Image credit: Andy Butkaj, used under Creative Commons license.
I got my electricity bill yesterday, and it was the highest it has ever been. I was delighted. You see we recently switched our ailing 14-year-old propane-fueled heating unit for the most energy efficient air-to-air heat pump we could get our hands on. While many UK heat pumps are failing to live up to the hype, I believe we followed Lloyd's guidance on how and when to purchase an air-to-air heat pump pretty faithfully—and should see pretty significant emissions savings. But it's not the relative efficiency I am most interested in right now—it's the fact that we now pay our heating bill monthly, rather than waiting for the propane truck to swing by. I'll bet that this change alone will save us big money.
It's been said before, of course, but whether it is installing fuel economy gauges in all cars or the fact that creating your own solar power can vastly increase your energy literacy, incorporating more immediate feedback loops into our products and our lifestyles motivates us to make changes.
Just as hauling my own trash makes me aware of how much I waste, I am hoping that receiving an energy bill monthly will result in a better understanding of just how much it costs when I crank that thermostat up to keep out the cold.
Of course, in the case of home heating it's not just about the regularity of the bills either—it's about the absolute timing too. Previously, when we were reliant on propane deliveries, we'd often get our top-up delivery in February or March—in other words, toward the end of the NC heating season. While the huge bill was a shock every time, it was easy to forget by the time winter rolled around again. Now we're seeing the consequences of our energy usage while there is still ice on the ground, it seems reasonable to suggest we might just put on that sweater before we go turning up the heat.
More on Feedback, Behavior Change and Energy Efficiency
Is Hauling Your Own Trash Green?
We Want Fuel Economy Feedback on All Cars
Rob Hopkins on Solar Living: More Connected, Interesting and Fun