Thursday, February 25, 2010


Well one of our goals here is to prepare for a time when energy may not be as plentiful and cheap as it is today. It is our feeling that as oil stocks are depleted that the world will move to electricity to fill the gap initially. We are already seeing it with some cars and with geothermal heat in many parts of the country electric heat is comparable if not favorable to petrofuels. I have some concerns with the possible ramifications of removing heat from the earth in the winter in the quantities that we need it and rejecting it in the summer in the amounts we probably will. But that is fodder for another post. But the point is that electricity will probably only get more expensive and may rise sharply when oil loses many of it's advantages and the economy shifts to the grid.
So what to do about it? Well first we should look at insulation. In our home one of the biggest electricity users is the furnace. We have forced air heat and the fan uses a great deal of energy. Since we added insulation to the house last summer we have noticed a decrease in the amount propane we seem to be buying but as the beginning of the season was warm and the propane use is difficult to gage we were unsure of how much less we were actually using. Well we now have at least the electricity number for the first two months of the year and we have saved a almost 1300 KW hours so far. We tend to be high users do to the old house and having a well and a barn light on the garage but that is still pretty significant. To put that into perspective it is more electricity saved than we used all of last April. We are really happy with this and it has motivated us to be even more dedicated to reducing our use. So I have acquired a logging meter and have begun to go around the house measuring the use on everything. It is almost fun. I need help.

In unrelated notes we are thinking of throwing a crop mob at the beginning of the season to help us get our big expansion of to a good start. I discovered the idea over at Cricket Bread some time ago. Cricket Bread also has one of my favorite posts ever written.


Mr. H. said...

Wow Rick, that really is quite a electricity savings. Your insulation project seems to be working and then some...excellent.

Jessica said...

A local school did a year-long effort to reduce their energy usage that included building/equipment upgrades and getting their students involved with reducing energy usage. The result was over 600K in savings. I hope we can do a lot more of the simple things that add up: turning off lights, turning off electronics whent they aren't being used, etc.

Aimee said...

We were thinking of energy savings too when we did some work on our house. We put in one of the most efficient furnaces on the market with the hope that someday we could afford to put solar panels on our roof that would feed into that. I don't know the technical details but it's the kind of furnace that you can hook up to solar. We've got pretty good insulation throughout the house, but it doesn't help that the windows and doors are all leaky! So we have to work on that.
I'd love to do what you're doing and measure our energy use and see how it compares as we do fix windows and doors.

Another thing to be worried about (or planning for the future) is water. We've got lots of water up here in the northern states - and those southern states are going to come asking for it eventually... =)

Robj98168 said...

Best use of "Mob Mentality" I have seen.

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Mr.H.- we expected a savings but we were really surprised by how much we saved.

Jessica- If only we could save 600K I guess it helps to be spending that in the first place.

Aimee- being able to include solar hot water heat is also one of the reasons we have been pushing to cut our energy costs. If we can get our total energy use down it makes it easier to switch to an alternate source if we want to.

Rob- I think it is a great idea now I just need to find and tap into some other frustrated farmers in our area.

Mr. H. said...

Rick, if you have not already seen this video I thought you might find it interesting.

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Mr H.-Thanks for the pointer to the video. I have only watched the first part so far but am looking forward to watching the rest soon.