Article Link. And check out that graphic! 392 ppm. No worries! (Not.) BTW, the recent issue of Solar Today has some very cool photos of gigantic arrays of solar trough collectors as far as the eye can see. But it does lead me to the feeling that it sure would be a lot easier to use less energy, wouldn’t it!
I am as guilty as the next person. The solar array on our soon to be ready energy efficient house will output an average of 690 KWh per month (when it’s new) aging to 80% of that in years 12 through 25, if the warranty has anything to say about that. So let’s see… that’s 23 KWh per panel per month. And 23,000 KWh / (30 days * 24 hrs/day) = 32 watts. In other words, getting rid of a continuous use of 32 watts 24/7 in your house is as good as a 230W solar panel. Oh dear… it has GOT to be way easier to just cut 32W instead! Negawatts Amory Lovins calls it.
To that goal, consider getting a “kill-a-watt” meter (monitors one plug), or a TED 5000 (whole house), or a Powerhouse eMonitor (whole house, but also tracks usage circuit by circuit). And let the electricity saving begin.
Probably the way to do it is to compete with a neighbor or friend to see who can get the lowest. Or maybe go by percentage decrease or something to even the bet. And that’s just electricity of course. You could add oil/natural gas/propane to the list if you heat your house with something other than electricity (which is generally a good idea BTW, because fossil-fuel electric power plants are typically only ~33% efficient) so to do that… insulation.
But that’s not as fun as nagging family members to turn of the bathroom light! And harder to compete with your neighbor on insulation since often there is not a tidy monthly bill to look at as with electricity use. OK, good luck to all of us! Here we go!