Monday, 13 July 2009

Long days and warm nights are keeping the meters turning really slowly at this time of year.

We're generally happy to keep the lights off apart from a couple of hours in the evening. The hot water comes from the sun and I've even disconnected the cordless room thermostat I fitted to the central heating last winter, to try and control the boiler more accurately. This was not a great improvement because it was right next to me all the time, bringing the temptation to just turn it back up half a degree if we were feeling chilly. I had much more success with lowering the power settings on my modulating condensing boiler. The gas consumption is directly proportional to this setting and, with the radiator temperatures set low as well, the boiler is able to operate in condensing mode for much of the time.

I am (evidently!) focused on the nitty-gritty details of domestic energy saving but I don't expect everyone else to be as interested, engaged or obsessed with this as me. Expressing problems in the language of money is a continuous improvement tool: to attract my children's attention, I have offered them whatever we save on our home energy bills in 2009 compared with 2008.

My son's purchase of a Macbook for his A-level studies resulted in a substantial drop in electricity usage because it means that his old desktop PC no longer gets used and will soon be rehomed. To date, the kids are about £40 in credit on electricity but a little behind on gas because of the much colder weather we had in the first quarter of 2009.