Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Low Can You Go?

Today our hydro, water and gas bills all came in the mail. This isn't as depressing as you might think, I like to check out our resource usage and compare against other months, and national averages.

Our average daily use: 11.51 kWh
Average Canadian household: 31.86 kWh
Average United States household: 30.71 kWh
Average European household: 12.79 kWh

As you can see, we're doing fairly well right now compared to the national average (just over 1/3), though I know there are people who do more. I think we've gotten to the point where if we make any more changes, we'll start seeing an impact on our lifestyle. So, why is our daily usage so much lower than the average? We use almost all CFLs in our lights (we have 46 lightbulbs in our house, I counted); we only have a couple that are the cold white light, or that take a few seconds to flicker on so we keep them in low usage areas. Our televisions and DVD players are attached to a power bar, and the power bar is turned off when they're not in use. This eliminates the vampire power still being consumed even when appliances are turned off. Our appliances are all fairly new, and all EnergyStar. And, last but not least, we turn things off when we're not using them! My laptop is fairly energy efficient, but it still uses 30 watts when it's plugged in, by unplugging the laptop when it's not in use I can save about 420 watts, or almost 0.5 kWh per day.

Electricity usage in Europe and the United States
Electricity usage in Canada

Our average daily use per person: 130 litres
Average Canadian: 329 litres
Average American: 380 litres

Again we're lower than the average, but I'm not honestly sure why. We shower regularly! We do try to make sure that we only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. We do water our lawn, but we avoid overwatering. We have a low flow showerhead and a front load washing machine, but we haven't done anything else to conserve water.

Water usage statistics

Natural Gas:
Our annual usage: 1302 cubic metres
Average Canadian usage: 2700 cubic metres

Since natural gas usage varies widely by the season, I thought it was more useful to look at the annual usage - not too hard to do if you keep all your bills. Again, we're lower than the national average but not as dramatically. I'm sure the fact that we purchased a smaller house helped here, and the programmable thermostat we were given as a housewarming present means we don't heat the house while we're sleeping. It's also been helped along by my husband's insistence that if I'm cold, I should put on a sweater instead of making him miserably hot! :)

Have you ever checked your resource usage? How do you compare?


  1. I always check, it`s one of my favourite activities. Last month I used 51.33 Kilowatt Hours (kWh) of electricity, costing $3.56. That, together with the basic charge and tax, cost $16.89. That is officially my best month ever! For comparison, the average Manitoban uses 375 kWh per/mo. or 750 kWh per household. The average Canadian household uses 31.86 kWh per DAY. Even in dead of winter I have not uses more then 75 kWh per month ever. ~Renata

    1. Are you in a single family home (if so, what size), apartment, condo...? Are you alone, couple. kids?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Renata:
    I check too! I used the same amount per day as last year - 8 kWh/day - with a cooler than average spring. I rent/live in a 500 sq ft upper suite in the Okanagan. You have inspired me. I have all the low energy bits and pieces and a new ernerguide hot water heater... how'd ya do it?

  3. I live in Manitoba as well and got a bill for 78 per day. How is it possible? 1 person, heat at 15 1/2 day, laundry 1 time a week, no fancy energy draws, furnace checked 3 months ago. nothing that I can see that would account for this.

  4. When the bills arrived today, I decided to compare myself to the rest of Canada.

    I use one quarter of the amount of electricity per month compared to the average, and one half the amount compared to the average in gas use.

    When the bills arrived today, I decided to compare myself to the rest of Canada.

    I use one quarter of the amount of electricity per month compared to the average, and one half the amount compared to Average country gas use.

    My bill total is usually amounting to multiplying the amount I use times 10 or 15.

    The incentive to keep it low when they TACK SO MUCH ON above my usage, is low.

    Adding 4deg. To furnace temp. might add a dollar or two of comfort (even considering the exponential hike on add on fees over and above usage)

    My urge to scream at this racketeering is highest of all.

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