the annual cost and energy use, but once we get the appliance home we have no idea of the costs on a running basis. What if you had an energy monitor in your home that could give you a cost as your appliance is running, would you change your habits?
Certainly we cannot turn off the refrigerator to save a few bucks but we could re-think how the refrigerator is put to use. For example, one of my energy conscious customers recently went from a 20 cubic foot refrigerator to an Igloo FR834a 3.2-Cu-Ft Refrigerator. Now it may seem a drastic cut in size and a cramped fridge. But there was a method to this madness. About a half mile from her home within walking distance is a grocery store. Here she can get everything she needs to prepare a fresh meal, daily. She uses the Igloo for the basic condiments and so forth. But she no longer sees a need to refrigerate the food items she can get daily from the grocers refrigerator. Hence, she dramatically cut down her energy use just on this one appliance.
Then she installed an energy load meter to monitor where the energy dollars are being used the most. In most homes the electric utility has a rate for basic watts used and a higher premium charge when the kilos are peaked. For example, in your home you have the electric dryer on, the electric oven at 400 degrees, three ceiling fans on high, and the kids are playing video games. As each electrical item is put to use the electric meter monitors and records the max kilowatts needed at any point on time. It is this maximum impact that leads to higher electric bills. When the electric meter spikes to say 8 kilowatts for even one minute per month this pushes the cost of electricity to a higher billing level, despite the fact the peak was used for only a few minutes per month. The key is to keep the maximum peak demand in the lowest number possible. This is done simply by rotating the use of energy robbing appliances by not running them at the same time. An energy load meter helps in this manner.