We Spend $850 a Yr on Clear Power for Our Dwelling & Automobile (One Fifth the Nationwide Common)


The nice unsung information about decarbonization is how a lot cash all of us stand to avoid wasting once we energy our houses and transportation with clear and environment friendly electrical energy. The 5 individuals in our family (our household of 4 plus 1 renter in an Accent Dwelling Unit on our property) supply a robust instance. We spend $850 per 12 months on power prices which incorporates all of the gasoline for our dwelling and automotive. That’s one fifth (20%) the nationwide family common and a staggering one tenth (10%) the per capita common!

Sources: EIA 2021 (electrical energy prices), American Fuel Affiliation 2021 (fuel prices), EIA per capita gasoline bills (2020) x 2.5 individuals per family.

Are we residing within the stone age? No. Then what’s the key to our suspiciously low power expenditures? We electrify every little thing, make s**t environment friendly, and use clear electrical energy. In case you’ve been following our mini-series, you’ll know these are additionally the not-so-secret pathways to decarbonize our lives and world.

Our Nineteen Eighties ranch in a Portland neighborhood a couple of miles from downtown. Picture courtesy of Naomi Cole and Joe Wachunas 

The 4 Methods We Save Cash (and Battle Local weather Change)

Electrify and Warmth Pump it Up – The twenty first century, decarbonized, all-electric dwelling will prevent oodles of cash. We electrified our abode by transitioning to hyper environment friendly ductless warmth pumps for heating (and AC, although we principally depend on passive cooling) and two warmth pump water heaters (one for our major home and one for the Accent Dwelling Unit). These warmth pump technological wonders make our dwelling extra snug, present limitless sizzling showers and use a hard-to-believe one quarter of the power of their fuel counterparts. Heating our dwelling at 67 levels Fahrenheit by way of the winter prices us round $250. Heating all our water for the 12 months prices one other $100. Oh, and don’t overlook our warmth pump dryer that prices about $100 a 12 months to dry our garments. (Going electrical additionally allowed us to eradicate fuel connection charges which might vary from $200-$600/12 months).

Drive Electrical and Drive Much less – Like our home, we save some huge cash by going electrical. From our Nissan Leaf (our first automotive bought in 2017) to the Tesla Mannequin 3 we’ve pushed cross nation a number of occasions, we love the greenback financial savings we get from operating our automotive on electrons. To drive our common 8,000 miles per 12 months, we use roughly 1,900 kWh, which prices $247 (at 13 cents a kilowatt hour). We’re additionally fortunate to stay in a neighborhood with a excessive stroll rating and entry to mass transit and have a life-style that accommodates only one automotive. With the common family proudly owning 1.88 vehicles, driving/proudly owning much less saves our one automotive household numerous moolah.

Nissan Leaf Highway Journey (again within the good previous days with solely 85 miles of vary!) Picture courtesy of Naomi Cole and Joe Wachunas 

3. Go Photo voltaic – Included in our extraordinarily low power payments is about $1,000 a 12 months value of candy electrical energy that our 28 photo voltaic panels have supplied since 2012. We really feel fortunate to be among the many 8% of American houses that at the moment have photo voltaic and love the financial savings and pollution-free electrical energy they supply. Over the past 5 years, our panels have produced a median of 7900 kWh a 12 months (about $1,000 value of electrical energy on the common American fee of 13 cents/kWh). For argument’s sake, since some houses can’t go photo voltaic, even by including this photo voltaic value to our annual electrical energy invoice, our power prices are nonetheless solely 43% of the common American family.

Our rooftop photo voltaic offers us about $1000 value of free electrical energy per 12 months. Picture courtesy of Naomi Cole and Joe Wachunas 

4. Make Your Dwelling Environment friendly – The ultimate technique that contributes in the direction of our 1000’s of {dollars} a 12 months in annual financial savings is straightforward, old-school effectivity. That is the place we began our decarbonization journey. We now have environment friendly water fixtures (bathe heads and aerators) and home equipment (all the warmth pumps talked about above plus washer, lights, and induction range). We added additional insulation, changed home windows and sealed air gaps. And naturally, we observe frequent sense, power saving behaviors like passive cooling, pure daylighting, and cling drying laundry in the summertime.

None of those methods are actually groundbreaking, or troublesome, and their mixture reveals simply how a lot common houses like ours can save on power payments. There are undoubtedly upfront prices, however by making a plan to exchange your automotive and home equipment as they age, you’ll be able to strategically transition to this cost-saving, low carbon life over a interval of 5-10 years (or sooner in case your price range permits). Plus, the Inflation Discount Act incentivizes this step-by-step method with its 30% tax credit (as much as $2,000) on a lot of the environment friendly, electrical choices that may be taken repeatedly on an annual foundation. All through our sequence, Decarbonize Your Life, we’ll dive deep into every of those methods and applied sciences and present how this decarbonizing, money-saving course of doesn’t should be daunting and doesn’t require a great deal of cash or life-style adjustments.

However Wait There’s Extra! Per Capita Financial savings Get Ridiculous

We’ve been evaluating our family power prices to the common American family, however in the event you take a look at our household (and tenant) individually, the financial savings from the all electrical, decarbonized life get ridiculously good. That’s as a result of we now have 5 individuals (and generally 6 or 7 due to an hooked up area we sometimes lease on Airbnb) residing below our roof in comparison with the two.5 individuals within the common dwelling.

Sources: EIA 2021 (electrical energy prices), American Fuel Affiliation 2021 (fuel prices), EIA per capita gasoline bills (2020) x 2.5 individuals per family.

Per particular person, we spend 10% as a lot on the electrical, renewable, power that powers our lives in comparison with what the common American spends on fossil-fuel-powered power. Wow. If we weren’t residing this life, and already paying hardly something for the clear power that powers our dwelling and automotive, we’d virtually suppose it was too good to be true. The Decarbonized Life will prevent boatloads AND make our world a greater place, and people nonetheless caught on the fossil sauce are paying way more in power prices for the privilege of polluting our world. Try all our detailed calcs, add any power saving ideas or evaluation we might not have thought of, and tell us what you consider the low-cost, decarbonized life within the chat.

This text is a part of a sequence referred to as Decarbonize Your Life. With modest steps and a middle-class revenue, our household has dramatically decreased emissions and is sequestering what stays by way of a small reforestation venture. Our life is healthier for it. If we are able to do it, you’ll be able to too.















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